Poof! You’re a used car salesperson.

Don’t worry; this will just take a minute, and then I’ll turn you back into an amazing training and development professional.

Now that you’re selling cars, ask yourself one question: Would you ever sell someone a car that didn’t work? Before you started your pitch, wouldn’t you at least want to know, and have some proof for your customer, that the car worked? What if they asked you directly if the car worked and you said, “I don’t know”? How many cars would you be able to sell? How hard would your job be? How many people would want to buy a car from you without some sort of test drive, evidence or assurance that they could at least drive the car off the lot? If you did sell a few lemons, how confident, satisfied and fulfilled would you feel at your job?

Now, let’s make your job a little easier: Imagine that in all the rows upon rows of gas-guzzling clunkers on the lot, you have one shining gem of a sweet ride that you’re really proud of. It looks great, and it’s technologically advanced, quiet and smooth on the road. It gets great mileage, and it will get the driver from point A to point B with comfort, speed and efficiency.

How easy would it be to pitch this beauty? How much easier would your job be if you could prove right off the bat to all your customers that the car you are selling them works and is worth every penny? Don’t you wish all your cars were like this one? Imagine how much better you would feel, and how much more you would be able to sell, compared to all the other poor salespeople out there who still didn’t know if their cars worked.

Poof! You’re a training professional again. Get out of that hot, cheap suit, and make yourself comfortable.

Here’s another question for you: Would you ever sell, push or encourage a training program that you thought might not work? Would you ever expect to sell a training experience without giving your customers a “test drive” to prove it worked? Wouldn’t you at least want to show them how it worked recently for other customers? Imagine if they asked you whether it worked and you said, “I don’t know.”

Just like cars on a lot, no matter how polished the outside is, and no matter how plush the inside is, if you can’t show them how it works, and you can’t show them how it can take them from point A (the training experience) to point B (the bottom-line business impact), then your marketing and sales will always be at a crippling disadvantage.

Herein lies the power of a good case study. One good case study can give you the confidence and, more importantly, the hard evidence you need to make every pitch, every meeting and every promotion of your training company a hundred times more effective. Most importantly, it gives you an impressive and undeniable edge over your competition, who probably don’t have any evidence that their training works. If you’re looking to differentiate your training, case studies are the way to do it!

Whether you’re an internal leadership and development (L&D) group looking for increased sponsorship, budget and a seat at the C-suite table, or an external training organization looking to increase sales, it all comes down to whether you can show that your training is worth the investment — which might come down to one smart, sound and credible case study. With the right timing and participants, you might even be able to finish one in a month or two. A little time and resources up front to measure your training could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars returned. How’s that for an ROI?

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and sell those cars!

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