There’s no better weapon to convince prospective clients to work with you than a video case study.
Seeing your existing customers describe what it was like to work with you in their own words—on camera—is incredibly powerful.
However, getting customers to agree to participate in video testimonials and case studies isn’t always easy.
They may feel uncomfortable on camera, or they may not have the time.
They may begrudge the effort it will take to dress appropriately and show up looking their best.
Given these obstacles, HOW and WHEN you make the ask is critically important.
Here’s a peek into how we coach our clients to ask for a video case study in a pitch to their customers.
Map out the ask
Before you get your customer on the phone or send them an email, you need to map out what you’re going to say.
Try to anticipate their objections to being part of a video testimonial and prepare the most relevant benefits you want to highlight.
Be sure to:
- Establish benefits/overcome objections
- Share why you’re writing the case study
- Keep the pitch short
- Give a deadline.
So, for example, your pitch might look like this:
“We’re so excited that you’ve [achieved a result] with our [product/service]. We want to showcase the good stuff you’re doing—to show people what you’ve accomplished in your space. We’d love to schedule a time to interview you for a short video testimonial.
You will always have the final say. Nothing will be published without your approval. All we need is 30 minutes of your time. And we’ll make sure you look like a rock star.
We’d like to get this video testimonial complete by the end of next month. Can we count you in?”
Have the details ready
Naturally, your customer will have questions about participating.
Have the most important details ready (such as timing and equipment) so the customer can make an informed decision.
However, while it’s important to have these details available, do NOT include them in your initial ask. They’ll only overwhelm the customer and raise even more questions.
So keep your initial ask clean—and save the details for when the customer expresses interest.
Choose your timing wisely
The timing of WHEN to ask a customer for a video testimonial is tricky.
Obviously, you should wait until your relationship with the customer is well established. You don’t want to scare new customers by asking them to participate in a video case study on day one.
You don’t want to scare new customers by asking them to participate in a video case study on day one.
At the same time, you don’t want to wait until the experience of working together no longer feels fresh.
And clearly, you don’t want to ask if you’re currently going through a challenging time with the customer.
One rule of thumb is to ask for a video case study at the moment a customer gives you positive feedback. This approach has a grain of truth—because of course you want to ask at a point in time when the customer is happy.
But waiting to receive this type of feedback before making an ask isn’t a very systematic or strategic way of doing things.
The BEST time to ask is at or after the “attribution” point in the customer journey.
The attribution point is that point in time where the customer has had sufficient time to weigh up the results of your work.
For a home contractor, for example, the attribution point is when the customer has lived with their kitchen renovation for 30 days. They’ve moved past first impressions of the space and can now speak to the beauty and functionality of their new kitchen and the positive impact it’s having on their daily lives.
For a SaaS company, the attribution point might be a full nine to 12 months after solution implementation, when it can compare current results to the previous time period.
Customers will deny requests to participate in video case studies if they haven’t reached the attribution point yet. They’ll feel like they’re still ramping up and/or haven’t fully implemented all parts of the solution yet.
You need to give customers enough time to progress naturally through the before/during/after stages of their story and let them soak in the results of your offering and the experience of working with you.
You need to give customers enough time to soak in the results of your offering.
Combine this approach with a systemized feedback solicitation loop (where you routinely send clients a short feedback survey every quarter or so), and you can strike with your ask when enough time has passed that the client can speak to the relationship and results AND they continue to rate you highly. (On the Net Promoter Score scale, you’re looking for a “9 – likely to recommend”).
Put these two factors together, and you’ve timed your ask perfectly.
Ask over email, not phone
Opinion is divided on whether it’s better to make the ask over email or phone.
Some advocate for the phone, arguing that it’s harder for customers to decline your request when you put it to them live.
However, pressuring customers into saying “yes” isn’t a good strategy. They’ll resent it, and you won’t be happy with your final product.
That’s why making the pitch by email is often preferable. It gives customers the time to consider and float the idea within the company.
Then, when they say “yes,” they’ll be all in.
Offering an incentive to participate in a video case study may (or may not) be appropriate.
Incentives could be in the form of a reduced fee for a future project or an expanded level of service. If you go this route, make sure the agreement is contractually binding. You don’t want to offer incentives and then get nothing in return.
The benefit of this kind of arrangement is that it shows your customer you have skin in the game. You want a good case study, and you’ll work hard to get it.
HOWEVER, offering monetary-based incentives can also backfire.
For starters, the customer may worry that they won’t have results worth sharing. It puts them under pressure.
Further, you might accidentally kick off a round of negotiations about how big the incentive should be—opening a can of worms.
Things can get complicated quickly. The relationship could go south or legal might back out.
And the whole situation can quickly sour a good relationship.
Usually, it’s best to save incentives for contract renewals (instead of new contracts) where you have a standing relationship and foundation of trust.
Alternatively, offering “soft” incentives may be a better choice, such as shipping equipment to the customer that they can use for the shoot and keep (such as a ring light or microphone).
Sending a gift card as a thank you is a nice touch that can facilitate a customer participating in additional case studies down the road.
Build the ask into your onboarding and check-in process
Above, we talked about how you shouldn’t ask new clients to participate in a video case study too early in the relationship.
While this is true, there is a caveat.
Getting client buy-in for customer video case studies is WAY easier if you build it into your onboarding.
Whenever you think a new customer might be a good candidate down the road, bake a video case study clause into your initial agreement. This will save you from having to pitch the idea to the customer later.
Use the clause as an opportunity to cinch their buy-in and assuage their fears. Make clear that they will have a chance to review and approve the video before you share it.
Of course, some customers will ask for this clause to be removed, and that’s fine.
Even if they do, you’ve planted the seed—and they’ll be more likely to say yes when you revisit the topic later in the relationship.
If you’ve already completed one or more video case studies, sharing them with customers can help convince them to participate.
Seeing video case studies in action—and seeing how you’ve made your other customers look great—can help assuage their fears and show that this is an opportunity to feature THEM and THEIR success.
Seeing video case studies in action can demonstrate to customers that this is an opportunity to feature THEM and THEIR success.
Build on the back of existing buy-in
You may have already built in requests for other types of social proof into your onboarding process, such as providing written testimonials.
In those cases, you can piggyback your video case study ask onto that process.
So if you already have a contract clause for case studies, for example, you can add some additional language to include video case studies.
Don’t stop at “no”
Even when you make the perfect pitch, some customers will still decline to participate.
That’s okay. “No” now doesn’t necessarily mean “no” forever.
“No” now doesn’t necessarily mean “no” forever.
Sometimes customers just need more time to get comfortable with you. Or maybe the timing just isn’t right for them at the moment.
Rather than giving up, try asking for something that’s a lower commitment, such as a written testimonial or case study.
Once they’ve provided something in writing, committing the same sentiments to video may seem less daunting.
Keep checking in and asking in a non-pressured way at different milestones and checkpoints in your relationship.
And if you’re not sure why they’re saying no, it’s okay to ask!
Every great video case study starts with a simple question
All of this preparation to pose a simple question to your customers may seem like overkill.
But getting the ask right—and getting an enthusiastic “yes!” in response—will make the effort well worth it.
Because at the end of this process, you’ll walk away with THE most valuable and flexible asset you can have in your sales and marketing arsenal: the video case study.
Need expert guidance in getting an enthusiastic “yes” to your video case study ask?
Contact us to start the conversation.