If I was trying to sell someone on a migration to Hosted Exchange, and the support contract that comes with it, I could tell them that switching will save them time, and I could explain to them it will save them money. I could do that very matter-of-factly, but what I really want to do is paint them a picture of how this investment could pay off for them. I want to use a real life case study.

My go-to for this pitch is below:

"Before we moved to Hosted Exchange, I constantly missed meetings. My personal Gmail calendar high-jacked any calendar invite that I received on my mobile. I spent at least an hour a day looking for things, not remembering what location I had received or sent a certain email from. What’s worse is I didn’t even realize that was happening! I was disorganized and losing time that could have been spent on productive things.

I have 15 employees. They were all using the POP email system that came with my first website hosting package. They couldn’t see my calendar, or each others’ calendars, so it took dozens of emails to plan simple meetings. Most of them accessed email through the Web, and could only see the last 20 emails they had received. We ran out of space constantly. And who ended up dealing with all that nonsense? Yours truly. 

Someone quit? I personally had to pull their credentials. I forgot my email admin password constantly and that reset process took an hour. For a while I spent ten hours a week on my company email challenges. 

I bill my time out to clients at 250 per hour. My employees bill out at around 50 per hour. 15 of us without email for a few hours is chaos. 15 of us spending an hour each trying to troubleshoot our email before calling for support causes a huge dip in our numbers. And when each of those people call me to ask what is up with our email today? I’m ready to pull my hair out.

Now? My calendar is always up to date — I can access it anywhere, and I get reminders and invitations directly to my phone — and it shows me what I have and haven’t accepted yet. I can search for anything, on any device — no problem, it’s right there. Email challenges?  I call someone and it gets handled.  More importantly my team calls someone — someone who is not me — and it gets handled.  I estimate moving to hosted exchange has given me back  20 billable hours this month — my hours — and 200 billable hours for my team.   And you know what it cost me?  500 dollars to set up, and 100 dollars a month, plus a few hours of support here and there when I need to get new team members set up."

Through this story, I want them to laugh when I laugh, and I want them to tsk-tsk with me when I’m talking about all that lost billable time. I want to entertain them. No matter what you are selling, if you can get them engaged, you can get them to the next step in the process. So how do you craft your go-to stories for selling cloud?

You ask your clients to help you. Happy clients will tell you what influenced their decision to buy, and how what they purchased changed how they do business. Interview them. Record that interview. Pull out the good stuff. Add some humour. Then practice telling your story until you sound polished, but not rehearsed. Soon you’ll be able to slip that amazing anecdote into conversation so naturally no-one will realize it’s the hundredth time you’ve told it!   

Have a collection of stories to share instead of a list of features and benefits to review, and you’ll find your initial prospect conversations lasting longer, and your conversion from calls to appointments will increase.

How do you paint the picture for your customers when selling cloud? Does storytelling work for you when pitching a cloud-based solution?