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How to write customer stories that sell.

Honestly, you may not need a customer success story right now.

But a proportion of your market
would like to see how other businesses have solved problems similar to their own.

Some organizations write customer success stories to stroke egos. They don't need copywriters for that. 

Copywriters deliver customer stories that help readers to appreciate the value of spending money with you.

What to write

Know your audience's objective.

When thinking of whether to develop Customer Success Stories, it is helpful to think there are two kinds of prospects in your market:

  1. The ones who don’t care what your customers are doing.
    These prospects are truly independent thinkers. Frankly, customer stories don’t move their purchasing impulse that much. You'll need another approach to win their purchase by telling them something they don't know or showing a gap in their process. 


  2. The ones who are tentative or afraid to commit.
    They need 3rd party validation. They may also need something to help persuade their boss to approve the purchase. These prospects need to see where your product or service is used in other organizations, how it got there, and why your customers like it. They also want to discern or pick up potential traps (risk) or added value (surprising reward).
    Great customer success stories speak to the seekers.

How to write a success story

Address their emotional challenge to the process of solving their problem.

Remember to address yourself to the prospects who need validation and reinforcement for what are essentially emotional issues, not technical ones. You're not selling to a robot.

Such a mind-set will help you write with authenticity and empathy, and prompt you to devote more effort creating content with concrete words and facts to overcome real issues. Flowery, aspirational marketing-speak has no place here.

Include at least four primary elements:

  1. Write something about the customer. If you can't use their name, state their industry, their product category, something about their history and goals.

  2. State the problem or challenge clearly, and make it specific. Don't say they had trouble increasing revenue, say they needed a way to add 100 new customers in 90 days.

  3. State the discrete, unique solution or result in concrete terms. Avoid hyperbole. Be factual. Keep in mind that you also need to discuss the results or benefits -- which are not the same thing!

  4. State the results (benefit). Use numbers!

Some customer success stories add a story to these elements. Download my free Customer Success Story template for more details about how to structure and develop a customer story that sells.

Download my helpful guide to developing customer stories that SELL. It's free!

Stories that Sell Require Hard Work

What do you really know about customers’ challenges?

How do those challenges line up to your value proposition?

How many different challenges and results have customers overcome and achieved that support your positioning statement? 

How many attempts do you think it will take to schedule the interview?

I can tell you it is very tedious, the art of developing a series of customer stories that don’t all sound the same.


Most of my clients won’t do it. They hire me for that chore. They're paid for other skills.

In fact, one client recognized as a top achiever in its Gartner Magic Quadrant and called "the most loved" within its category, had a serious challenge in getting good success stories. 

You can read that story here.

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