Marketing Success: Lead With Success Stories

Results sell. The purpose of marketing is to make it easier to sell and nothing sells like results. To capture attention and convert more prospects into eager buyers with your marketing - lead with success stories.

Feature success stories in your advertising, on your website, in your sales calls, and in your networking. Include them on every marketing channel.

This approach is even more important during challenging times. If your clients and prospects are hoarding their money you need to attract their attention and their money with success stories.

Why is this effective?
People make buying decisions based on how they are feeling. Their emotions are determined by how they perceive the events and conditions of their environment. Note that it is not what happens that determines their emotional state of mind. It is how they perceive what happened.

Success stories describe benefits. That's what people buy. They don't care about features. I was asked to advertise in an industry publication. I asked for examples of results that past advertisers in my business had achieved. Instead I was given features and speculation. I was told the circulation numbers and the sale rep speculated on the amount of money I'd make if half of the audience bought an imaginary product from me. There was nothing on which to base that speculation. There were no success stories to convince me. I didn't buy.

Stories of success can influence emotions in at least three fundamental ways. They mitigate fear. They appeal to greed. Most importantly they offer hope. All three of these emotional changes can persuade clients to buy.

A good success story includes:
1 Before picture
2 After picture
3 Catalyst

Before Picture
Weight loss and fitness programs do this well. Using words, numbers or images describe the pain, challenge or emotional state. Sometimes the before picture is simply the starting point.

After Picture
Using the same parameters show the results as a sharp contrast. The contrast must be clear and be memorable. For example: lost 50 lbs in 45 days; improved business by 15%; saved 12% on shipping costs.

Give credit to the product or service that made the difference. It's a good idea to talk about how easy or simple your solution was.

Where can you find your success stories?

Although you might use stories of your own success it is more effective to use the stories of your clients because your prospects can relate to them more than you.

Client Testimonials
Testimonials from your clients are the best source of success stories. Ask your clients how things have improved for them as a result of your product or service. Then ask for the testimonials that illustrate the results. Tell them that you don't want a "feel good" testimonial. You want to showcase their results as a success story. Thank them and use the testimonials.

After coaching a client to deliver a more effective sales presentation, here is what he said:

"You demonstrated to us how to cut a 60-minute rambling presentation, into a 12-minute clear, concise and focused presentation that helped us secure a $10 million project." Sam Kohn, President, Kubik

Case Studies
You can analyze results across your client base and report the trends. Or you might conduct an in-depth study of one or a few of your best clients. You or your staff might conduct a simple case study. Real estate agents report the stats on their listings. They contrast the selling price to the listing price and days to sell as compared to the market.

Another option is to arrange for a college or university student to conduct a more scientific study as part of their course studies. The advantage to you is that this has more credibility. Students can do this at no or little cost because this real-world study is often part of their studies.

Conduct surveys of your clients. Ask for more details than just checking Satisfied or Unsatisfied. Search for measureable improvements even if it is a range or estimate. But don't lie or exaggerate. For example, if 75% of your clients reported a 30% time saving - that is a success story worth reporting. Surveys can be helpful if your business, for privacy or legal reasons, does not allow or encourage testimonials.

You can celebrate the milestones of your business or that of your clients. Celebrating x years in business, reaching a new sales volume and entering a new market speaks about the success of consistency and growth. That's two benefits that your clients might want and admire. It's easier to track your own milestone but it is worth watching your clients and sharing their success. Read the industry publications about your best clients. Track them with Google Alerts. If your best clients are active on blogs, Twitter or Facebook - follow them. Congratulate them on their achievements and ask permission to talk about them in your marketing. At the very least "Like" or "repost" their postings.

A variation on milestones is to win an award or to be nominated for an award. Both are success stories. Notice how the movie business thrives on these.

New Products
The launch of new products can be a success story. It could be the result of improving technology, achieving a better level of meeting client needs or increased investment in the business. Each of these examples is a measure of success. For instance, Bay Gardens Funeral Home launched their second new funeral home in three years with a VIP fancy gala. They also pointed out that the new building included a half-million dollar meeting facility for the exclusive use of local charities and non-profit organizations at no charge to those groups. A business that can afford to build a second location within three years of the first launch is a success story.

If you want to be more successful, associate with successful people.

Become a Hub of Success Stories
Success starts from thinking and feeling successful. If you want to be more successful you need to look for and leverage your success stories. That makes you feel and look more successful to your clients and prospects. If you look more successful and appear to be a hub for success stories they are more likely to want to associate with you and do business with you.

Success breeds success. Lead with your success stories.

© George Torok helps his clients be more successful in a tough competitive market. Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" at For more free marketing ideas and success stories follow George at