Developing healthy client relationships is critical to any service business. In this article we...
Attract New Business: Sharing your Story
Your team has done a fantastic job servicing a client. They’ve made a measurable impact on their situation, and you want to tell a story about it to attract similar clients. In order for this to be impactful, you want to structure the story to have the biggest impact.
Every story has a point of view; if you want to attract new business with your story, then the best point of view to take is your customer’s. The reader will feel more drawn into the story and more understood, and thus more likely to connect with you. Many delivery personnel struggle with this, because they struggle to resist the urge to tell their own story. There’s a time for that story, but it doesn’t belong in a testimonial.
To do this, start with telling your customer’s situation before you engaged, and tell it from their point of view. “I (first person) was up against a very critical deadline and my promotion was on the line” is more compelling than “Bob (third person) was in a really difficult situation.” Get quotes, and avoid the urge to distill the situation into something you’ve seen before or something that makes sense to you.
Next, discuss the outcomes the customer was seeking, and why. There’s often a lot of hidden subtext in the way someone talks about their situation that gets lost when translating this through delivery resources, particularly technical ones. The words you get from your client will likely be the best words you can use to attract new clients, so stick with those. “We needed to get this done in order to make payroll” is much more impactful than, “they needed an index to make queries on the employee database run faster.” While the latter is not incorrect, it is ineffective.
Finally you get to talk about your process and how your firm accomplished your incredible results. But again, you must always remember: whose point of view? Have your customer describe their experiences with you. The time for talking about how smart your people are is… never. I’m sorry, but that’s just it. “Our people are really smart” is something that every firm claims, and customers know they can’t all be right. So instead of wasting your breath, let the customer describe in their words what they experienced with your firm.
Last, it’s time to describe the outcomes. By now, you know what I’m going to say: How does your customer describe how their situation was improved by engaging your firm? This often has no bearing on the work you did, but it has a tremendous impact on prospects reading your story. They probably have a lot more in common with your satisfied customer than with you.
Here’s an example of what not to do:
Their online store was down because the HTTPS certificate had expired. After struggling to convince their old IT firm to give us the password to the server, we logged in, only to discover that Wordpress hadn’t been updated in years. It made more sense to apply the patches before bringing it back online, so we got permission to do so. Now the site is up and running again and will work with mobile browsers.
None of that is wrong, but it’s all written from your point of view. Instead, you’re looking for a result that’s more like this:
My website was down, which meant my business was dead in the water. My customers were calling me on the phone to place orders! I engaged with XYZ IT Services and they immediately understood the problem, as well as a host of others my previous vendor never told me about. They recommended I upgrade the software before bringing my store back online, which made me nervous but their confidence led me to trust them. After a surprisingly short wait, my server was back online and I was back in business, and the upgrades fixed some annoying bugs my customers were experiencing! I’m so happy with their service!
It’s the same story, but told from the point of view that resonates with the kinds of customers you want to attract.
All of your marketing, be it testimonials, blog posts, or sales pitches, should be done from your customer’s point of view. It can be very challenging for people who spend their work day down deep in technical details to remember, and it takes a clear mind to do well.
Are you looking to grow your professional services firm? I specialize in unlocking the untapped potential of your business. Take the first step towards a more profitable future by reaching out today. Together, we can elevate your firm’s success and financial performance.