Years ago I traveled by car to over 300 marinas in New England and Canada to update a cruising guide book. (Now I get to go by sea which will provide a totally different perspective.)
As I started talking to marina managers, one of the questions I asked was what makes them unique. After a few stares, I quickly learned nobody really knows how to answer this question. However, when I asked specifically what makes them different than Marina Q they had no problem telling me. I have never forgotten that lesson and still use it today when interviewing Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) for different projects.
Getting a customer to agree to an interview for a case study or their success story isn’t always easy. In fact, at times it can be quite difficult. This is partly because they (customers) don’t see the benefit or they’re concerned they may lose you to their competitor.
Here’s 5 ways to help your customer willingly tell others what makes them unique in using your product and/or service:
1. Co-Market – if you have a customer you really want to feature, create ways for them to interact with your organization on a deeper level.
2. Joint-Effort – find a story angle to tell both your customer’s story and yours together as a combined effort.
3. Rare Exception – during the sales process, consider offering training or other services in exchange for a success story with before and after results.
4. Recognition – this is a win-win for everyone. Take every opportunity to submit your customers for awards and PR opportunities.
5. Alternatives – if your customer insists on being private, suggest an internal-only or unnamed use of their success story.
With that said, timing could also be a key factor. You’ll want to capture these stories when your customer has had enough time to use your product/service and can see actual results from your solution(s).