So you’ve finally got a prospect who’s interested in what you have to say…and actually wants to hear you present. That means it’s time to jump into the features and benefits of your offering, right?
Actually, no—that’s old-school selling, and it simply doesn’t work anymore.
Feature and benefit selling has been around for a really long time. And while it worked for many years, today it’s outdated and ineffective.
Nowadays, we want to use case studies or case study presentations to ultimately connect where the prospect is now to where you’re going to take them.
Your job is to fill in that gap, helping prospects to visualize the transition from where they currently are to where they want to end up.
In this video, I’m going to show you 5 keys to a great case study presentation in sales. Check it out:
1. Think of any great movie plot.
The first step to crafting a great case study presentation is to put on your movie-director hat for a minute. Because a case study is ultimately just an example, which is, in turn, just a story. It’s a story of one of your clients, highlighting the success you’ve helped them achieve. And you want to tell that story just like a great director would direct the plot of a good movie.
Let me explain what I mean. Every case study should start with a customer who’s dealing with a problem and thus struggling to succeed in some way. This is the same essence of a good movie, where the hero of the movie starts out struggling with something they just can’t figure out. At this point, both the customer in our case study and the hero in our movie may have tried some stuff to fix their problem, but nothing has worked very well up until this point.
Next, in every great case study, the customer should meet us (the salesperson) and finally do some things that help them achieve exactly what they want. And as a result, they are able to accomplish specific goals, which you’re going to tell your prospects all about in your presentation. Again, this follows the story arc of any good movie plot—something happens that finally changes everything, and we stay glued to the screen to find out what happens as a result.
A great case study presentation simply shows the journey from where your customer started to where they went with your help. Sharing that case study with a potential prospect is a powerful way to help them see how their own journey could be similar to your customer’s journey to success.
2. It’s not about you.
Most case studies and customer examples are very focused on the salesperson and the organization offering the services or selling the products. It’s a me-focused presentation. But what we really want to do is focus the case study presentation completely on the customer’s example challenges.
By focusing solely on the customer’s challenges and where they were before you helped them, you can make your case studies truly powerful when you share them in your presentation. Otherwise, if you focus on yourself, even a great case study will come off sounding like a thinly veiled sales pitch. And that’s the last thing any prospect wants to hear.
3. Know their challenges.
This is less about the actual case studies and more about where the case study presentation fits into the sales process. Before you give your case study presentation, you must fully understand your prospect’s challenges in order for the presentation to be effective. The more you understand your prospect’s challenges, the more you can leverage your case studies to demonstrate where the prospect is right now versus where they want to go.
So dig deep to find out: What are the outcomes and goals that your prospect is looking to achieve? Seek to understand what they want to achieve, and what exactly is holding them back from getting there—and why. The more you can understand these aspects of your prospect’s world, the better you can demonstrate that you know exactly how to solve their challenges through the case studies you show.
4. Have an arsenal of case studies.
Case studies are like arrows in your quiver. You never know when you’re going to need one, so having a number of different case studies in your arsenal is to your benefit. Remember, case studies are really just client examples. They’re the stories of existing customers who you’ve already helped. And when you give a case study presentation, you’re simply talking about their journey, from the challenges that they faced, to what you did to help them, to what they ultimately accomplished with your help.
Having an arsenal of these stories will give you the variety you need to pick and choose the best, most relevant case study for each prospect, depending on what they will connect most with. You never know exactly what the prospect’s situation is going to be until you start talking to them. So have an arsenal of case studies at your disposal and pull out the right one when it’s time to present.
5. Get them engaged.
Many salespeople still present in a way that’s very one-sided—like a monologue. But even the presentation phase of the sale should be a true dialogue, a two-way conversation. When giving a case study presentation, you should constantly be bringing the prospect back into the conversation. You might share your case study and then say, “So does that make sense for what you’re going through?” or “Do you see how that might work in your world?” And get the prospect to say, “Yeah, I can see exactly” or “You know, actually, our situation is a little bit different.” And then you say, “Well, tell me how.”
By getting the prospect to engage with your case study presentation, you can turn it into a two-way conversation about the substance of what matters. The more you can get your prospects engaged, the better off you will be.
So there you have it. Now you know 5 keys to a great case study presentation in sales. Which of these case study presentation tips did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
The case study presentation is king! If there’s ever been a piece of outdated, old-school sales advice, it’s this: “You really need to give a features and benefits presentation!”
Have you ever been given this advice? I know I have! Countless sales gurus told me this when I first began selling.
I’d start by explaining a feature of my product, such as “My product is made of titanium.” Then, I’d relate the benefit of that feature, as in “Because it’s titanium, it’s super strong and will last three times longer than the competition while weighing half as much!”
This was a classic feature-benefit presentation—and it will no longer work in today’s marketplace.
If you want to dramatically improve your sales technique today, it’s time to leave this approach in the rearview mirror.
Now, it’s all about the case study presentation.
In this video and article, I’m going to show you exactly how to implement a case study presentation into your selling strategy.
Why It’s Time to Replace Feature and Benefit Selling with a Case Study Presentation
Feature and benefit selling was first developed in 1887—that’s well over 100 years ago!
At the time, it was a revolutionary sales approach. But, unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much since then.
While the feature and benefit approach to selling was effective for many decades—maybe even a century—it’s time to acknowledge that this approach is outdated today.
Prospects have heard feature and benefit presentations from your competitors a thousand times.
They expect you to use this approach, and when you do, it’s perceived as boring and uninspiring.
Why? Because it’s all about you, not them.
Prospects want you to care about what they care about—namely, themselves and their biggest challenges.
A features and benefits presentation tells them that you only care about pushing your product or service and closing a deal.
A case study presentation, on the other hand, invites prospects to be part of a story where—with your help—they can solve their biggest challenges and reach their goals as an organization.
If you want to increase your sales, it’s high time to toss the features and benefits presentation and start using the case study presentation instead.
Read on to discover the must-know keys to any great case study presentation.
6. People want results and stories, not features and benefits.
In case no one’s told you, sitting through a presentation about features and benefits is about as exciting as reading a high school textbook.
It’s dry, it’s impersonal, and it doesn’t engage prospects.
Prospects don’t want to hear the features and benefits of your offering. Instead, the strongest sales presentations show them stories of the results your customers have seen.
Once they can see how you’ve turned things around for other customers, they’ll be more interested in seeing how you can turn things around for them, too.
Case study presentations are designed to share stories that relate to your prospect’s situation. As a result, they’re the best way to show that you truly understand your prospect’s pain.
This also gives you the opportunity to share results you’ve achieved without coming across as salesy.
A case study presentation is basically a fancy way of telling your prospects stories of other clients that you’ve had that were similar to them. If you can master it, you’ll be adding a critical selling skill to your strategy.
It doesn’t have to be complex.
And, as you’ll see in the next tip, it can actually be formulaic and still be relatable to your prospect.
7. Prepare four to six different case studies for different types of presentations.
Not all prospects are exactly alike.
If you’re like most organizations, you probably have a few different types of ideal clients.
Let’s say that you have two really distinct types of clients. That means you should have at least two case studies for each type of client.
In other words, you’ll want to prepare four case studies to use in your case study presentation to get started.
This doesn’t have to be laborious or take that much time.
Instead, just dig into your client list and create a list of your top few success stories.
These should be organizations or people that you really helped accomplish something special.
Look for examples that represent each of your distinct types of clients so that you’ll have a relatable story for any qualified prospect.
By the way, don’t feel like you have to use the company’s name. It’s not a necessity.
Instead, check out the next tip to see what really matters most in your case study presentation.
8. Be sure to really focus on the challenges and results.
The most important part of any case study presentation is the list of challenges that your past clients have faced.
Briefly describe what you did for those clients, and explain the results they accomplished as a result of working with you.
By breaking down each case study this way, you now have a compelling story to tell during your presentation.
Any case study presentation you give shouldn’t need more than two case studies.
All it takes is two case studies to create a powerful flow to lead the prospect through your presentation, and on to a successful close.
Remember, the results you share should be specific.
Give real numbers in your case study presentation, like, “Increased revenue by 24%” or, “Decreased employee turnover by 31%” or, “Increased customer retention by 11%.”
By giving these specific stats in the context of a relatable story, you’ll keep prospects engaged and really drive home the power of the results you’ve achieved.
9. Relate the case studies presentation to your prospect’s situation.
Now that you’ve selected a few customer stories to share in your sales presentation, it’s time to use them in your case study presentation.
The key is to do this in a way that relates them to your prospect’s current situation.
This might sound something like, “George, let me share with you an example of another client that had a similar set of issues to you.
They were dealing with X, Y, and Z. Much like we’re discussing with you, we came in and developed A, B, and C.
As a result of that work, they were able to increase top-line revenues by 12% and profits by 18% in the first year.”
Be sure to use case studies about customers that faced the same challenges your prospect is facing.
69% of buyers said that salespeople could create a positive selling experience by listening to their needs, so start your case study presentation with a thorough discovery conversation where you do more listening than talking.
Once you’ve uncovered your prospect’s biggest challenges, share the case studies that will be most relevant to their experiences.
This will make you look like the knowledgeable expert you are—without boring your prospects with yet another features and benefits presentation.
Close More Sales with a Case Study Presentation
Because a features and benefits presentation feels like a boring monologue, it’s nearly impossible for salespeople to tell if they’re on the same page as their prospects throughout the sales meeting.
You may feel like everything is on the right track, just to get to the end and hear an objection you didn’t see coming.
A case study presentation, on the other hand, keeps you and your prospect in an engaging conversation, which will ultimately lead you to close more sales.
Start by remembering that prospects care more about results and stories than features and benefits.
Case studies are a great way to “show, don’t tell” what you can accomplish.
Second, prepare four to six case studies for your two or three different types of clients.
This is the secret to balancing the comfort of a prepared presentation with the excitement of a customizable conversation.
Third, remember to focus on challenges and results.
If you can’t share the name of a client in your case study, don’t sweat it.
What prospects really care about is how you’ve solved challenges like theirs—so share specific results and don’t worry about the rest.
Finally, remember to relate your case study presentation to your prospect’s situation.
Your offering is likely designed to solve a handful of particular challenges.
Once you discover which challenge a prospect faces, share case studies that will relate most to them.
This is critical to showing what you bring to the table without coming across as salesy.
These four must-know keys are all it takes to replace your outdated features and benefits selling with an engaging and modernized case study presentation.
Now that you’ve seen these sales presentation tips, I want to hear from you.
How have you approached presentations in the past? Be sure to share below in the comments section and join the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.