Borrow This B2B Document Format To Help Your IBOToolbox Selling
In the course of human events and business evolution it’s not unusual for something to be successfully imported from one field of endeavor to another field that seems completely different. When paralleling the modern case study B2B document with some of the situations that home based business entrepreneurs encounter, there are definitely some uses for the case study format.
First of all, what is a case study?
A case study is a very commonly used B2B document, usually 2 page to 4 pages in length. It tells a success story about a company or individual who had a problem, looked for a solution, found that solution, implemented it, and achieved certain satisfactory results.
Put more objectively, that sequence would read thusly:
Challenge and Problems
Search and Solution
Companies use case studies in their marketing efforts for the simple reason that people like success stories. Companies have found that case studies, if written properly, transcend the normal Saleman/Prospect adversarial relationship and are well received by prospects who are eager to learn how others are solving the same problem they have. Case studies, if written well, read like an interesting story and are not generally perceived by the reader (i.e. the prospect) as a sales pitch.
One of the reasons case studies are so effective among consumers is because they work on consumer emotions while throwing in just enough facts to satisfy the prospect’s intellect and justify the emotional decision the prospect really wants to make. Consumers are very interested in reading stories about people who had the same problem they are having now. Customers really want solutions….not problems.
Even though the products and/or services written about in case studies may be different, the format generally remains the same or similar. It always describes the customer's problem, the solution he/she found, and the results he/she got.
So, think about how often you, as a home-based business owner or solopreneur, are called upon (or have the opportunity) to tell your story or the story of one of your team members or the story of your product or company?
It probably happens a lot, right?
People generally don’t like a ‘hard-sell’ (at least if they perceive that’s what’s happening)… but they do like to discover solutions on their own. And they also love success stories. So, if you can learn to tell a success story that suits your marketing purposes, everybody wins, right?
The point here is the parallel between the case study format in the B2B environment and how you might use it in your home-based business activities. This format is proven to work in B2B selling and it can be easily adaptable to a variety of the kinds of situations you encounter as you build your business (not to mention the obvious adaption in telling people how good your product/service is).
You can use this sequential, narrative, story-telling style to sell yourself, your company, your company’s product, your company’s opportunity, and (perhaps most importantly) success stories which prove that your opportunity is realistic.
The primary reason that this format is great for telling success stories of you and your team members is because the biggest question that’s going through people’s mind as you talk to them is (“Does this stuff really work?” and “Can I really do this?”).
Tell the right story…the right way… and you’ll open up your prospects mind followed by their checkbook and/or their distributor application.
Like most things, getting started is the most difficult of the actual encounter between you and a prospect. So, how might you start off a story talking about the success of one of your associates with your company?
You might start off by saying, “Imagine this…. a single mom… two kids, she works very hard in XYZ company.. At first she thinks she might succeed and really be financially successful but after a few years she realizes that…….”
What you’ve just done is describe ‘The Customer’… just like a case study does when the writer describes the ‘customer’ (i.e.of his client company). And of course, at this point the person you’re talking to might never suspect that the person you’re describing is you…or your immediate upline who just went full-time in your home-based business.
Then you would elaborate on the discontent this person felt. In traditional MLM training there is something somewhat similar called the ‘Feel – Felt – Found’ method, right?
So now you (e.g. the IBOToolbox associate) have finished painting a mental picture (i.e. telling the story) of The Challenge. Now you go on to describe… The Solution. In B2B writing that would be the company which commissioned the case study (if you’re a case study writer…it’s the company which is paying you). In your case the solution is you and/or the company, product, or opportunity you represent.
Next comes the description of the implementation of the solution/product/service. For IBOToolbox, that part of the presentation might say something like, “The very first thing Judy did after she joined online (for free) was to fill out her profile…and you know what? She was amazed at how many people in our community almost immediately reached out and congratulated her on the good decision she had made in joining our family!”
Note: what you’re doing here is displacing the vision of failure that most people have in their minds when they do anything new… with a vision of reassurance and community support (which is rather rare in the traditional job environment, right?).
Last but not least, you hopefully have some positive ‘metrics’, i.e. concrete examples of positive outcomes to the decision you are encouraging this person to make. You might say something like, “After Bill started using our products it wasn’t but just a few days before he actually began to experience the increased energy that he said he wanted. And when that happened, he became much more positive about sharing our products with some friends he knew who had the same problem that he had just solved.”
Or, even more relevant to what today’s opportunity seekers in the Direct Selling and MLM industry are looking for, you can talk about financial success. Be sure and tell the truth of course!.
Many people who work hard and treat their home-based business with the respect it deserves actually do experience financial success…keeping in mind that somebody making an extra $300 @ month working part-time in a home-based business are actually way ahead of the game financially compared to most of their co-workers ‘back at the office’.
So, that’s it. This format works and it’s very easy to remember and adapt to almost anything you might be selling whether it be something in your regular job, a product or service in your home-based business, or perhaps selling your opportunity itself.
Once again…remember: (1) Customer, (2) Challenge, (3) Solution, and (4) Results.
That’s all there is to it.
Use it…you’ll find that it works.
Case Study Writer and Markethive Contributor