Published in 1984, Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale gets it right when it comes to the closing power of testimonials. In his book, he describes what he calls the “Testimonials Close.” It’s when salespeople use customer testimonials to help close a sale.
I got excited when I read this book because I realized that a case study, or customer success story, is really an in-depth testimonial. So, everything Zig Ziglar said about testimonials rings true for case studies.
Here is an excerpt from the book with the words “case studies” substituted for “testimonial” and “testimonial letter.” He makes my point better than I can.
To use [case studies] effectively, you must be able to turn to the right one without delay, because in most cases you will use only one or two in any presentation…. As a general rule they are used in the conviction step or to answer an objection.
Example: The prospect might say to you, “I’m really concerned about service.” Your response is, “Mr. Prospect, I can appreciate your concern. Jones Jones at XYZ company initially felt the same way but after he had a service need here is what he said. (Now you show him the [case study] that answers the question or objection.) After he has read it, you continue with your presentation. Example: the prospect might say, “I’m concerned we won’t get the tax break you mentioned.” (Now show him a [case study] that answers his objection.)
You may not have a [case study] which answers all questions or objections, but if you keep working on building your collection of [case studies], eventually you will get one to answer almost any question or objection which might arise. Caution: While it is rare that you can have too many [case studies], I have seen it happen. Replace all [case studies] with better ones and with ones from more credible prospects as time goes on. If you have as many as 50 [case studies], that isn’t too many if you know them and can really turn to the right ones. Have them filed and some semblance of order – by industry, or location, or alphabetically, or by type of question/objection, etc.
I believe a [case study] can be used effectively in almost every presentation or demonstration – to answer a question or objection, to get in to see the prospect, or as credibility when things are going well or not so well in the interview.…
The uses are unlimited, but the realities of using them I like anything else. Additional effort is required to get them, learn them, highlight them, organize them, and use them effectively as an additional sales tool. Please be assured that the results and rewards are worth the effort – and then some.