Lead With SuccessThe purpose of marketing is to make it easier to sell, and nothing sells like results. To capture attention and convert more prospects into eager buyers with your marketing, lead with success stories. Here are some tips for crafting and sharing your success stories on the web and through other marketing channels.

Why are success stories so … successful? People make buying decisions based on how they are feeling. Their emotions are determined by how they perceive the events and conditions of their environment. Note that it is not what happens that determines their emotional state of mind, it is how they perceive what happened.

Success stories describe value and benefits-not features. They can influence emotions in three fundamental ways: they mitigate fear, they appeal to greed and most importantly, they offer hope. All three of these emotional changes can persuade clients to buy.

A good success story includes the elements:

The “Before” Picture: Using words, numbers or images, describe the pain, challenge or emotional state. Sometimes the “before” picture is simply the starting point.

The “After” Picture: Using the same parameters, show the results as a sharp contrast. The contrast must be clear and be memorable. For example: Business improved by 15 percent or 12 percent was saved on shipping costs.

The Catalyst: Give credit to the product or service that made the difference. It’s a good idea to talk about how easy or simple your solution was too.

Where can you find your success stories? Testimonials from your employees or customers are the best source. Ask your customers how things have improved for them as a result of your product or service. Then ask for the testimonials that illustrate the results. Tell them that you don’t want a “feel good” testimonial.

Here are other elements you can also include in your marketing:

Case Studies. You can analyze results across your company and report the trends. Or you might conduct an in-depth study of one or a few of your newest initiatives or campaigns. Another option is to arrange for a college or university student to conduct a more scientific study as part of their course studies. The advantage to you is that this outside source has more credibility.

Surveys. Conduct surveys. Ask for more details from you employees or customers than just checking if they are satisfied. Search for measurable improvements, even if it is a range or estimate. But don’t lie or exaggerate. Surveys can be helpful if your business, for privacy or legal reasons, does not allow or encourage testimonials.

Milestones. You can celebrate the milestones of your business. Celebrating years in business, reaching a new sales volume record and entering a new market speaks about the company’s success of consistency and growth.

Source: George Torok, “Lead With Success Stories;” PC Today. Compiled by Cassandra Johnson.