Discover the Power of Storytelling
photo by Ian Hayhurst
I bet you’re really good at what you do. You add a lot of value to the right kind of customers…probably way more value than you charge for (if you’re like most business owners I know). You know your industry, your product and service inside and out. In fact you could go into painful detail on how the work gets done…which actually might be part of the problem!
Which would you rather hear – a litany of facts and figures, features and benefits…or an engaging story that illustrates a problem, an approach and a solution (a happy ending!)? It sounds like a pretty obvious choice, but look around at how most businesses present themselves from a marketing perspective. The ones who don’t know any better talk way too much about themselves and about all the cool features they offer. The smarter ones focus on benefits and outcomes, but even that can be pretty dry and unremarkable over time.
Maybe it’s time to think about telling some stories about your clients.
I had a great chance to hear my friend John Stevenson from Client Kudos talk this afternoon about the power of stories in business – which is what he does for his clients. Story telling is an art and a science…and it just may be the missing component from your marketing mix.
Interesting – Stories (done right) are always going to be more interesting than just facts and figures. Sure you may need those details to help close a sale…you don’t want to leave them out, but in terms of painting the picture of why someone needs your product or service, a story is going to be way more compelling.
Relatable – Stories let people relate. By telling a story about your best clients, you will inherently attract other potential clients who are like your best clients. I’m much more likely to pay attention to a story about someone like me then just a random person who I don’t have anything in common with.
Engaging – People get into stories, the format ties directly into how people communicate – check out this great article from Psychology Today on the Power of Storytelling.
“Stories are how we are wired. Stories take place in the imagination. To the human brain, imagined experiences are processed the same as real experiences. Stories create genuine emotions, presence (the sense of being somewhere), and behavioral responses.”
The real power of stories, especially for business, is the ability to create genuine emotions…people buy on emotions…and if you’re not stirring up some kind of response you’re going to have a tough sale!
Memorable – Finally stories are memorable. Because they stir up emotions, because they’re packaged in a logical orderly way, people will remember your stories. And because they remember, your chances of being top of mind when they’re ready to buy goes up immensely!
Are you telling stories in your business? The odds are good that even if you are, you could stand to tell a few more. You could go out and interview your best customers to get a moving story, but there’s clearly a benefit to having a 3rd party have those conversations for you (clients are more likely to open up to someone else) and to have a trained writer and designer to pull together a compelling final product. It’s a difficult thing to do well, but a well crafted success story is really effective and can be used in lots of different ways.
If you’re looking to add some punch to your marketing – I strongly recommend meeting John so you can hear his story (I’m happy to introduce you or can reach him via his website).
What stories could your clients tell? Share your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to hear them.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach