Marketing Your Business With Success Stories
By Charlotte R. Farrior, The Coaching Connection.
a pdf on this subject.
Title: Blowing Your Own Horn
Subtitle: Building Credibility Through Success Stories
Successful solo entrepreneurs spend quite a bit of time building and expanding their networks. These networks can cover a broad spectrum – professional associations, community service, school or alumni networks, virtual communities, athletic groups, neighborhood associations. There are a variety of choices when creating our support system.
What they all have in common is this: we engage in the same activity – relationship building. We may meet face to face, over the telephone or online. We exchange pleasantries, information, referrals or resources and in doing so, strengthen the bonds with individuals and the whole organization. What is not quite as common in our exchanges is the use of a personal or business success story. A success story has a double message: it highlights a specific activity that we accomplished or service that we do AND it communicates a distinguishing level of achievement. Both messages serve to build credibility with the listener, which in turn builds trust.
Success stories need not be complicated or lengthy. Here are a few considerations when preparing your own.
- Be Proud About It – A good success story translates as truly genuine when you feel proud to share it. “I am so thrilled that I was able to save my client $5,000.” –a Financial Services Representative
- Be Prepared – Think through your list of recent business achievements, honors, awards or professional certifications that represents something you are proud of and demonstrates an achievement. Then select one or two to share with your contacts at an appropriate time.
- Be Specific – Describe exactly what product or service that you delivered or the type of honor or certification that you received. “I recently completed the requirements for the Master Certified Coach designation.” – a Business and Personal Coach
- Make It Current – Be careful to use situations or events that occurred within the past six months. This keeps it in the category of “news” that your listener may be interested to know.
- Keep It Brief – A few good sentences about the award or business achievement is all it takes. No need to dominate an exchange.
The next time that you interact with a client, colleague, friend or family member, try blowing your own horn. Humorist Will Rogers said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.”
An effective and compelling way to market your business is through the use of success stories. What exactly is a success story? How does it market my business? How can I get started with my own success stories? Consider the following:
What exactly is a success story? A success story briefly describes how your business served a client/customer and what results the client/customer achieved. Think of this as a real life example of how your product or service helps customers achieve their goals or solve a problem.
How does it market my business? A compelling success story will include the original client problem or goal, the specific product or service used with the client, and some tangible results that occurred.
Prospective customers can better understand what your product or service does and most importantly, see some actual results. This will make it even easier for them to make the “buy” decision.
How can I get started with my own success stories? 3 simple steps will get you started:
- Write a brief description of your best success story. Include a. Problem or goal b. Solution implemented c. Client testimonial. This can be a few paragraphs at the most.
- Get permission from the customer to use the success story and testimonial in your promotional materials along with actual company names and contact information. If you don’t have permission, use generic industry categories to describe the company and position names to describe any people that may be involved.
- Use the success story in the following ways a. Your website b. Your brochure c. Press/News release d. ezine or newsletter e. Article for publication f. Face-to-face exchanges and speeches.
Remember to ask for testimonials with all your clients/customers! Over time you will add new success stories to your portfolio as your business grows and the list of satisfied customers increases. Most satisfied clients are very willing to help in this way. Take a few minutes and add success stories to your marketing toolkit today!