“Everyone is so happy with the completion of our big project implementation. Sure, there were a few problems to troubleshoot along the way, but your team stuck with it and performed brilliantly. We now have a system that is operating at capacity and is creating the real time results that we need to meet our goals.”
Zzzzzz…. Is it over?
Case studies are the classic client stories. The usual format takes you through three phases: the situation, what the vendor did, and the outcome. It’s common to focus on the middle phase and blow your own horn talking about yourself and your work, but there’s a different way to tell your client stories that will enable sales and guide your prospect to a decision. Paint a better picture of what life looked like before and after you came on the scene, and you’ll have a more powerful way to connect with people and influence their decision-making process.
Storytelling for business isn’t anything new. It’s been an on-again, off-again buzzword for a long time. At face value, the word “storytelling” seems a little fluffy and certainly everything that is being called a story is not a story. Reality is that companies that have embraced a storytelling approach to communications are finding benefits in all areas of their business, not just marketing. They have found that storytelling isn’t just for telling stories.
When I was in college, I worked for the New York Times. That’s how I started out a talk that I gave recently to the Women Executives in Business (WEB) organization in Mankato. Until I became a student of storytelling, I didn’t understand the value that my personal stories could have in the business world. But the success of this talk, measured in audience feedback, proved out the concept that good stories power up your communications. Here’s what happened.
Case studies are one of the very best ways to demonstrate how your products and services have met the needs of your clients. In the B2B world, the buying decision may include many people and is more emotional than a B2C decision because of what is at stake. Case studies have long been recognized as a way to help in the decision making process, to validate choices, and nurture trust. They can be even more powerful when they are presented in a storytelling format that focuses more on what happened to the client, than on the products and services they used.
I was invited to be a guest at a networking lunch recently. I had been to these networking groups before and as I drove into town that day I composed the commercial that I would speak to the group to introduce myself and my business. I thought I was going to have 60 seconds but there were so many people that this turned out to be 30 seconds.
To be adept at business storytelling, you must first be a listener. This is because the story that you need to tell is not the one about you, what you do and how you do it. It’s the story about your client, their problem and the journey they went on to find a solution. How do you get your client’s story, and what do you do with it?