Let me jump to the point of this post: customer success stories are the most powerful lead generation and sales tool you can own.

I understand there are some who will read that and sincerely disagree, but I stand by that belief.

Here’s why

People don’t buy things, they buy the expected results of the things we sell. For example: no one wants to buy a coaching program, copywriting, computer, etc. What people want to buy is the ability to make better decisions, attract sales-ready leads and email loved ones or surf the web. The things we offer are meaningless until they do something valued by the buyer.

Attracting sales-ready leads and closing sales opportunities isn’t about the list of benefits we claim via our products or services. It’s about the specific results we deliver that are valued enough to be purchased. It’s more about the situational experience and success we can demonstrate than the stated benefits we claim.

Enter success stories

Ideally presented, success stories tell the exacting story of a specific customer challenge or opportunity your product or service fixed or enabled. Success stories strike at the key buying criteria of all prospective customers: What can you do for me?

Customer success stories:

  • demonstrate credibility
  • suggest past success can be experienced in the future
  • give a perspective of what it’s like to be your customer
  • create expert authority
  • help prospective customers understand what a solution to their underlying problem looks like
  • tell the story of the things you do for your customers in the exact terms your prospective customer is seeking a solution — you match their worldview
  • make the seemingly impossible and unattainable appear possible and attainable

What about white papers?

Probably the greatest objection to my opening statement of success stories being the greatest lead generation and sales tool you can own will come from those who espouse white papers in the same vein.

It’s understandable.

White papers are awesome lead generation and sale stools — I’ve personally written many and used even more to retire quota. White papers are highly effective at establishing buying criteria, positioning an offer, and trapping your competition.

That said, white papers don’t do the best job of telling the story of exactly what you do and more importantly, exactly what you do for your customers.

Imagine two fictitious documents: 1) An IT professional’s guide to user-friendly software solutions that can increase profit margins 2) Learn exactly how one company leveraged user-friendly software solutions to increase profit margins by 25% within one development cycle.

The first title is likely a white paper; the second is a success story. Making all things equal, I believe the second is more compelling for someone interested in increasing profits through use of user-friendly software solutions.

The bottom line

Success stories tell your unique story in terms prospective customers use to evaluate options and vendor offers. There is no sales tool more effective at creating compelling interest in your offer than a success story that tells the story of how a specific customer situation was improved by engaging your company and a purpose-built solution.

While success stories shouldn’t stand alone in your marketing and sales quiver, they are a tool no company should be without. Success stories should lead your marketing and sales efforts.

Your turn

If you disagree with my statement that success stories are the best lead generation and sales tool available, convince me I’m wrong in the comments below. I’m open minded 🙂

And if you agree with me, please let me know about your experience with customer success stories and how they have helped tell your unique story.

In a future post, I’ll talk more about success stories: how to write them, critical elements to include, and how to market them to create sales-ready leads.

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