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In managing customer stories, I’ve noticed an odd phenomenon: Customers often mirror the level of urgency of the vendor company in reviewing and approving their stories.

Here’s what I mean: Say you create a customer success story and it needs to be reviewed internally inside your company first. Now imagine that extends to two of three months–BEFORE you are ready to send the draft to the featured customer for review.

We’re all busy, and sometimes internal review can take a while. But if you act as if you’re not in any hurry to complete the story, the customer will likewise take a long time to approve it. A sales colleague of mine describes a similar dynamic in the sales process. If you don’t follow up quickly and regularly with a prospect, he will likely taken even longer to make a decision.

With customer stories, you also risk that your main contact could leave. And worse yet, you risk that something could happen that will turn the customer’s situation into less of a success.

I’ve seen all of the above happen. Customers don’t always mirror your behavior, but it is important to get a draft to them within a few weeks in order to show your own excitement about and value of the story.

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