You can use your stories to help overcome common objections you receive, such as cost. You do not want to compete on price but on customer experience and your unique ability to solve customers problems. In life insurance and financial services, for example, many people have not done what they should do in terms of planning. In this case, smart advisors tell their customers, Do not feel bad. Last week I met with someone just like you who had that same problem. Here is how we worked together to solve it?
Dog-eared, over-copied success stories from seven years ago would not do the trick. Document everything and keep it current! Develop a system to follow up with satisfied clients because you can not have too many stories at your disposal. Utilize the Web, phone calls, letters, and e-mail to generate new stories, and then put them on your website in the form of written, audio, and video testimonials. Have them organized and ready to send out with e-mails to prospects.
A picture is worth a thousand more words. A testimonial with a photo shows that there is a real person behind the name, enhancing your credibility. Build your testimonials one at a time, asking clients, If I can exceed your expectations, get the work done in time and at the budget we set, would you give me a testimonial so I can share your success with other customers? The majority of your customers will happily say Yes! Then you can create a Raving Fan book that will let you select the jobs you want to do. Home improvement contractors, for example, can fill it with before-and-after pictures plus testimonials saying that they showed up on time, stayed within budget, etc. On future jobs, other bidders will show up with no social proof-just a napkin with an estimate on it-but the smart contractors will have ten success stories, impressive photos, and raves from past customers. Even if their price comes in 10-20% higher, if they have proven that they can meet the customers needs, the customer is likely to pick the professional who provided social proof!
Vendor ratings and product reviews such as you find on eBay, Overstock.com, and Amazon.com can tell your story and offer social proof even without personal contact. The combination of customer rants and raves is highly believable.
Tell a good story about who you are, especially if you are self-employed. It should feature a picture of you and your product and tell who you are and what your USP is. On it, list some of your customers and include the right quotes as well as detailing your number of years experience, special training or certifications you and your team have, and any community involvement.
In today’s business world, boring facts and empty stats simply would not make the impression on customers that a story about someone just like them will. True stories are much more compelling and better-remembered than other information. So to get coveted word-of-mouth advertising, start by telling your company or product story. When you do, you will find that story-telling is a powerful tool that differentiates you from your competition.
Story-telling your way to greater profit is based on the idea of social proof. When people are unsure what to do, they look at others behavior and ask what others have done previously in the same situation. A behavior seems more correct to the degree that we see others doing it, and the more people doing it the better. Social proof comes into play in all buying decisions, from the most basic to the most expensive. This includes everything from what movie to see or restaurant to eat at, to what car to buy or contractor to hire.
In the tour industry you can essentially get your customers to write your best stories for you by documenting your successes through testimonials and pictures. Do what your competition fails to do effectively. To develop powerful stories that sell your customers, follow these ten simple steps:
If you don’t position yourself advantageously, your competition will position you and your product in a way you do not want. What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? What added value do you deliver that your competition will not? Get your customers say wow! Whatever you offer, it should be low-cost but have high perceived added value.
Contrary to popular belief, your customer base is not everybody. While you may have customers across all spectrums, who is going to be the most profitable customer for you, and how can you attract more of those? You do not want to be always selling to everybody. Be proactive, and let your competition suffer the consequences of giving their sales force too broad of a brush.
Different is good. Create a point of differentiation between you and your competition with a story. You may have noticed this recent trend at retail when you are looking for a BBQ sauce or a bottle of wine. To get customers to pick their product off the shelf, companies use their product packaging and web sites to tell an intriguing story. Check out and for good examples.
If you have done the first three steps well, the customers you want will be attracted to you. Rather than pursuing customers, learn their key issues/pains/problems and how you can solve them. For example, top mortgage brokers work to build a good reputation and thereby attract a lot of the business. They don ot have to go out and pursue clients; people come to them. Do the little things that make for a great story so your customers will sing your praises and bring the business to you. Ideally, you will be able to choose your customers, instead of begging them to choose you over your competition.
One of the main principles of story-telling is to show the details of the story, and let those details speak for themselves. Effective story telling is in the details, and the more the better. Leaving out a minute detail, which you feel may not be important, could turn out to be the deciding factor from the customers point of view. Paint a picture with your words to bring your story to life for the reader or listener. You do not have to be a master fiction writer to tell a powerful story. Set up a problem, then work through and resolve it by offering specific benefits to the customer.