I’m a dude, so it’s easy for me to remember a random sport statistic or an obscure line out of a movie. But in our defense (Do you see what I did there? Now I’m speaking for all dudes so I’m not going at this alone) those stats or lines are tied to a story. The Peter Gabriel song “In Your Eyes” will always bring on an image of Lloyd Dobbler holding his boombox over his head. Why? Because that song became part of the story in the movie “Say Anything”. A song, a stat, a life lesson – all of them “stick” when there is a story involved. That “stickiness” eventually turns into how shareable your story is – and that is where the power of storytelling can really be leveraged. You see, what sells, especially in today’s world, is the stories behind the product or service you are providing.
3 Reasons Why You Should Start Telling Stories As A Sales Tool
They Evoke Emotion
When was last time you cried uncontrollably. I’m not talking about the “dude cry” where there’s a lump in your throat and a single tear running down your cheek when Groot says “WE are Groot.” I’m talking about being overcome with emotion. Mine was at my brother’s rehearsal lunch, the day before he was married.
He had asked me to speak and as I talked about how proud I was of him and how I remembered him as a kid and watched him grow into a man, these emotions started to well up and I found myself crying. I was so befuddled that through my tears I said that “I was his biggest hero” and quickly realized it was the other way around, that he was MY biggest hero. The laughter washed over the tears (mine and the guests).
The point is that when you tell a story, especially one that is close to you, it is never emotionally neutral. Using storytelling as a sales tool attaches emotion to whatever it is you are offering – so now you’re not selling a home or a widget, you’re selling the story and the emotion that comes with it.
They Are Easier To Remember
A friend once told me about a business trip they took to Chicago. They got on an elevator and just as the doors were about to close and enormous man (he almost had to duck his head to get into the elevator) steps in. He said he thought he recognized the guy from somewhere but didn’t know where. My friend stood about 5′ 7″ and he said this guy was at least 6’8″. So to break the silence he made an assumption and asked “Do you play basketball?” Without missing a beat, the man said “No, are you a jockey?” The door opened and the man left my friend in a humbled heap.
I’ll never forget that story and the lesson that comes with it. The same goes for when you use effective storytelling to highlight the benefits your product or service has had for your clients. You see, if you can convey a benefit of your product or service through a story, it is much easier to remember – and be retold.
Stories Are More Likely to Be Shared
I very rarely got sick as a child. In fact, I didn’t miss a day of school until my senior year in high school. But here’s one thing strange about me and it will show how old I am. I got chickenpox… three times. Yes – three times. The first couple times I got it it was very mild, but the third time it seemed like it had been building up in me and finally unleashed its full force. It was like I was sent to this world to give the chickenpox to the rest of kids of the neighborhood and the school – repeatedly.
The internet has given the ability for certain things to have a viral quality. How is a virus spread? It is shared between a few, and then the few becomes many, and then, as Malcom Gladwell coined it, it tips.
Exponential or virus growth is the dream of any brand or product. The fear of missing out on something takes over and then before you know it, you’re waiting outside of an Apple store for a phone while the phone in your pocket works just fine.
But unfortunately not all of us are sitting on the marketing machine that Apple is. That being said, we have stories about why we do what we do, how we have helped others, and what we hope to do with the influence we are bestowed with. Be generous and authentic with your story and those you help can’t help but tell others about you.
What is your story? What is the story of your brand or product? What is the story of your first client? Your most recent client? Share it in the comment section below.