You have probably heard the saying, “Don’t just tell me; show me.” When it comes to selling a product or service, it is best to show your customer how it can meet their needs by giving an example. Telling someone that your product is “the best in the industry” isn’t saying much at all. Anyone can make claims that their widget is the best, fastest, newest, most affordable, etc.
Other than a hands-on product demonstration or a trial run of a service, an application story is one of the best ways to communicate the actual features and benefits. Also known as a case study, these short summaries give your customer or prospect a quick snapshot of your offering’s proven success. It also gives your product a third-party endorsement.
The formula for an effective application story is simple: challenge, solution, and results. The more hard numbers and stats that you can give, the stronger it will be. Good quotes from the end user or your customer always makes the case more solid. There is no need to have a 10-page report on the story, but rather a short one to two page summary. An application story is a wonderful sales tool that can be repurposed in many ways.
Here are a few ideas on how to use a solid case study:
- Post it in a special section of your website. Keep developing application stories. This is a great way to generate new content and keep your site fresh for optimal search engine rankings.
- Print copies and give them to your sales team as handouts during sales calls.
- Send them via e-mail to prospects after an initial sales call.
- Have copies available at a trade show or send them by e-mail after the show as a follow-up to those who stopped by the booth.
- Feature the story in a customer newsletter and/or internal communication to the company.
- Pitch the story to print and online media. Editors are always looking for new content that would interest their readers.
When someone is looking to do business with your company, they want to know that you have provided the service or product before – and that it has been successful. Reach out to your customers and ask if they would mind being featured in an application story. They will most likely be excited to get their name out there, too.