Securing new business leads is only a small part of the battle to secure new customers. These leads need to be nurtured and ultimately closed. Having a series of well written business case studies can significantly improve closure rates.
How Case Studies Help Secure New Business
Whatever you sell, but particularly if you sell a service, let’s imagine a pitch to a potential new client / customer. What is the prospect really interested in? They are interested in you (because people buy from people), hence they want to know that you are credible and have a detailed knowledge of whatever you are trying to sell. Of course, they want to know that the product or service will deliver the specified result.
A well written business case study based on a project you have delivered to others can address their fears:
- Credibility – Tick – Delivered to others.
- Result – Tick – This is what we did and these were the results.
- Social Proof – Tick – (see below).
- Objections – Tick – A well written case study will address potential objections before they occur.
It also allows you too big up your previous clients which helps cement your ongoing relationships.
A Little About Social Proof
In his book ‘The Psychology of Persuasion’ Robert Cialdini states ‘one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct’ which means a natural human instinct is to believe that if someone else is doing it then it must be OK. You may not like, or believe, that statement but for lots of examples (and research) of how and why it works read the book (or at least Chapter4).
By using case studies you are taping in to the power of a natural human trait. We all may wish to think we are entirely rational and can easily override any in built natural human response but be honest with yourself, is that really the case?
Key Elements Of Business Case Studies
So what should a case study include? First it should talk a little about the client and their business (some promotional copy for your client). Then, in brief, it should discuss the requirement and specifically the initial KPI’s and agreed timescales. It should then discuss a little on how results were achieved before going into detail on the results showing how the initial objectives were met or, better still, exceeded.
Graphics should be included in the results wherever possible using credible sources of information like Google analytics or photography of before and after and the job in progress. Appropriate general photography can be used sparingly to break up the text.
Building The Case Study – Process
Writing business case studies requires planning and organisation. A single case study helps but the real value is in a series of case studies including at least one for each of the products or services you deliver.
Not all clients will agree to a case study based on the work you do for them but there is more chance of success if you ask early in the process. It is best to ask not too early but once some relationship and client confidence has been built. Then asking the question can actually build your credibility as it shows you have early confidence that the results you promised will be delivered or even exceeded.
Of course every customer project should be tracked and measured but this is even more important if a case study is required. Data, be it photographic, analytics or whatever else is appropriate must be collected as the task progresses.
It is possible the customer or client may wish to write the case study when the job is complete but much more likely that you will be required to write it and let the client approve and/or make any required amendments. The completed case study should not be too long (two sides of A4 should suffice) but long enough to include all the required elements.
To write business case studies takes planning, time and effort but the benefits they deliver in handling objections and aiding closure should not be underestimated. The key is to build a process and ensure they are an integral part of your marketing system.
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