“I love you but I will never admit it in public.”
Sound familiar? Of course it does! Every marketing pro has heard this from their best customers and knowing that the most powerful marketing and sales tool is the voice of the customer – we have a problem.
Studies show that customer referrals drive a whopping 30-70% of sales.
It isn’t surprising why this is a critical tool for marketing success.
Getting your customers to agree to speak publicly is an uphill battle but consider putting on your sales hat by addressing their concerns and outlining the value proposition. What is in it for them?
Listen. What are their challenges? Are they prevented from endorsing a vendor’s product or are they simply too busy? Maybe there are security concerns or they don’t want to share competitive advantages. Think outside of the box and brainstorm solutions for these roadblocks. Offer to speak to their PR or legal team for them. Create a document that shows examples of how their story can be told without giving away the secret sauce or at last resort, mentioning the company name.
Make them a rock star. Show your customer numerous examples of positive customer profiles in both trade and business media. Once they see how their peers are overcoming huge obstacles and achieving success, they’ll inevitably want the same glory. Help them understand that positive media exposure helps build their brand reputation and enforces thought leadership.
Impress management. Create an internal-only summary of your customer’s challenges and success for them to share with their management. The summary will detail how your customer saved their company money, increased sales and productivity. This can only help strengthen their case for sharing the story publicly. Be sure to include your sales pitch points.
Broaden the scope. There are numerous opportunities outside of media for your customer to shine. Demonstrate how they can communicate directly with their peers via speaking opportunities at industry events or industry roundtables. Awards, press releases, case studies, sales collateral, webinars, Google+ Hangouts are all examples of ways to leverage the customer voice.
Show them the money. Consider offering them discounted product, a complimentary pass to your next User Group Conference or an upgrade in their service agreement. This helps build customer loyalty and makes them feel like an “insider”.
Closing a sale always takes time. If you build a relationship of trust with your customer and put on your sales hat, you will soon be armed with valuable tools to add to your marketing and sales efforts.