How to use case studies to create compelling print sales pitches (why your customers will find it hard to say no to your multi-channel offerings)

Posted by Matthew Parker

Do you like watching detective shows?  Or reading crime novels?  It is fascinating how the detective puts together clue after clue.  And at the end they have the proof that catches the criminal.

Printers should think like detectives too

Printers need to act like detectives: they need to offer convincing evidence when selling multi-channel print. That means using the right case studies

However, this sort of sale is much more complicated.

Printers need to provide evidence.  They need to show proof.

Printers need case studies

Printers who use case studies will create partnerships more quickly with prospects.  Case studies enable them to control the sales process more effectively.  And that means that they have a better chance of achieving their sales targets.

Printers who don’t use case studies will struggle to achieve sales targets as easily.  This is because they won’t be able to create the same partnerships with prospects.  And they won’t have the same control over their sales process.

If you want more control over the sales process you need to start using case studies.  But you also need to start using the right sort of case studies.  Here are three elements that every case study should contain.

1)     The case study should be of an actual job

Some case studies that I have seen have been based on theory.  And a client won’t engage with theory.  Theory is close to being just a sales pitch.  But the client can relate to a live job.  And it is even better if the live job is in the same market sector as the client.

With a live job the client can see how another actual company worked.  They can see how the company overcame the same issues as the prospect faces.  And that can be very powerful.

However, being able to visualise a live job is not enough.  The prospect also needs to see results.

2)    The case study should show a clear ROI

ROI means return on investment.  A good case study will show how the investment in a print or multi-channel campaign was turned into actual profit.  And the prospect can see how they can turn their mailing spend into profit.

Many case studies don’t talk about profit.  They talk about sign ups, open rates and uplift.  That’s not enough.  To get a prospect to move forward you need to talk money.

But some case studies show these figures and are still not convincing.  And that’s because they’ve missed the third element.

3)    The case study should have a control mechanism

Most case studies show a complete change in how a client carried out a campaign.  Maybe they moved from a standard mailing to a personalised mailing.  And the results look excellent.  But there will still be a nagging doubt at the back of a customer’s mind:  what if something else caused the uplift?  What if it was the offer or the copywriting that created a more profitable campaign?

And that’s why case studies need control mechanisms.  Part of the campaign should be sent out by a traditional method.  That means that there is a like for like comparison that proves that the printer can improve the client’s results with their offering.

If a case study has all these three elements it will be very compelling.  However, many printers that I speak to have a big problem.

What happens if you don’t have a case study like this?

It should not be hard for print companies to create a case study.  It should be simple to go to one of your customers and suggest that they run a campaign in the way you suggest.  Naturally, you need to make it risk-free for your client.  You can guarantee that the improved results from the campaign will cover the extra cost.  And, if it doesn’t, you can offer to cover the extra cost of the campaign.

Now the client has nothing to lose.  And you know that you will shortly have a great case study to show other prospects.

When writing the case studies, some people get too carried away.

Don’t forget to focus on what will interest the customer

The customer is unlikely to be interested in too many printing processes at this point.  It is better to focus on the actual mailing itself.  And on how you improved your client’s profits.

So now it’s time for you to get going on your own case study.

Here are three action points to get you on your way

  1. Choose a suitable client
  2.  Ask the client to run a campaign in the way that you would like them to.  And offer to underwrite the success of the campaign
  3. Make sure both you and the client agree a schedule for the campaign

Now you’ll have the proof you need to convince your propsects

And neither you nor the client will have to engage in any hard detective work to create a cast-iron case!
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P.S.  Do you want more strategies on how to sell print more effectively?  Then you should download our free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”.  Do it the next five minutes!

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