“What’s up?” I asked.
“I’m struggling to get clients,” he said. “I get a decent amount of leads who want to hear how I can help them. But lately none of those leads have closed. None. I’m so frustrated.
“I just keep asking myself: ‘How can I be this close to the sale and not get over the finish line? What’s missing?’”
As a case study writer who’s heard this question plenty of times, I knew the answer.
“Well, what’s the main focus of your sales conversations?” I asked. “The features of your service — or its results?”
My friend looked slightly confused.
“The features, of course,” he said. “I want to be clear about what my service can do and how I’m different from my competition.”
“That’s definitely important,” I said. “But try spending more time sharing what your service has done for people, and you’ll close more sales. Nothing sells better than results.”
The case for case studies: why every business needs them (including yours!)
No matter what type of business you have — product-based, service-based, course-based, or nonprofit — your clients and customers are having an experience. And let’s assume, being the established business owner you are, those experiences are high-quality and impactful.
Those experiences need to be shared.
Because as marketing guru Seth Godin said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Instead of focusing solely on the features and benefits of your product, service, or course, spend just as much time focusing on its results — and then tell those stories far and wide.
Because here’s the thing: your clients and customers don’t buy your offering — they buy the transformation your offering provides.
This transformation is more than what your product, service, or course can do for people and ALLLLL about the way it matches your client or customer’s aspirational vision — the picture in their heads that illustrates what they really, really want.
Let’s say you sell drills. You’ve most likely heard, “People don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole in the wall.”
While yes, that’s true, the hole in the wall only accounts for what the drill can do. The aspirational vision that your customer is truly after is, say, seeing their favorite photo of their family, framed and hanging in the perfect spot in their living room.
When your customer sees that your drill will make it possible for them to gaze at their favorite family photo every time they’re lounging in their living room, they’re way more likely to purchase that drill.
Now let’s say you sell an online course about financial planning. It can be easy to think people will buy the course for the resources and strategies they’ll receive, such as budgeting tools, or tips for saving and investing. And while yes, that’s true, that only covers what the course can do.
The aspirational vision your customer is truly after is the sense of relief they’ll feel when their finances are finally organized, and the way they’ll jump for joy when that beach vacation to Antigua (the one they’ve been wanting to take for years!) is actually within reach.
Show your prospect how your course will make it possible for them to pack their bikini and be en-route to the sand, and they’re way more likely to buy that course.
See? When you focus on what your offering can do, you’re highlighting benefits. When you focus on the aspirational vision your client or customer is truly after, you’re highlighting transformation.
People consider benefits — they BUY transformation.
When you use case studies to tell the stories of the transformation that’s possible with your product, service, or course, you’ll close more sales. Period.
Okay, now that you understand the “big picture” of the power of case studies, let’s get specific about exactly how they position you — and each potential sale — for success.
When you start to use case studies in your sales process, you’ll be amazed at the powerful and persuasive punch they’ll pack with your prospect. Here are eight key reasons case studies can help you do just that.
The Power of Case Studies Reason #1
Case studies allow your prospects to see you’ve helped people just like them — while allowing you to hone in on your ideal clients
One of the biggest reasons prospects don’t turn into new clients is because they couldn’t get enough confirmation — either consciously or subconsciously — that your product, service, or course would work for them.
When all a prospect has to go off of is your website copy, a marketing email sent to the masses, or a PDF overview of your offerings, it’s really hard to get the specificity they need to see themself in your solution. Now, don’t worry, your website copy and general marketing materials aren’t supposed to get crazy specific. You are indeed speaking to a segment of the market — a group of people who all could have varying needs.
That’s why case studies are key. They allow you to get so much deeper into your common client profiles and provide the specifics about your clients’ experience — specifics that allow your prospects see themselves in your solution and think “Hey, this can work for me, too!”
This specificity is especially essential for prospects who’ve purchased other offerings in the past, trying to solve the same issue they’re now looking to you to solve. They’ve already tried a number of things, and they’re skeptical. If you can show them that you’ve helped people in a similar situation to theirs, they get the confirmation they need that your offering will work for them — and they’re much more likely to jump on board.
Diving into specifics also works on the flipside, too: it allows you to call out to the types of clients you’d like to attract more of. This is particularly helpful for business owners who are trying to niche down in their industry, either because they want to build a name for themselves in a specific area or because they simply like working with a particular set of clients.
This is where taking a strategic approach with your case studies really works to your benefit.
Case in point: One of my clients is a business coach who provides one-on-one coaching as well as online courses. When we had our initial discovery call at the start of our project, she knew it was time to use case studies to showcase the results of her work, but she didn’t know which clients would be the best ones to feature. I had one key question for her:
“What types of clients do you want to attract more of?”
She was naturally attracting entrepreneurs who were trying to get more traction in their business (a client group she loves), but she also had clients who were very well-established with revenue over $1 million. When we were selecting the case studies to create for her, we made sure to select clients who showed diversity — in this case, in their income — by choosing clients who were in the early stages of their business as well as established and VERY well-established business owners.
Through this diversity, she’s able to show the range of clients she works with, while also establishing her credibility as a coach who’s effective no matter what stage her clients’ businesses are at.
Now, every time my client is launching one of her courses or trying to close a new one-on-one coaching client, she’s got highly tailored case studies that speak directly to the different types of clients she wants to attract. Each of them is able to see exactly how her offerings have worked for someone in their specific situation.
Because she thought strategically about the case studies she created, her prospects can see themselves easily in her solutions, which greatly increases her chances of sealing the deal.
(Psssst…want to see one of the case studies we created? You can by clicking here!)
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