“So There We Were…”

“So There We Were…”


Stories have the power to turn satisfied customers into a powerful marketing asset. Testimonials can give you some credibility but they don’t educate or validate your capabilities.

You can set yourself ahead of the competition by introducing future customers to your products and services in a real live way that doesn’t feel like a hard sell. Happy customers will work with you to promote your business because it gives them free exposure and reflects well on them too.

Here are three ways to engage new prospects:

1. Build case studies into your sales training

Your sales team needs to be armed with the stories that have made your business what it is today. Equip them with the information they need to excite and educate potential customers.

Case studies will really work for you when you tell a story about who the customer is, why they are doing so well, and what you did to contribute to their success and make them a big fan of yours.

Here’s how to use customer cases to open up sales opportunities:

  • Include a few slides in your sales presentation pack that showcase a couple of your real successes, tailored to the prospect’s business and his industry. They must be about companies or individuals that they know or recognise.
  • In your targeted sales letters, get their attention by kicking off with a compelling customer story, expanding on how this could also work for them.
  • When developing proposals and responding to tenders, use short customer case studies to illustrate the benefits you can bring to the party and showcase your capabilities with real examples.
  • Prepare one-page full colour printed handouts of different types of success stories for your sales people to select from. They can use these on sales phone calls and as prompts at face-to-face meetings.

Related: It’s Sell Or Die Because Sales Are The Lifeblood Of Every Company

Your potential customers are busy people. Well-constructed customer case studies engage a person’s attention quickly on an emotional level with a powerful story. They include images, graphics and information about the key players involved in the relationship.


2. Put them on your website

All businesses need a functioning website that is regularly refreshed with new content. It’s an obvious place to introduce your company to prospective customers and to highlight your achievements. Tease and link to new customer stories right from the home page.

You can provide the full stories on your product and service pages, sorting them into the industry or business sectors they support. This reinforces your know-how and abilities that your prospect can directly relate to.

Alternatively, you can allocate a page specifically and call it ‘What our customers say about us’ or ‘Our success stories’. Don’t hide these pages in sub-menus, make stories easy to find. Remember to include a quote or testimonial from your satisfied customer.

3. Email marketing and newsletters

Customer case studies used in email marketing can explain to prospective customers how other companies are using your products or services successfully. This can introduce them to benefits and opportunities that they are unaware of.

Newsletters can be targeted by industry or size of customer or can be further customised and sent to specific targets or even to only one hand-picked recipient. To provide real reading value, get the reader’s attention up-front with a short, sharp summary of the customer success story inviting him to ‘read more’.

Related: You Can’t Succeed At Sales Working In Failure Mode

Your communication of these heart-warming stories should go out, not only to prospects but to your employees, your suppliers, partners and your loyal customers. You never know where your next referral will come from. People love to read about other peoples’ successes in growing businesses.

Follow up by re-purposing the newsletter content into sales brochures, handouts and also include the story in technical white papers and special reports. Re-engage with ex-customers who have gone quiet; revive their interest in new innovations.

What makes a good customer case study?

  • Who is the customer, what is the business about?
  • What were the challenges that the business faced?
  • How did we go about solving their problems?
  • What was the outcome/the results achieved?

Conventional promotional and sales material and web content is often dreary, repetitive and indistinguishable from that of your competitors. Customer success stories can set you apart and bring your offerings to life.

Read next: The Sales That Really Count

Elaine Porteous
The author, Elaine Porteous, is a business writer and commentator on procurement and supply chain issues. She also writes on human resources and career topics. For more details, see her website www.elaineporteous.com