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Episode 142: Consulting Case Studies That Convert—with Anfernee Chansamooth

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. On this podcast, we are going all in on one of the most valuable tools that you can have to sell your consulting services, and you can use it in a whole bunch of different ways. And that is a case study and there is a very precise methodology for creating it. I wanted to bring somebody on who knows exactly what that is and knows exactly what to create, and how to use it to get consulting clients. So I brought on Anfernee Chansamooth from Simple Creative Marketing, and he is an ace at developing case studies. And he's going to take us through the ins and outs of exactly how you do it, how you use it so it serves your business purposes. So let's get started. I want to welcome to my show today Anfernee Chansamooth, welcome to the show.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Glad to be hereDeb. Thanks for the invite.

Deb Zahn: Absolutely. Well, let's start off. Tell my listeners what you do.

Anfernee Chansamooth: All right. So, basically, I help B2B founders and course creators and consultants to get more leads in sales, and I do that by writing articles and copy that build credibility and trust.

Deb Zahn: Wonderful. And certainly everybody needs that. And we're going to dig into case study marketing today because I love, love, love the way that you talk about that, and I know how powerful it can be as a tool for consultants. But for those that don't know what they are or don't know why they would do them, let's start off. Why do they matter? Why would you tell a consultant to do one?

Anfernee Chansamooth: So I know that you're writing a book at the moment and I'm in a similar process so it's a great question. I'm actually pondering the reasoning and the philosophy behind the work that I do, so to give a bit of background I've been in the consulting and coaching and marketing world for over a decade now. And I didn't come from marketing. I didn't go and study marketing at university or anything like that, I actually studied IT and doing web design and these sort of things. And ended up working for American Express for some time in their call center doing consumer credit, and then found my way across to marketing. I won't give you the full story, but let's just say I ended up there around the 2000 was the time I came into this world. And from the time that I actually launched this business that I'm in now, it's my second business. The first one was a massive failure, didn't make any profit for two years. We built a following but learned the hard way and I know you've spoken about this on numerous times on your podcast.

Deb Zahn: Oh, yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: You think you are creating freedom by starting your own business, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And maybe you leave the Big Four if you're in consulting, or maybe you do whatever it is, and you're so used to the routine and the regiment, you’re used to people telling you what to do and your deadlines and all these sort of things, and you take for granted all the work that has to be done to actually bring the money into the company.

Deb Zahn: Exactly.

Anfernee Chansamooth: All right. And we were bringing money in, but I hadn't learned this thing called profit first and so all the money was going back into the business. And this is something that I had been taught was, "Hey, all the money you make you should put it back into the business to grow the business." And here I am sleeping on my auntie's couch going when do I actually make some money?

Deb Zahn: Exactly. Is this wins in my business?

Anfernee Chansamooth: And so one of the biggest lessons I learned from those early days was until you establish trust with potential clients, and a brand, and some kind of reputation for delivering good work, it's going to be very hard yards. It's very hard to convince anyone to buy, to get anyone on a consulting call, or a discovery call, or in any of these things, right? And now as we know with the advent of the internet and people looking at websites and doing Google searches and whatnot, you literally have something like 10 seconds or even less when someone hits your website or a landing page or a core sales page or whatever it is that you're promoting. If they don't trust you within that 10 seconds, they're off, right? They've gone to a competitor, they've gone somewhere else.

One thing that I did when I launched Simple Credit Marketing back in 2015 was to write articles for a lot of our clients. And I did it as a freelance copywriter at first, and then moved on to building a team, but I had this feedback six months later after launching the business. These clients would come back to me and say, "It's been great. You've been building all this wonderful content, it's sitting on our website, but we're not getting sales. We're getting leads. What's going on?" And so then I started to audit their websites and look at their ecosystem beyond the website. What are you doing on social media? What are you doing in your emails? What are you doing when you go up and talk and do presentations? Are you doing presentations? If you've got a podcast, let me listen to some of those things. And then what I ascertained was you're not building enough credibility, there's not enough trust in what you're putting out there. You might have made these mistakes, but I've certainly done it where I put out industry benchmark blog posts and articles about this is what's happening in the industry, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Your prospective buyers don't give a crap. They don't care about that stuff. People in your industry care about it, but if you're putting that, that's what we call parallel content. And if you're putting in that type of content out, it's not going to help you convert, all right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So what I really narrowed down into was, OK, well, how can we do this better for our clients? And the one thing that really stood out in the marketing and sales engine has always been your trust, and how do you do that? You tell stories, and I know you've had Jamie Mareee on here on the podcast previously.

Deb Zahn: Oh yeah, she's great.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And Amy Blaschka as well, and storytelling is just a tremendous skill and powerful element that every business owner and consultant must have, right? So case studies are one way to quickly elicit and demonstrate that you can deliver on your promise, right? It's one way to express what your promise is and say, "OK, here's the transformation that we offer to you if you work with me or our firm, but don't just take my word for it here's the proof." Here is the evidence that we've had 10, 20, I know in your case hundreds of clients come through and being able to produce real tangible results.

Deb Zahn: That's right. And the thing is with consultants even more so since the pandemic hit and the economy changed, there's a lot of them. So what makes you different is your ability to demonstrate those results and to be able to do it quickly. So that they think I don't just need a consultant to come in here and do something, I need this person to come in and do this for me. So I've seen them work absolute wonders. I've also seen really bad versions of them and good versions and everything in between. So before we get into the how you put one together, then how you use it, what does a good one actually look like?

Anfernee Chansamooth: So there's three elements to a great or a compelling in case study. One is that you're giving context. OK? So remember we're telling a story, so therefore you can't just go straight to the end. OK, here's the result, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Certainly you can't skip that part because that's important, but you also want to give the context and paint the picture for people, right? And I usually use the example of the personal trainer on Instagram, so what they will do is do the before and after photos and you've seen them a ton.

Deb Zahn: Oh yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: A ton on TV as well, right? Whenever they're promoting some fitness product it's always like, "Here's what they looked like before, and here's what they look like afterwards." Right? And in that industry it's very easy to take a snap, you do photos before and after. When you're in a consulting world and it's intangible, you don't see the process necessarily. You can still demonstrate the proof, right? So you can still give the context, what was happening with the client before they came in to talk to you and then ask for your advice? What challenges were they going through? What was the scenario? Paint the picture for us, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And so context. Second thing is emotion, right? And this one gets overlooked by a lot of technical people, and this is why case studies I feel are really powerful in the technical world because if you consult, maybe you're an IT consultant, right? And so you know everything you need to know about Microsoft and all the tools and all those things and how to implement them in large scale systems and all of that. And that's my background, but if you cannot convey the emotion of the transformation to your prospective client, you might miss the mark because if you go straight into technical, I start rolling-

Deb Zahn: Yeah, snoozing.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Exactly. It's like, oh my gosh. So you want to really nail, OK, what's the transformation? How did the person... Well, you're dealing with humans so how did the person feel after, before and after the transformation, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And also during. And I know in a recent episode you talked about crafting…was it a cravable consulting experience?

Deb Zahn: Yes.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And in a case study you're doing exactly the same thing. You're making it desirable…the story. You want to paint the picture of the experience that they're going to get if they work with you, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And a case study is a good way to do that. OK, so we talked about empathy and that's what emotion is about. It's actually displaying empathy for the individual, the scenario that they're in, and then the transformation that comes afterwards, right?

Deb Zahn: I love that. So essentially in the first part you said I get you, and the second part you said I care about you.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Yes, 100%.

Deb Zahn: I love that.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And then the third part of this story, I touched on it already, is really being very clear on what the result or the outcome is. All right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: We laughed a little bit about case studies that have not been done well, for me, when I see a case study that's very wishy-washy, and it's like, "Oh, they had a fantastic experience."

Deb Zahn: Right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: What does that mean? What occurred and what transpired? What was the result? What was the goal? Why did they come to you? And I've seen those, and I don't want to put a negative on an entire industry, but I see that more so in the wellness consulting health spaces where it's very, "We did a transformational journey." OK. Fantastic.

Deb Zahn: And we found synergies.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Yes, but what's the tangible metric? That person is not going back to their CEO or whatever in the company or their CFO and saying, "I had a fantastic transformational journey."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And the question's going to be, but how does that impact the bottom line?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: How did it impact certain metrics that we're trying to reach?

Deb Zahn: I've actually seen ones where the results they listed were the results for the consultants that they got another contract to help them, and it just makes me cringe and die a little inside because it's not about you.

Anfernee Chansamooth: That's right.

Deb Zahn: It's about the results that the clients achieve, and you getting another contract sends a negative message of, "Oh, don't worry we're going to latch on forever, and we'll make sure you just keep giving us contracts." Which is a bad rep that consultants get, so love that. And you mentioned the emotion piece, and I know why it's there because I know how humans make decisions, but do you want to say a little bit about why that piece is so important?

Anfernee Chansamooth: Absolutely. And there's a really great book if you've not read it, or someone listening to this, Robert Cialdini, I think that's how you say his name, Influence.

Deb Zahn: Yep.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Or the psychology of influence, and he really touches upon that. So this is based on research and research shows that the majority of us purchased not on logic, but on emotion, right? So we use emotion first, and this is why we say things like my gut feel, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Or my gut feel is that I can trust this person or this organization, right? And then once you pass that gut check, then it becomes, OK, now let's rationalize the decision, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Because the CFO wants the rational. That mind is all about how does it check out in the balance and the bank accounts and those sort of things. But you never get there if you don't even pass the “I trust this person” or “I feel they're credible” or “I resonate.” I don't know you've spoken about that too previously, is it's important to jump on a call with someone before you make the purchase decision.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Because you want to feel are they being authentic? Can you relate? Do you drive? Do you speak the same language? And you're not going to match everybody, and not everybody's going to match you and that's OK.

Deb Zahn: That's right, but at least they get to see do they get it? Do they care? And do I trust them enough that this is who I'm going to hand over my wads of cash to? Now, this is one of the things that you do for a living, which I highly respect because it's difficult to do a really good case study. It's difficult to look at yourself objectively, but why would you encourage someone, look, get someone to help you with this? And then we'll get into the how you actually put one together, but why bring in help for this?

Anfernee Chansamooth: So there's two things that typically come up or obstacles that come up when consultants think about doing case studies. One is the voice in the head that says, "Who am I to put myself out in this way?"

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Am I credible? Am I good enough? So these questions come up, right? And these are the same questions that cause someone to devalue their work, all right?

Deb Zahn: Yep.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And the voice that's telling you I shouldn't ask for that extra $1,000 or $10,000 is the same voice saying, I shouldn't put this case study out.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Or I shouldn't write it, right?

Deb Zahn: Or I should make it wishy-washy because I'm too afraid to toot my own horn.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Correct. The second one is the level of skill you have in copywriting, in eliciting and asking questions. So a big part of the process, and we'll go through that in a moment, is actually interviewing the client, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And so I've got an ebook, and I've got the questions in there and anyone can go download that, I've had feedback from people when I follow up and I say, "How'd you go, did you follow the process? I've given you the process." And they say, "No." Or they've tried and they didn't get the responses they wanted from the interview, and it's because they haven't done enough in the questioning to really elicit the goal, what I call the goal, right? So within any conversation, even in this one, there's going to need to be one or two really strong nuggets that resonate with the listener. And so when you're doing an interview with someone, especially a customer interview, it comes back are we addressing those two elements we talked about earlier? Are we giving enough of the context?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And to give you an example, it's not enough just to say, "They were a $2 million company. They had 50 staff." OK. That's good. That gives us a persona of who we dealing with, right? What I want to know is who were they also evaluating at the time that they were evaluating you? Why didn't they go with the other people? Why did they choose your company? If they've worked with consultants in the past, where did those consultants fail? Because then that really highlights to you in that case study or the person reading the case study, oh, OK they had similar challenges that we're having right now, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: We've dealt with consultants who couldn't deliver on the promise. We've dealt with consultants who overprice and under delivered, and all these sort of things that come up. And so that's why I feel it's important to work with an external party to produce the case study. And I'll give you one more, the third one I get often is clients tend to be more honest when they're speaking to a third party than to the provider themselves.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, absolutely. And I'll punctuate that with a short story of why this is so important. So this wasn't related to a case study, but this was someone who was looking around for a consultant to hire for different pieces of work that his organization had. And he inevitably hired me and at one point he told me what he did, he said, "Just so you know, I asked about five different people about you, people who you wouldn't even imagine I would ask about you." And he said, "And the same word kept coming up over and over again." And as soon as he said it I thought about, “Oh, they probably heard this.” I thought I knew what that word was, and he said a word that I wouldn't have said in a million years. He used the word humble, which makes my husband laugh.

That's not how I would describe myself, but when I dug in and I asked him about it and he knew me well enough at that point he was going to be honest, is he said, "You always care more about the outcome than you do about yourself. And that's what everybody told me. And that's why you got this job." And if I had just made assumptions about what people think about me, and I didn't have somebody go interview them and find out what are they really saying I would have gotten that completely wrong. I would've said things that I thought were important but weren't what they actually thought were important.

Anfernee Chansamooth: That's such a valuable experience, and it really demonstrates that point around you can't assume what your clients are saying about you and something, and it’s activity that...A bit side bar here, but one activity I encourage my clients to do is actually to also ask questions of the people who don't buy from them, right?

Deb Zahn: Yes.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Because there's something missing in the sales piece, or there's something missing in the marketing that doesn't resonate with the people who say no, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah, absolutely. And an example I think of recently with someone I was working with, is someone didn't buy from them because they thought they were out of their league, and that no one like that would work with them. And her point was, but I work with people like that all the time. I'm like, "Something's coming across that they don't know that you do, and so you want to think about how you're presenting to folks in all of the different ways you're presenting." But I love that. OK. So let's say someone is smart enough, they hired you, you're going to help them develop a case study what are the steps you take?

Anfernee Chansamooth: So I've got a seven-step framework, I call it the seven Ps, and essentially you'll see some elements that have come up previously with previous guests because I've incorporated. So my background is in copywriting and I've incorporated, and also I've done to date...Congratulations on a hundred episodes by the way, Deb.

Deb Zahn: Oh thanks.

Anfernee Chansamooth: I've produced a podcast which has hit over 120 episodes now for a client. I've also done my own. I've done three different podcasts for my own stuff. So I've had a ton of experience of interviewing and essentially incorporated these elements and also learning all about how blogging work and how SEO likes certain things, Google likes certain things to rank, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So let's talk about the framework. So number one, you need a punchy headline, OK? So for any copywriter worth their weight gold will tell you, if you cannot grab someone with the headline they won't read the rest of it, right? And we see this all the time, if you don't like the billboard, if you're driving down the motorway or the highway and the billboard whatever words are on there, or the imagery or the words don't grabbed you, you're not going to grab the phone number or the web address and you're not going to care.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And when I talk about headline, I typically say, try and include a metric, right? So you want to use a metric driven result, and we talked about outcome earlier. OK, so rather than just say they had a fantastic consulting experience with us, or Deb was really awesome, and I've see this a lot with testimonials, and this is why I prefer case studies over testimonials. Because with a simple statement like, "It was amazing working with Deb," that doesn't really tell the person anything. Just a bit about the experience, and they like you wonderful, right? But compare that to something where it says, "OK, I worked with Deb and because of that engagement, we were able to triple our revenue within 90 days."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: I've got one of my clients in the virtual assistant world so for them it's all about time saving, right? So the metric typically is they were able to free up one day or 20 hours a week to focus on sales activities and then the business doubled, right? Or the more now, remember we talked about emotion, a compelling emotional headline is when you combine the metric with the outcome which is a personal outcome, right? So there was an example I liked to use with one of our clients was he's also a consultant and he basically helps people move off Microsoft onto G suite, and then be able to escape the trap of being in the office and actually be able to work remotely.

Deb Zahn: Nice.

Anfernee Chansamooth: That was the whole thing.

Deb Zahn: Nice.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And he was doing this before the pandemic. And so when I interviewed his client, I said, "OK, what happened?" And she talked through the story and said, "OK, I joined his coaching program for 12 months, and we implemented all these tools and report in the VA and all these great things." And I said, "OK, awesome. How much time did that save you? Well, how much did that free up?" And she said, "About 10 hours a week." And I said, "OK. So why is that important to you? What's the impact of that?"

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Then she started crying, and I said, "What's going on?" And she said, "Because I'm able to now delegate this work to my VA, I used to do admin every Saturday, four hours every Saturday and that meant I couldn't be with my three year old son." And I'm getting emotional as she's sharing story, right? And so that experience gave her time with her son back.

Deb Zahn: Love it.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Right. She wanted to be there, like all parents do, wanted to be there to see the child grow, right? And so I went back to my client going, "Dude, this is the impact of your work and I want you to know and feel that because that's why your clients love you. It's not about all the technical stuff and all those things. Those things are cool, this is what it's really about."

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So punchy headline. We're still on number one, so let's move on.

Deb Zahn: No, no, that's all right. Go for it.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Yeah. So the second P is to profile your customer, right? And so here's where we give the client their five seconds of fame, or five minutes of fame, and we highlight what type of business if you're dealing with businesses. What's there? You can put their logo on there, if they have a culture video I like to embed those because they really give some insight into what they're all about and so you're profiling the client. Now this it does two things. One, it gives your client some love and they love that. The second thing, it also actually be comes a great retention tool so that's another one.

Deb Zahn: Oh, heck yeah. No, I started going there with you. I'm like, "Ah, it's brilliant."

Anfernee Chansamooth: And then the other thing that happens is for the reader or the prospect, they can see if it's a match to what they do, right? They can say, "Oh, you've worked with companies like mine."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And therefore, that's one step closer to establishing that trust and credibility, right? Because the common question certainly when I consult and people talk to me, they say have you worked with this type of company before like our company?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: That's always a common question that comes up, right? And I say, "Well, check out this case study." And so then that basically answers the question for them. So step two, profile the customer. Step three, we're going to share a problem statement, and this is where we talk about the challenges and the context. And this is our personal trainer, gym junkie before photo, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: We're painting a picture of when they came to us, or even six months before, or three months before they came to us this is what was happening with the client, right? They were struggling in this way, they tried these two or three things it wasn't working for them. Perhaps they were working with a consultant before, and they had that engagement and just didn't work out for whatever reason, and it's nice to highlight what those reasons were, right? And now we're really sharing the primary problem statement, the main thing that you helped fixed, but also what are the sub problems or challenges they had that's right within that, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Typically, it's not always to solving one problem, one problem unlocks five other problems.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And in your process and in the work that you do, you actually identify and address those things. So problem statement, so that's the third P. The fourth P is process, and this is your methodology. OK? So share your steps, if you have a five step blueprint or whatever it is that you've got share those. This is the journey that we took our client through to get to the outcome, right? And now a common objection or question that comes up here is I don't want to give away the secret sauce, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: I'm worried that my competitors are going to read the case study, they're going to steal our stuff, and steal our clients. And so look, you have to exercise some thinking around this and I'm not saying go and give away the Colonel's nine ingredients to the sauce.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And this is why I say share the methodology, not necessarily the entire process, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: There's things that you want to keep and retain that's your IP, that's fine, but you should be already sharing your methodology somewhere, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So whether it's in your sales collateral, wherever it's on your website so just put that in there, and maybe add some specifics about the client there that the client is happy to share, OK? I should have prefaced this before we started, is any work you do with your client you want your client to sign off on it to say that it's OK to talk about it.

Deb Zahn: Don't worry I was going to end with that, you got to have permission, they got to be happy about it yes. But I like what you're saying because people ask me the same question when you're doing proposals is I can't share all of my secret sauce. And what I say is, they have to read it and believe that that journey will take them where they want to get to. And so you have to tell them enough that they feel like they're not going to be lost in the wilderness if they hire you, and you have to share your differentiators because they could say, "Well, any tour guide could take me there." And then the other thing, and I will just emphasize this, no one can be you. And I'm saying this to my listeners. No one can steal your secret sauce because you are your secret sauce.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Absolutely.

Deb Zahn: So share your methodology, they got to believe you, but don't worry too much about it because no one can steal what makes you rock.

Anfernee Chansamooth: 100%. I love that message, and I resonate 100%. The thing is if you skip this step, if you skip the process, you're really shooting yourself in the foot because now you're not showing yourself as the expert, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: If the only thing that you're doing is sharing the outcome, the final outcome and maybe you give some context, but you don't tell people how you did it, there is the percentage of the population of your prospects who want to know the how.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: In their brain, they're going, "But how did you do that?"

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Because here's the thing, and what we've seen certainly our clients is when they share the how, and even if it's just a methodology and not the entire everything the people who are reading the case studies read through it and go, "There's no way I can do all those steps, or that I even want to." Right? It's, "Wow Deb, I didn't know it took you 10 steps to get to the outcome. I thought it was only these three steps."

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And so this is what the problem when consultants try to copy other consultants, and they see the brand, the big guru and they're going, "I'm just going to go and copy their methodology and implement that in my business."

Deb Zahn: Nope.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And it fails because there's a whole ton of experience and other things that that initial person has done that don't see. Yeah?

Deb Zahn: Yeah. But I got to say one more thing about the how, and then I promise I'll let it go. So just to scare everybody about it, I saw a consultant lose a six-figure contract because they couldn't describe the how in a way that made the client believe it. And I know this because the client told me afterwards, if he had been able to tell me X, Y, and Z, the contract would've been in his hand, but because he couldn't they went to somebody else who wasn't as good as him.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Wow.

Deb Zahn: So that's my trust in what Anf is telling you.

Anfernee Chansamooth: That's painful, but it also shows that you are organized, right? And so if someone is going to work with you, and I'm sure you cover that in your training and in your program as well, what's the difference between an amateur and a pro? A pro will demonstrate that they have all their ducks lined up.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Everything is organized, they have a system in place, and so it reproduces the outcomes, right? When you're starting out you don't have those things, and so the first thing you need to do get those things in place.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Because as a prospective buyer, and I've been in and I'm sure you have been too Deb…in a ton of pitches for different types of things. I've worked with dozens of agencies, and I can tell the difference between those who've done their work and those who haven't. And so for me, those who can demonstrate they've done the work in the preparation stage for me says, OK, they're serious.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And if they've put enough effort to do the work up front, that means when we actually pay the money and sign the deal, they're going to put the work in to execute on the solution.

Deb Zahn: That's exactly right. You're giving them an experience of what it's like to work with you. I love that. Awesome. Keep going, I love all of these.

Anfernee Chansamooth: OK. The fourth P, and so we're going to the fifth P which is payoff. All right. The payoff is to share what was the end result? And this connects directly to the first P, which is a punchy headline, these two are connected, but here we're going to elaborate a bit more. And here is where we really get into the emotional benefits because a headline is short, you might have 100 characters or whatever, right?

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: You don't want it to be too long because Google doesn't like that but also think of the punchy headline as the billboard. And then the payoff section is actually it's the brochure. Now we're getting into the detail, right? What was the result of the engagement? And then what were the emotional benefits? How did it help the individual? If you're dealing with a recruiting manager, if you're dealing with the CFO and also you got to think about the audience that you're writing this for. All right. Because you want this section to speak to the person that you're trying to get to work with you, right?

Deb Zahn: Oh yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So you are writing it in a way that it speaks to the HR person, but they're not the person who's going to be your client. The HR person is going to love it, but then when they pass it to the CFO or the founder or whoever it is who's going to buy your service and they read it and they go, "I don't care about all that culture stuff. I don't care about all those things that happened, what was the financial benefit?"

Deb Zahn: Yeah. That's why you got to know who your ideal client is.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Absolutely.

Deb Zahn: I say it loud and proud every time I get a chance. I love that, that's a really important tip to share with folks.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And even if they are more logical minded, they still have emotions so it's very important to...I have friends who are very if you watch Star Trek, Beta like.

Deb Zahn: Oh yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: The robot type humanoid, but they experience joy, they experience pain, they experience anger, that's who happens. So here we're talking about the payoff, then we move into the sixth P which is praise, and this is where we embed the client testimonial. So in the interview, we actually say, we asked the client, "OK if you were to share your experience with a colleague or a friend and maybe you're sitting at the bar at the pub or at dinner, what would you say to that person about what just happened?" And say it in your words, right? And that's what you want, you want it in their words because as consultants and practitioners what we tend to do is get all into the jargon, and it's very easy for us to jump into all these amazing buzzwords and things that we like to use.

But if your buyer doesn't resonate with that, and your buyer's a human who's just really interested in a real testimonial, this is where we incorporate that. And I saw someone sharing on our Facebook group yesterday, they actually raised this question, they said, "Should I actually copy or transcribe what my client has said and put it into the case study?" And I said, "Absolutely. You want it word for word." Now, you pick and choose you, if they speak for, I don't know a whole paragraph and it's you have a client who likes to talk, you want to just condense it for the story.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: You don't need to put the entire thing and you can just find the part that really resonates to the pain point. What is a pain point? And then go, OK that's what the client said about it. So number six is praise, and the final step or number seven is to propose your next step. And this is what we call in marketing, we call it the call to action. And it's really thinking about what's the next logical step? Someone's just read through its entire story, they've seen the context, they got the emotion, they understand the benefits, they got your process, and they're convinced. They're like, "OK, wow. Yes, I'd like to know more. I'd like to know what the next step is." OK. That's the final, that's the way you close off the case study whether it's book a call or sign up for our free course or whatever it is for you, make sure you include that next step.

Deb Zahn: And I'm laughing because I've seen people miss it, where they got them all the way there and then they didn't tell them what to do because they were too and shy, embarrassed or whatever, and wow, what a missed opportunity.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Oh yeah. Yeah, I've seen that time and time again. All right. So quick recap of the seven Ps; one, punchy headline. Two, profile your customer. Three, problem statement. Number four is process. Five is payoff. Six is share the praise. And then step seven is propose your next step.

Deb Zahn: Love it. Love all of that. So let me ask this, and I know that there's a lot that you can do with a case study, but let's say they're smart enough, they hire you, they got this gorgeous case study that follows exactly what your framework is. Then what? How do you actually use it for the purpose of generating leads and closing deals?

Anfernee Chansamooth: With case studies they fall into...Now, I want to just say that case studies are not the be all and end all of marketing, you cannot build an entire business just on case studies alone.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: OK, so let's make that clear, right? I'm not saying stop your social media, stop doing your speaking gigs and podcasts and things like that, I'm definitely not saying stop meeting with prospective clients, OK?

Deb Zahn: Thank you for saying that.

Anfernee Chansamooth: It's a piece within your marketing mix and also in sales enablement, right? So you talked about proposals and that's the big part of the consulting experience, right? You share a proposal with a prospective client, and so in that proposal, guess what? You embed your case studies, you select the case studies that you've done so let's go through the process. Usually the typical journey we take our clients through is, OK, we've produced the article, and there's two versions. We typically do a video version because we interview on video so we do a Zoom interview, and then we take that video, we add the client's logo, we add in the sounds, or audio, or whatever they want to add to it, some want subtitle, some don't, and then they have an edited video version, right? So then they'll have that.

Then we also produce an article, so a written version which is called a long fall article which is typically around 500 to 700 words, it just depends on the industry. IT type industry tends to be longer, they want to put more data in there so that's fine. But then there's two versions, and then we say, OK, with the videos YouTube, it has to go on a YouTube. You want to embed the video into the article, right? So at the top of the article, if you've got the video, for some people like me I don't necessarily want to read the whole thing, but if I've got the time and I'm really interested I'm going to hit play. I'm going to watch the three minute video, I get the story, I'm happy, then I might dig into the details later.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Now take care the article has to go on your website OK, and some people have said, “Should it go on my website or should it go onto some other site?” Definitely it has to go onto your website. What we've found as a side benefit of doing case studies is when we optimize the article for the client name, right? So whether it's the individual's full name or the business, so if your client is a company, what happens is sometimes we've seen that case study article actually ranks for that particular name.

Deb Zahn: Nice.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So say you've worked with ABC company and someone's searching for ABC company, right? And then your case study comes up on page one and they click through, and they actually now they're learning about that company's experience with you so that actually has SEO benefit.

Deb Zahn: Love it.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So website, now on the website two places on the blog one, right? So you're showing it as an article and the second place is you should have, or I recommend you have a customer success page.

Deb Zahn: Yeah.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So here's where you can put both testimonials and case studies, I advocate doing both. So I want to be also be clear here, I'm not saying don't do testimonials. I think testimonials as you saw in part of the framework, it's one piece of the case study, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And case testimonials are really nice snippets that can be used in different places, right? So social media, you can put it in your email signature, you can put it on your business card, whatever it is that you're doing. Case studies website, so we're talking about website, we're talking about a customer success page. One that people don't really think about is your email signature. So when you're sending your emails around, just put one underneath your logo and your face and all those sort of things, "Read our recent client win, or read how we helped Margaret 10X her business." That's a real good place to put it, so email signature. If you've got out an email welcome sequence, right? So if you're doing the things that Deb recommends and you're setting up lead back nets, or resources that people can download from your site when they opt in, on the thank you page, right? So as soon as they hit submit, and they see the thank you page, guess what? That's a good place to put a case study.

Deb Zahn: Love it.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Right? Because of hey, thanks for opting in for our guide. Hey, why don't you check out these three clients that we helped, right?

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: So that's a good place to put it. And then once they receive the email in their inbox, then you've got to welcome sequence that sends them the, "Hey I'm Arf or I'm Deb, and this is what I do and this is who I help." In that you can link to some case studies.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And then also you can also take the entire story that's been written by our team, or if you're doing it yourself that's fine, take the entire thing that sits on your website and actually copy and paste and put it in an email, and put it in your welcome sequence. You don't have to always send people to your site, put it in your welcome sequence, especially if you are moving people towards booking a call with you, or buying your program, or whatever it is that's a good way to do it. So there are a few ways, another one is for a lot of us who do presentations and we get up on the stage and we talk and we do online summits and these sort of things.

Embed your case studies, mention two or three case studies in your presentation decks. So when you're teaching something about how you do something…I'll give you an example, I did a summit last year for Agorapulse where they wanted me to go in and teach their audience how I used LinkedIn to put on a virtual summit. So I went through the topic was how to use LinkedIn to grow events? Within that I incorporated three case studies, here are three different speakers that I got through LinkedIn, and this is how I got to them, and this is whatever might be. And that's just a proof that you've actually worked with real people and real companies.

Deb Zahn: Yeah, that you're the real deal. One of the things that people tend to flop at after events is they don't actually follow up with people or they follow up and say, "Hey, let me know if you want to chat." Well, give them the full case study. The thing that I mentioned when I talked, here's the full version if you want to see it. What I love that you're saying one is that a case study isn't just sitting on a shelf and you might use it once or twice, but you think about very carefully how to deliberately spread it throughout all of the different things you're doing with marketing to be one of your anchors for trust.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Yes.

Deb Zahn: And it's not that the only one, but one of the things that you keep presenting in a variety of different formats to do it. I love that description of it because I've seen people put it on their website and then never looked at it again.

Anfernee Chansamooth: No, that's a mistake. Well, you definitely have to do it, and I think there's also a lot of us, well, all of us are doing proposals, it has to go into proposal, right?

Deb Zahn: Oh, heck yes.

Anfernee Chansamooth: And you want to select the case study that resonates or matches the prospect, right? So there's no point putting a case study about an IT company if the prospect is a health company.

Deb Zahn: That's right.

Anfernee Chansamooth: You want to have one that resonates with them, and it's better if you have two or three because then now we have the rule three, right? Actually, Cialdini talks about this, our mind we've been socialized or trained to see things in three. So whenever we see things in three, we believe it more than if we only saw one, right? And so that's something to think about too because another question I get is how many case studies should I produce? And I say more the better, and I say that not because it's a quantity over quality thing and they still have to be quality, but you also want to think about, well, do I work with multiple segments as a consultant? If I do, then I want to have at least three case studies for each segment, right? So on your case study page you can let people filter by industry or whatever those segments are, and that's actually going to help them in the buying and research process.

Deb Zahn: Love It. Well, you have packed so much into the time that we've had together. I'm really grateful for it, so this is all fabulous stuff. Where can folks find you if they need your help?

Anfernee Chansamooth: So the best place to go is to my website, which is If you go to, which stands for Craft of Consulting, I've set up a page there where people can go and download, I've got a free PDF guide, and also a free webinar, it's a seven minute training on how to come up with your case study strategy. And there's a worksheet that comes with that as well, so they can go check that out.

Deb Zahn: That's wonderful. And I will have links to all of that on my show notes. So let me ask you the question you know it's coming, which is so when you're doing all of this great stuff in the world how do you bring balance to your life? However it is you define that.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Yeah, I'll be frank, and I've struggled with the whole pandemic on a mental health level, and I've shared this in the supervised business community and it's done my head. I'm someone who needs to be out in the world, at my one point I was doing one talk a week in a collective space with the community out there and for me, it's the way I engage with the world and people. And so one thing that I really savor and has become a benefit of the pandemic is I do daily walks with my wife. And so we go down to the lake here during lunchtime and we just go and just have a nice walk and have a chat, and it's something that I will continue beyond the pandemic. I think that that's something that's been really powerful for us, it's a great relationship builder, and it's also a great just for... In the mornings I also do my own walk where I just get up and I walk before I go grab my coffee. That's just done wonders for me. I also love riding, jumping on a bicycle and going for a bike ride.

Deb Zahn: Oh, nice.

Anfernee Chansamooth: For me, it's getting into the body and being present when you're doing that. I think for us we are so on the tools, everything's on the phones, on the laptops and these things, and I know just trying to focus on that is a lot which is to actually detach from that and give yourself space, and that's where creativity comes. Why does it come in the shower? Why does it come when we're walking? It's because we're not on the tools and busy, our minds aren't busy and we're letting that space come to you. It's so very healing, so for me getting into nature it's why I walk around the bay, that nature heals. We can go into the research, but they literally have in Japan, they've got something called the forest bath.

Deb Zahn: Oh yes.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Where people walk through the forest and they just come out energized, and I've had that experience and did that in Tokyo which is amazing. So that's how I do it, Deb. That's how I find my peace.

Deb Zahn: I love that answer. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. Like I said, you gave generously so much information to folks that are going to find this so valuable. So I thank you so much for coming on.

Anfernee Chansamooth: Thank you so much. And yeah, I'm glad I could add some value here.

Deb Zahn: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the Craft of Consulting Podcast. I want to ask you to do actually three things. If you enjoyed this episode or if you've enjoyed any of my other ones, hit subscribe. I got a lot of other great guests that are coming up and a lot of other great content and I don't want you to miss anything. But the other two things that I'm going to ask you to do is, one is, if you have any comments, so if you have any suggestions or any kind of feedback that will help make this podcast more helpful to more listeners, please include those.

And then the last thing is, again, if you've gotten something out of this, share it, share it with somebody you know who's a consultant or thinking about being a consultant, and make sure that they also have access to all this great content and all the other great content that's going to be coming up.

So as always, you can go and get more wonderful information and tools at Thanks so much. I will talk to you on the next episode. Bye-bye.

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