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.
That was then
Describe what life looked like with the frustration, stress, and possible failures that resulted from the “before” situation. As you tell this part of the story, you might be tempted to list all of the pain points, but you’ll get a better result if you focus on one or two aspects of the problem and dig into the distress that the client experienced.
Equally important is to learn about the trigger that launched a search for a solution. People usually live with a problem for a period of time before they decide to do something different. Make it a point to delve into this part of your client’s journey and you’ll not only get a story, you’ll get insights that will guide your marketing strategy.
This is now
The result of your work with clients isn’t just … well, a result. It’s a transformation. Get the most vivid “after” stories by telling how your client was able to overcome challenges and meet their goals. This is not the goal to get your product or service. This is the overriding goal that they have for their job role. For example, by purchasing Recruitment Marketing services the HR director was not only able to support her recruiting efforts; she was able to reduce hiring costs and bring in the best candidates which helped the company meet its growth goals. The HR director is the hero in this scenario.
Related: Get the Case Study Guide to learn how to use client stories in your marketing and sales process.
You are not the hero
When you use storytelling structure to write your client stories, you are not the hero. Your client is. That doesn’t mean that you don’t talk about your role in the story. It means that you portray yourself as the guide that helped the client find the solution to their problem.
Let your interview with the client guide you as to how to talk about yourself. The important aspects of your product or service, and the pivotal points in their decision-making process should surface in an open-ended conversation. You might be surprised to learn that what is important to your client isn’t necessarily what you think it is.
Unwrapping your client's story
When you make a habit of talking to clients to get their stories, it’s like opening a gift. You don’t really know what you’re going to get until you push away the wrapping. As you make it a habit to talk to your clients and listen to their stories, you can expect to find some patterns. These patterns provide insights that should guide your marketing strategy. There’s still the possibility that you will be completely surprised and that could lead to insights that could transform your business.
Need help telling your client stories? Contact me today to get started.