Why a good story (or two) can grow your business

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If you’re like me, you were brought up on them. Stories, that is. My favourite was The Tales of Olga Da Polga by Michael Bond. Yes, Paddington Bear Michael Bond. He wrote other great stuff too.

The more stories you read, the more you start to see the common structure. There’s a hero and often a villain. The hero has a challenge. He meets a guide and they navigate the journey together. Will they succeed or not, before it’s too late?

A bit cheesy? Yes, but it’s not as obvious as that in execution. Be it Harry Potter or Cinderella, they make compelling reading (and watching) to the right audience.

And that’s my point.

The right story, to the right audience, is incredibly compelling.

Have you thought about collecting your customers’ stories to grow your business?

If not, you should. And if you’ve done a mediocre job until now, you have the ideal opportunity to improve matters during this crazy time.

Every happy customer has a story others want to hear

You might prefer to call them case studies. I use that term for the sake of familiarity. But a customer story is so much more.

Your typical (sales-focused) case study is written by the sales team. It might include a couple of sentences from the customer, but essentially it explains how great the business was in serving the customer. It stops short of being self-congratulatory.

*Objectives* *Actions* *Results* are typical sub-headings that people use.

This is NOT a customer story.

It’s not told from the customer’s perspective

It’s not written in the customer’s words

It’s not totally credible to your wider audience

Here’s a good analogy. Have you ever got chatting to someone on a train journey and they recommend something to you? They tell you about their problem and how this thing fixed it? That’s much more like a customer story.

Yes, a customer story is a sales tool. But it doesn’t look like one.

The good news? Whether you sell a service, manufactured parts or software, your customers will have great stories to tell.

So, how do you get hold of these stories?

The answer is remarkably simple. You ask them! Whilst the process might be a little more complex, many customers are happy to tell their story if you ask them in the right way.

But always remember, it’s their story, not yours. You can guide its structure, but you cannot tell it. Believe me, it’s a far more powerful outcome. And more positive for your customer too.

How can you use customer stories?

Where do I start? There are so many options.

Firstly, created in the right way, customer stories are timeless. They’re an investment that will help your business for years. It’s not a case of using them once and only once.

The obvious place to use customer stories is on your website. You can also create nice looking PDFs and equip your sales team with a handful. You might choose to print a brochure of stories too. And what about your trade press? Many titles are crying out for relevant customer stories.

As a bonus, you can extract snappy quotes from customer stories and use them in other areas of your marketing. Comments in their words are always engaging for others.

There’s an opportunity for you, right now

More people than ever are working from home. Even senior people that are hard to reach in normal circumstances.

Why do I say this?

Because I’m helping many clients collect customer stories right now, whilst people want to talk, more than ever.

They’re not out at meetings. They’re not constantly distracted by others in the office. And they’re happy to talk. In fact, they want to.

Like you, I can see plenty of negatives in the current business world. But being a glass half full person, collecting customer stories is an opportunity to grab while you can.

In a few months, everyone might be too busy to talk again.

I’d love to help you collect your customer stories. It’s hassle-free for you as I project manage the lot; from start to finish. You give me your customer’s name and their backstory, l deliver their story, ready for use.

Want to chat this through? Please get in touch. I'd be happy to send you some examples.