We’ve heard that customers have to both know, like and trust us before buying. What if we could start every conversation focused on the most important element: Trust?
Developing trust faster with prospects doesn’t take NLP or language tricks. Instead, developing trust faster comes from understanding the struggles our prospects are going through and empathizing.
But what if we’ve never actually had their challenges because we don’t have their credentials or job title?
That’s where story-based testimonials come in. But not just any testimonial – John Livesay has been systemizing a very impactful form of storytelling that shares the experiences of satisfied clients to both demonstrate empathy and provide credibility and shared his entire system with us. This not only creates conversations, it shortens sales cycles. While this isn’t a CRM or a piece of outreach automation, it’s still a powerful system any sales team can put into play.
Before going over how to gather these types of powerful testimonials, it’s important to understand how to use them. When we sat down with John Livesay, we learned that communicating
John says this type of story starts with an exposition that lays out the who/when/where and why. This allows you to gather a story about a customer who had the same concerns, challenges and hesitancies for buying what you sell. Then, communicate the initial results that customer began to see and round out with the total ROI they attained (on personal and professional levels).
But these types of powerful story-driven testimonials have to be gathered before they can be leveraged, so let’s start there.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: When an existing client is in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of your product or service, get those feelings captured. Ensure you listen for how what you sold them is affecting their lives and businesses. John also recommends visiting with the same satisfied customers a few months after your company’s direct involvement ends. That way, you can get an after-state to work into your powerful testimonials.
R – Repeatable: To gather these story testimonials, ensure that you calendar a meeting with each satisfied client to get their before-state, their concerns and how your service or product alleviated them. It’s best to operate from a checklist of questions so you remember what to ask around the challenges they were having before choosing your product or service, what concerns they had about trying to fix it, what initial results they were most excited to see and what their ROI was from doing business with you.
I – Improvable: One easy way to improve how you and your salespeople are gathering stories is to not ask closed-ended questions. Instead, use the words, “Tell me a story about what was going on before you bought from us, what’s been happening since then around those challenges and what you’d want to ensure other people who are considering this product/service know.”
Another way to improve stories is to keep them in the present tense. It’s the difference between, “Sally was suffering 10 years ago and we helped her. She told us it was great,” and “Sally gets up every day worrying about whether her business will survive. She knows that our widget didn’t save her business, but she is certain it wouldn’t be here without it.”
M – Measurable: To measure the results of these types of story-driven testimonials, first track which stories your salespeople are communicating and across how many prospects. From there, look for closed sales across those prospects and examine which stories are converting and across which salespeople. If your salespeople are willing to share their stories and delivery style, your team will learn something that will ensure they sell with stories better.