Who’s the best person to tell your company’s story?  It might be the CEO or a sales rep or a spokesperson, but often it’s a customer.  Someone who loves what you’ve done for them and is willing to share the story can be a powerful asset. These case studies, or customer stories, or testimonials, are often the most compelling way to explain how well you serve your customers and meet their needs.

But the logistics of telling those stories can be tricky. How do you get the customer in front of a camera when the sales team owns the relationship and doesn’t want marketers getting in the way, or taking up the the client’s time, or asking it it would be OK for a video crew to invade the office for a few hours? Especially when we’re just a vendor, and the customer doesn’t owe us any favors.

Here are some tips our customers have found useful:

  • Identify Your Allies: You don’t need the entire sales team on board to produce your first amazing customer story.  You need one rep whose face lights up at the idea, who gets the value, who knows a customer who would be excited to be on camera.  You might pitch the idea to 20 salespeople and have no takers, but you’ll see a glimmer in someone’s eyes and approach them afterward to get things rolling.
  • Sell to Your Sellers: Don’t ask your reps to support the program just because it’s a good idea, or because it’ll boost brand awareness or help future sales. Sell them on its immediate value to the right customer: “Think about the client you’re closest to, the one who retweets what you share about the company and has referred others to you. Someone who’s proud of what was accomplished with our help.  Now think about how they’ll feel if you ask to tell their story, on video, and share it with the world. Is it their chance to become more visible and get promoted? Or get speaking gigs? Or get a recruiter’s attention? Or just the chance to be on video? And even if they say no, will they maybe feel flattered and a bit more open to your next upsell opportunity?”
  • Show Your Work: Promise that, once the video is ready, you’ll do more than send the sales team a URL.  Explain that you’ll attend the national sales meeting, or the weekly sales call, and share a complete package ready for the field.  The ultimate valid business reason to reach out to every customer and prospect. I’ll come with email scripts, draft social posts, formats that can be shared in all the right channels, a PDF wrapper, a printable summary with a URL, a flash drive … any format and supporting material they need to put it to work right away.  Or demonstrate that approach with an existing asset, like a white paper, to show you mean business and that the investment of their time in connecting you with clients will pay off handsomely.
  • Tell a Great Story:  Don’t just ask the client (or ask the rep to ask the client) to deliver a testimonial.  Especially if nobody will be surprised that you provided good service — as Saturday Night Live explained so well in the ultimate customer testimonial video in 1988. Offer to tell the customer’s story, both because it’s more interesting and because it’s what the customer wants to discuss. You’ll work in mentions of the partnership with your company, but sell the customer, not yourself.  Now you’re not asking the customers for favors; you’re offering to help promote their businesses.

Once you break through the initial hurdles and get those customer stories rolling, share them quickly with the rest of the sales team.  You’ll know you’ve succeeded when the rest of the reps start suggesting clients, and when that first client asks to put the video on their own web site because it tells their story so well.

Any thoughts? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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To learn how MAGNET MEDIA can help with your social media/interactive marketing or video solutions, contact info@magnetmediafilms.com, 646-486-7109, or visit https://www.magnetmediafilms.com/our-services