Five ways client stories are more powerful than case studies

Case studies tell your clients how great you think you are. Client stories let others do the talking.

The power of endorsement

We all know the power of endorsement for a business.

We Google a new Thai restaurant to see how other people rated the food and service, before deciding to make our own booking.

An Instagram influencer raves about a new clay face mask she loves, so we pop some in our online shopping cart too.

A woman at a networking event tells us her lawyer helped her navigate a complicated contract without making her feel stupid, so we call and make an appointment.

The know, like, trust factor

As business owners, people need to know, like and trust us before they’ll engage.

Rather than shouting from the rooftops about how awesome we are (we saw how far that got Donald Trump), it’s crucial to let others share what they love about our services instead.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

– Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit

Positive social proof is the lifeblood of a business. It’s the theory that people will adopt the beliefs or actions of a group of people they like or trust.

Case studies vs client stories

Case studies usually explain what problem the client was having, and then detail how your solutions and services solved it. They end happily ever after. This is a great technique for showing what your business offers – the ‘Know’ part. But it misses ‘Like’ and ‘Trust’. Client stories, by contrast, build up a picture of your client’s experience over time – even before they met you.

You’ll touch on how you were there alongside them at times to offer support and help; but they are the star of the story. They are credited for their own growth and improvement.

Five key differences between a client story and a case study

Here are five key ways a client story and a case study are very different:

Client StoryCase Study
Client is the hero – gives them agencyBusiness is the hero – we swooped in to save the day
Told from the point of view of the clientTold from the point of view of the business
Personal – evokes their fears, challenges, and hopesTechnical – name drops your services, solutions, industry terminology
Captures the essence of what is relatable or universal in this client’s experience and growth journeyExplains how one service worked for one client – there’s no proof that it will work for someone else
Story – can be non-sequential, unfolding to build tension and reach a climaxDidactic – lays out key points in chronological order

A client story also cultivates the ‘halo’ effect. By aligning yourself with the client’s values and mindsets, their brand capital rubs off on you.

Trust takes time

Keep in mind that a prospective client is much more likely to relate to a similar client. They are less likely to see themselves reflected in you, the business owner. It’s not personal. Eventually, they’ll come to like and trust you for who you are and how you serve them.

To tap into the power of the like and trust factors, focus on crafting compelling client stories with universal human and emotional themes your target audience shares.

If you’d like to explore how you can use client stories in your own business, get in touch. Client stories by The Storytelling Business start at $AUD249 and include interviewing your clients.

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