«return to Tip of the Month ListingA Winning Strategy for Landing Big-Name Customer Stories

I’m a big proponent of what I call “win-win storytelling” in customer case studies and success stories. The company creating the customer story has to benefit, as does the featured customer.

The key—especially for landing big-name customers for customer stories—is finding what motivates each customer (on an individual, departmental or company level). Simply reminding the customer they receive free publicity may not be enough.

In just the past two weeks, I’ve worked on several stories with interesting customer motivators behind them:

  • A civil engineer is enthusiastic about being featured because it showcases his own success on a major project (and he used my client’s software to do so). Nice addition to his resume!
  • An IT department participated because it wants to highlight its innovative best practices publicly.
  • And a marketing department agreed to be featured because it wants the story to demonstrate —internally— to company higher-ups that it contributes to the bottom line.

In all cases, I’m crafting these stories to meet the objectives of my client and the featured customer. Not always easy—but worth it to get the biggest names.

Here are a few tips for using the win-win storytelling approach:

  • The scoping conversation – Have an initial call with all key parties to discuss the potential case study and identify how it can assist the customer (again, on an individual, departmental or company wide level). Define expectations here.
  • Your PR ally – Engage your customer’s PR department. PR can help push the case study through the right channels at the customer’s organization.
  • Create the case in a way that weaves the customer’s story/messages in with your own messages.
  • As always, find a way to represent returns on investment in terms the customer feels comfortable with. If not actual dollars, perhaps say 40% faster, 5 times more efficient or one-half the time. . .
  • Negotiate edits throughout the process to ensure the story meets the customer’s objective and yours, and continues to do so through all revisions.

Want to know more about customer motivators and win-win storytelling?

Watch for my forthcoming book, Stories That Sell, which devotes a whole chapter to getting customers to agree to be featured, including best practices from leading companies. Read a sample chapter and pre-order now.