Why is it so hard for so many of us to share our own success stories? This question continues to tug at me each day as I build Shorr Success.
I recently had the honor of being a “Speed Mentor” (like Speed Dating only the participants are a professional mentee and expert mentor seeking a business not a love connection!) at the Center for Women and Enterprise, Women Business Leaders Conference. The conference was brimming with brilliant women specializing in so many professional directions!
As a second year Speed Mentor, my anticipation was piqued wondering what marketing or branding questions were coming my way? The first woman sat down. Then the next and the next. Each woman shared their story in words, brochures and web pages. Each story touted the many fantastic benefits of their product line or business concept; nutritional analysis, expert engineers, team development, top-of-the-line technology offerings. As each woman sat down, I listened in awe to their innovative ideas and plans for implementation. To my delight, many of those ideas are already in motion and profitable.
A consistent answer continued to arise whenever I asked the question, “can you share some success stories your business has achieved?” Unlike touting product and service offerings, this was not such an easy question to answer. I saw myself in line with these professional women too. We are either unsure of our impact or not realizing that “features and benefits” are not all there is to your corporate brand. There is one component that is more important, the end result. Once the project was complete, how did you make the recipient(s) of your services feel? What problem did you solve for them? One woman improved a client’s balance sheet by several thousand dollars. Another replaced old generators at a hospital that virtually reduced down time to mere seconds. Just think how many risks are mitigated should a power outage hit! My testimonials page on my website is chock full of women and men who gained confidence and new insight in understanding the power of a first impression.
So how do you share your story to build credibility and brand loyalty? Let’s explore 3 ways:
- Case Studies – This is a very impactful marketing tool to add to your sales kit, media kit, website content, just about anywhere someone asks you for a client story. A case study has 3 main components: The Client Pain, Your Solution & Final Outcome. The “pain” is the problem your client is experiencing. Examples could be lack of sales growth, communication issues, etc. Next write about the “solution you implemented.” Now is the time to mention the products used and why. Finally, close with the “outcome.” What is the end result? Who is impacted? This could look like: increased productivity by x amount, a higher percentage of closed sales, or a cohesive team that NOW works together to achieve their corporate goals.
- Testimonials – How did you impact your client or audience? This is an important component to building your credibility. It is also rewarding to hear how you impacted your audience. Do not be shy asking for a testimonial. Prospects want to know who you’ve worked with and how they were impacted. Another idea is to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn which, with permission, you can then copy and paste and use on your website and marketing collateral. Be prepared for potential negative feedback too. Be open to it. Take this as a way for you to improve your products and services. How else will you grow as a leader?
- Verbally – This is the good old-fashioned method of storytelling. Before presenting a workshop, blog, video blog, or delivering a sales pitch, think: Who is my audience? Men? Women? Millennials? Tailor each post and story so it is relevant to that audience. When I present to IT Engineers, my stories revolve around client issues that have been resolved using skills that I teach such as tone of voice and awareness of our nonverbal behavior. If you are presenting to a group of Financial professionals, cater your story to be relevant to them.
The emotional side of storytelling is having the confidence and belief in yourself that you actually have a story to share. I guarantee you do! You just might need a little help articulating it.
So the next time a prospect asks you: Can you share a success story? Think of your story and believe it, own it and exuberantly share it!
If you or someone you know needs help building and then sharing their success stories, give me a call at 617-877-4680.