What sounds better during a sales pitch:
1. We help businesses improve their bottom line.
2. We helped XYZ company increase revenue by 19%.
Obviously number 2 is the clear choice, and the reason is because it includes quantifiable data that validates the value the company claims, which helps differentiate the company and its offerings. This type of anecdotal differentiation comes in many flavors, regardless of the type of organization you run, e.g.:
A. Tree removal company – We helped ABC park district remove 26 trees so it could finish its new park on time.
B. Law firm – AAA Law Firm saved BBB company $457,000 in erroneous liability claims.
C. Technology company – Our ABC product increased staff productivity by 26% within the first three months following installation.
D. Ice cream shop – Eight out of every 10 of our customers surveyed state they would gladly refer a friend or family member to our shop because of the taste, variety of flavors and cost of our ice cream.
E. Insurance company – Following Hurrican Sandy, we helped 45,000 people in the Northeast rebuild their homes will full replacement value payouts.
F. Tire company – We helped John Smith and his family save $145 (versus the competition) on their set of new tires for their minivan.
G. Web development firm – ABC Web Development gave RRR Recreation Company a professional-looking online presence in just three days.
Regardless of the type of business your work for or run, and irrespective of the size or industry, you have the ability to dig into your performance and pull out such anecdotal evidence of the value of your products/services. In the worlds of sales and marketing there really is no more valuable data that this. Having worked for over 15 years in both B2B and B2C marketing environment and for sales teams, I can atest to this fact. Whenever we were able to uncover such testimonials for the sales team, they were estatic, to say the least.
Ways to Secure Anecdotal Performance Data
Quantifiable testimonials and return on investment (ROI) data such as this is worth its weight in gold and it can unfortantely be a little challenging to get your hands on at times. There are, however, many proven approaches to securing this invaluable data. Here are a few of those methods:
1. “We want to showcase your success” – Contact your most successful customers and tell them you are so proud of their success with your products/services that you want to highlight them in your outbound communications. Many clients will simply say “okay” because of the free, positive publicity you are offering.
2. Offer an incentive for helping - Offer your most successful customers a free month of service or 15 percent off their next purchase or six months of complimentary support, e.g. in exchange for giving you a quantifiable testimonial. This method has proven the most successful for me in the past.
3. Put a clause in your contract (primarily for B2B) – Put a clause in your sales contract that states the company will serve as a testimonial for your business once they have ROI to demonstrate. Many times the client won’t even notice it in the contract or if they do may simply disregard it at the time of purchase.
Branding and differentiation today can sometimes come down to inches – meaning a few dollars here and a few dollars there in terms of selecting you over a competitor. You need to do everything you can to stand out from the competition, and there are few better ways than with anecdotal evidence. Take the time to amass a number of these types of anecdotes – whether simple quantifiable bullet points like above or embedded into full-blow case studies. Case studies put the substance and color around the metric to help bring its full value to life.
Either way, anecdotal evidence will go a very long way toward distinguishing you and your offerings from the next guy, and that is what successful business is all about – offering something people want and demonstrating its value with real, quantifiable data from past customers.