Past Performance is Meaningless

By / Corporate Storytelling

Past Performance is Meaningless

Published on

“We’ve done this before.”

The next time you utter these words in front of a client I want you to punch yourself in the neck – hard – as soon as you are alone. That phrase is currently one of the most overused when sales professionals are advocating and it is utterly meaningless to a client.

So what? You have done this before. Big deal. How do I know it went well? How do I know it delivered any kind of results or outcomes I might be remotely interested in or that might be relevant to me?

Clients don’t care about past performance. Clients care about past success.
And that’s a tremendous distinction.

Everyone they are considering has “done this before” – or they wouldn’t be talking to them!  But when you have successfully delivered real outcomes, things that can actually be measured, then you are suddenly talking a language that clients will understand.

So how to stop yourself from uttering these meaningless words in client presentations and sales conversations? Just change it up. Say something like, “Let me tell you where we have delivered results like this before…” and then go on and give the relevant example. Be sure to include a metric, and connect it to something of value that your current audience cares about.

Then attach your past success to the differentiator that made these results possible. You don’t want the client to think that just anyone is capable of delivering these results. Distinguish your past success through real differentiators, ones that deliver real outcomes.

And then there is the Logo Slide.

You know the one. It is a special PowerPoint slide that is in every single presentation.   And it is covered with the logos of all the clients you have done business with in the past 20 years. This is the business-prevalent and over-used media version of, “We’ve done this before.”

And your client audience will just yawn and think, “So what?”

Best to drop this slide from your next presentation. Instead pick a relevant client reference and tell a story about how you delivered measurable results that had a material impact on their business.

Now that’s past success and that sells.

Cheryl Chartier is a Corporate Storyteller at Articulus.  She can help you get your story straight and communicate past success in an interesting way.  She coaches sales teams on how to “get to the point” and find the heart of their message, so that they win more business. 

Follow her on Twitter @cheryl_chartier

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