A success story is designed to help you create credibility with prospects. You want to use them frequently, and as an introduction of yourself and your company in the first call, it will help create the right “fist impression” in the mind of the buyer. Moreover, it is one of the factors that will make you “earn” time and attention from your buyer.
It is common that sales people delay the first call or the first real time contact with a buyer. There are a few reasons for that:
- You and your skills are put to the test (this is a fact)
- Your buyer is likely to be busy and you really have to pull it off so they’ll give you 5 minutes more… (this is fact)
- and, you create bad anticipation (in your head).
How it looks like
Last year we worked with the PRODUCT Manager of a software company who wanted to increase international revenue. Market penetration was difficult because the quality of localized versions was poor, and there was no standard way of applying all fixes to new versions. This also impacted the level of Customer Support and service that they could provide. She wanted to use qualified, subject matter expert translators, manage the testing process with confidence and maintain consistency across all markets with a dedicated project manager.
We provided this capability. Over the last 6 months, revenue in their international markets has increased 14% and their Customer Service team reports fewer discrepancies on calls from different countries .
Components of the success story:
1. Key Player, company and job title
2. Goal or issue
3. Contributing reason (or the barriers to achieve goal)
4. Corresponding capability (or user scenario)
5. Benefit statement
6. Actual Benefit
- Gather, update and align. Chances are that somebody else in your organization has worked in this direction. You may find out and reuse. Do it now, do not wait for it to become an approved initiative or idea.
- Build. If starting from scratch, build your own. A few will get you started. Always remember they have to be relevant for the buyer (or type of buyer) you are prospecting.
- Practice it and Test it! . Make it yours, make it natural and fresh. It is a story, you have to be ready to tell it like a story!
- Measure. If you don’t measure and observe, you don’t really know if it works. When does it work? In which context it doesn’t? What are the reasons factors that make it succeed or fail? In a bit of a wider context a Success Story adds up to your Qualification Ratio
- Get immediate feedback. Good story tellers continuously use feedback to modulate their pitch. This is a simple: Hey, Mr. Buyer, what do you think of this story I just told you? Is it relevant for what you guys are doing? Are these goals similar to what your team wants to accomplish?
A success story is not a stand alone tool. It is a factor to create credibility and give context but is not the only thing you need to get passed the first call or email. It might be though that one little key that opens more doors for you.
If you have never used success stories, and you don’t see the value clearly, try it anyway. Growing your skills has to be counter-intuitive some times. Likewise, as a new user stick to the sequence and master it before getting creative and variate it.
Try it, practice and iterate, variate it, make it yours… measure your performance and good selling!
I include a generic example, designed very much with a Customer Centric Selling approach, there may be different effective ways to build stories, this one works.