If you read last week’s posting (and I hope you did), you probably figured out which selling style you tend to use. I’m the Consultative type and I hope to catapult myself into that invincible Expert group sometime soon.
However, as the description of my selling style accurately points out, I’ve got some remedial work to do. I am not a natural when it comes to either telling a good story or rolling out a case study when in a sales conversation. My strength really is to function as a problem solver, describing to the client how my expertise will ensure that their objectives will be achieved. So I wondered if perhaps readers of this column might also appreciate a primer on how to introduce case studies or useful stories when trying to sell a prospect?
Think of a case study as a formal and more detailed version of a good story. Case studies examine how clients have successfully used your product or service. While a story is an informal telling of what motivated the client to use your product/service and the outcome of that decision, the story can be just as compelling and persuasive.
Consulting firms make excellent use of case studies and they are often featured on company websites. Cases detail the challenge a particular client faced, how that challenge impacted business, how it was identified, how the decision to address it was made, who made that decision and (most importantly) how the consulting firm’s services were implemented to effect a successful resolution.
You can do that, too, by documenting your own successful projects. You can write up a couple of cases to feature on your website or in your newsletter. If you choose to give actual client names, remember to obtain written permission.
The beauty of case studies is that they encourage prospective clients who read them (and there’s a fairly good chance that they will) to envision themselves hiring you to meet the need or solve the problem. Write your case studies so that they paint a clear and compelling picture of the project or dilemma that the organization faced and how the situation was resolved, with your expert intervention.
Case studies and stories engage prospects because they add flesh and blood to your sales pitch. Now the two of you have something to talk about and you can speak not merely in the abstract, but in the sometimes messy reality of how business really gets done. The sale becomes personal.
The features and benefits that you discuss have life in them. The prospective client identifies with what you offer and how that fits into his/her agenda. Your perhaps nebulous sounding array of services appear tangible and useful. Now that prospect is much more likely to join your client roster.
Thanks for reading,