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Article

Three Ways to Get Nervous Prospects off the Fence

Give potential buyers the evidence they need with customer success stories

I'm trying to make a decision. I keep getting emails from a company with an attractive offer.

They say that the marketing service they offer will help me grow my business. But everyone says that.

How do I know that putting some of my small marketing budget toward their services will actually pay off?

The truth is, I can't know for sure.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone personally who uses the company's services. And beyond a few vague testimonials, the company doesn't have any stories of other customers' successes.

Hence, I'm still on the fence.

When prospects are looking for evidence from satisfied customers, are you delivering it? If so, can they find your customer stories? And if they find them, are they compelling enough?

Here are 3 ways to help get buyers off the fence - with customer stories:

1. Beef up results details
It's tough to get results (return on investment) details out of happy customers, but it has never been more important. Buyers need to see the potential payoff of the purchase.

Choose success story candidates based on their willingness to measure at least some of their experience. Offer to perform an ROI analysis for them. That gives them data they can use internally to show improvements, and data for your story. Negotiate with the customer about how you can present results - in monetary terms, as a percentage, or as a multiple ("leads grew by 4 times").

2. Make customer stories easy to find!
If you have customer stories, spotlight them! You can't expect every interested potential customer to talk to you, so you need rich information online to support their independent searching.

Way too often, companies bury their customer stories somewhere on their web site under an obscure link like "Downloads" or "Resources."

There should be multiple paths to your customer stories throughout your web site. Tease a customer story right on the homepage and link to a section with all your stories. Always link right from product/service pages to a customer story that shows that solution in action. Blog about successes. Make those stories visible.

3. Feature customers like the ones you want more of
Ideally, a prospect will read a customer story and see himself and his challenges in that story. Choose your featured customers wisely based on exactly which targets you're going after. Pull a relevant story out of your back pocket that shows a successful resolution to the prospect's situation.

More Stories By Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard is the founder and president of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of "Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset." She has helped dozens of companies create and manage nearly 500 customer case studies and success stories over the past decade. Casey is featured in numerous books, articles, and teleclasses. She consults with organizations one-on-one and conducts online customer-story classes.