More Clients TV
Convert More Prospects Into Clients With Case Stories
In this week's 5 minute marketing tip I share what's probably the most powerful method I know for engaging with potential clients and converting more of them into paying clients.
This is something that will just take you a few minutes to prepare, but can reap huge rewards.
You can listen to the podcast with Lisa Bloom on using stories in your marketing here:
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Hi. It's Ian here. Welcome to another 5-minute marketing tip. Today's tip is about probably the most powerful method I know for having more effective meetings with potential clients and converting more of those potential clients into paying clients. I'll tell you about my method after the break.
Hi. Welcome back. I did a podcast recently that you might have heard with Lisa Bloom on the power of storytelling for your marketing. If you haven't listened to the podcast, you can catch it. There's a link just down below. It got me thinking about a technique I've used for a long, long time, using stories in face-to-face meetings with potential clients.
A technique that works incredibly well to help you convert more of those potential clients into playing clients and it's by using case stories. Not case studies. Case studies are those really boring things that you have in presentations on your website that say, “We work with person X. Here is what we did. These are the results,” et cetera, et cetera. Case stories are much more engaging. Just to explain what I mean, imagine a scenario where you're, let's say a manufacturing consultant and you've been sitting down with the manufacturing director of a consumer goods company and he's been telling you about some of the problems he has, costs in manufacturing, long lead times, all that kind of stuff.
What you could do is you could kind of respond by saying, “Oh, yes. We've worked with all the major consumer goods companies and we have proprietary lead manufacturing and Six Sigma techniques and we could reduce your manufacturing costs by about 10% and cut your lead time by 20%.” That's kind of okay and, you know, you're talking about the benefits they'll get but it really doesn't work on a psychological level. It's all facts and figures, there's no emotion.
Just as importantly or more importantly, you're essentially setting up an antagonistic relationship with that person because they've worked in that business all their life. They're having all these problems and you're kind of waltzing in saying, “Hey, we could save you 10% and 20% from this.” The natural reaction of most people to that is, “Oh you could, could you now? Well, I'd like to see you prove it.” You've just got the wrong dynamic there.
A much better way to do it is to use a case story. Instead you'd say something like, “Oh, that's really interesting. We just worked recently with John Smith the manufacturing director of [Big Pack 00:02:22] and John had this problem specifically with his change over times and that was causing long lead times, increased manufacturing costs. The CEO was really breathing down his neck because it was causing all sorts of problems with their customers not getting their orders on time. Not being flexible enough. Big challenge for John.
We came in and we worked with his team and over about six months we were able to implement some new lean manufacturing practices, embed some Six Sigma into their working practices and at the end of that they cut their manufacturing costs by 10% and their lead time by 20% and that gave them the flexible they needed with their customers. Customer satisfaction went through the roof and, of course, John was then a bit of a hero with the CEO.
Now there's a really big difference there. Firstly, you're building empathy so you're talking about … and this is one of the secrets to case stories. You're talking about someone in a very similar position to the person who is sitting opposite to you so they can feel empathy for this other manufacturing director. Obviously this has to be this to be a true story. I'm assuming you have true stories of this kind of work you've done or something you've done yourself. You build up empathy because John is like the person you're talking to and you're casting John as the hero in it.
You're not the big, “I'm great I can do all sorts.” If you cast John as the hero who works with you of course, but gets the success with his team and you talk about some of the problems he has and the CEO breathing down his neck so these are probably the sort of problem that the person you're talking to faces. It's really making those problems more visceral for him. He's beginning to feel that issue and then he sees John becoming a hero so instead of thinking, “Oh, prove it to me.” He's now thinking, “Oh, that sounds like the kind of thing I would want. I wonder if they could get similar results for me?”
Instead of an antagonistic relationship, you've got a relationship where he's almost beginning to reach out to you and saying, “Oh, well tell me more about how you did that. What happened there? Can I speak to John, ” et cetera. You've really got a good positive conversation going. That's how to use case stories. You need stories where you have real human being people in them who are the heroes, the clients you've worked with. Occasionally it can be you if you've done the thing that your potential client would want to do.
It's even better if it's a client who's just like them, they can empathize with. You tell the story. You focus on the problem they had and the results they got. Don't focus on what you did. That's much less interesting that the problem they can empathize with and the results, that's what they want. In terms of coming up with those case stories, it's very difficult to come up with them in the heat of the moment even if you're very experienced.
My suggestion is, write them down first. Think about them and plan them. Think about the top five or six problems that your clients typically have that you would expect them to talk about in a sales meeting. For each of those problems, write down some examples of clients you've worked with or things you've done yourself where you worked on that sort of problem and the results you got. Make a little case story for each one.
Ideally you'll have little case stories and examples of clients that tick off multiple problems that clients might have. Depending on what problem comes up, you focus on a different aspect of the story. That really is the key to it. It's fairly simple. Make sure you're using case stories rather than making claims. Then in advance, write down the major problems or challenges, goals and aspirations that your clients typically have and are likely to mention in a meeting. Then for each of those, figure out a couple of case stories that you can use.
Refresh your memory before you go into that sales meeting, remind yourself of what those case stories are so that then when they do mention that, you can begin to bring out those case stories. It'll build empathy, it'll build trust, it'll build you a credibility without you coming across as someone who thinks they know everything or someone who's attacking them for not having made those improvements. Instead they'll reach out to you to find out how you could help them get the same results that you got for those other clients. That's it for this tip. See you next time.