How to win new customers by telling stories about your existing customers.

Case studies and testimonials are your strongest tools for winning new customers. As a potential customer, I want to see how you’ve helped people like me.

Let’s take a look at one example: Kerry Thompson’s consultancy akeno.co.uk

Kerry helps car dealers sell more cars. The car market – and customers’ expectations – are constantly changing. But Kerry’s been at it for a decade, working with some of the biggest names in the industry. So she’s knows what she’s talking about.

But here’s how she normally presents her case studies. Remember, this is her shop window, where Kerry can show potential new customers what she’s like to work with:

Case studies on Kerry’s website akeno.co.uk

What’s wrong with this?

First, there’s no movie. It’s mostly business-speak, and as a result, it’s hard to see what Kerry means. Take phrases like “omnichannel car sales”, “new and improved customer experience” or (further down the page) “Managing UAT (User Acceptance Testing) of customer-facing systems to ensure an intuitive and accurate user experience.”

What does any of that look like?  

Second, there’s no character. At no point do we see or hear Kerry or her customer (the SEAT dealer). She’s missing a trick. We are fascinated by other people. We watch them closely. We like judging them (oh yes we do, this is why the Daily Mail Online is the world’s most-read newspaper website).

In Kerry’s story, there’s nothing to see and noone to judge.

What really happened with SEAT Stores?

It’s three o’clock in the morning. Kerry is standing in the middle of a posh London shopping centre, with her heart in her mouth. A giant crane is lifting a £60,000 SEAT car high above her head and swinging it into a first-floor retail unit. If the car sways six inches either way, it’ll crash into the Zara shop window and the whole exercise will be a disaster.

Ok, now what’s the movie playing in your head?

Using the Movie Time tactic, Kerry could give us action (real person, real time/place, stuff happening). And she can give us emotion (the stakes are high). Only then can she give us the meaning: this is how I help customers, now you can judge how I deliver a “new and improved customer experience.”

It’s not just Kerry’s story

Great, so we now get a sense of who Kerry is and how she works. But I also want to meet her customer.

Kerry could use Simple Sales Stories to identify three types of customer she can can tell stories about.

  1. Old customer: ten years ago, Kerry helped VW dealers introduce a new system, and they still use it today. (Moral: that must have been a good piece of work.)
  2. Regular customer: Volvo UK once asked Kerry to run a workshop, then another, then another. Now they say if they ever need that kind of job, they come to her. (Moral: she must be good at her job.)
  3. Tricky customer: Kerry ran an online session with Volvo HQ in Sweden, but there was a lot of confusion about the result. Kerry sorted it out at her expense. (Moral: she sounds like a reliable partner.)

But it is Kerry’s homework

Kerry needs customers to give her a testimonial. But she can’t just ask them to write a testimonial. That’s like asking someone else to do your homework. Here’s what Kerry needs to do.

  1. Kerry asks each customer for a ten minute chat on the phone.
  2. Kerry asks questions about what it was like to work together (the Social Proof tactic helps here).
  3. Kerry takes notes and then she writes up the best quotes from the conversation.
  4. Kerry sends the draft version to the customer for them to approve.
  5. When they’re happy, Kerry gets them to send her a photograph (eg; LinkedIn profile pic).
  6. Kerry adds the customer story, their photo and “direct speech quotes” to her website.

So, does this approach work?

Kerry has kindly agreed to post a link to her new, improved case studies when she’s done her homework. Click here to see the results (due September 2023)

Watch the full Customer Stories session here:

3 thoughts on “How to win new customers by telling stories about your existing customers.”

  1. So helpful re the testimonials. I have several customers who have agreed to do a testimonial and asked me what I was looking for and I had no clue! This has paid for my Pip Decks alone! Thank you!

    Reply

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