«Return to Blog List The 3 Can’t-Miss Pieces of Any Consulting Case Study


In the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the group finally arrive at Oz only to learn that the great Wizard is only a man running controls behind a curtain. It’s not any sort of magic afterall.

When companies sell consulting services, there’s a similar dynamic; they promise lots of great end results but really, what’s going on behind the curtain? What do they do that’s different from the rest?

Buyers need to understand how a consultant brings about specific results and what sets that one apart from others.

What goes on behind-the-scenes and what was the experience like?

And when everyone is making the same promises, how do buyers decide on one firm over another?

Customer case studies – featuring engagements with real customers – help set consultants apart from the competition, but ONLY IF they contain certain messages.

The goal is to give buyers insight into what they might experience in working with a particular consultant.

Let’s look at three critical pieces of any consulting case study:

1. Expertise
Not all consultants are created equally.

What does the consultant bring in terms of knowledge, skills and experience that will create a better outcome for the customer?

You’ll want to touch on expertise at different points in the story. For instance, you might mention the specific expertise that led the buyer to choose this consultant over another, and then later, how that expertise came into play during the consulting engagement.

2. Approach
Most consultants approach engagements a bit differently. You’ll want to highlight the unique approach that the consultant takes in working with a specific customer.

How specifically did the consultant scope out the customer’s needs, and then deliver services? How long was the engagement and who all was involved?

3. The Outcome
Also essential, show the specific outcomes of working with the consultant – in as detailed a manner as possible.

If a business is evaluating one consultant over another, strong specific results will inevitably tip the buyer toward that consultant versus one without strong results. Consulting engagements are an investment, and buyers need to see how the investment will pay off.

Ultimately, buyers need to understand what’s going on behind-the-scenes so they can picture themselves working with a consultant – and feel confident in the buying decision.

What has worked for you in consulting case studies?

4 Responses to The 3 Can’t-Miss Pieces of Any Consulting Case Study

  1. Karen Marley says:

    As usual, very well said. In addition to highlighting the client’s perspective, a case study is also where a company’s personality can really come through.

    I really enjoy your articles!

  2. Casey Hibbard says:

    Thanks Karen! Good point about the company’s personality. It matters to buyers what it’s like to work with them – easygoing, flexible, etc.

  3. GL Hoffman says:

    Casey–I just found your site after trying to be an evangelist on the importance of story telling, in every area of business…from a startup to job search.
    Keep up the great ideas.

    founder, LINKUP.com
    any reader who emails me I will send a free copy (pdf) of STARTUP, 100 Tips To Get Your Business Going.

  4. Many consultants lapse from time to time into ‘lecturing’ rather than eliciting the points of need from the customer, and thus find points in which the consultant can bring value to the customer. Thanks for the reminder of the joys of this business.