Have you ever wondered why some people just have that gift for engaging their clients more than others? Why do we hang on every word of the charismatic and the gregarious? Often these people are super confident and have a unique charm that is very difficult to bottle, but fundamental to the substance of what all these wonderful people provide us with is the one thing every human being is excited by in communication – stories.
Think about it – all the things we love in the entertainment world has a good story at the core. The blockbuster film, the best-selling book, the evocative play and the hilarious joke. When we were children we sat in silence and in awe as our parents read our favourite stories for the umpteenth time till our failing eyes could not keep us awake anymore.
We all have an innate thirst for stories just as much as we have thirst for good food and wine. And just like a good meal can turn your prospective clients head – so can a clever little story.
Clever and astute marketers and sales people will always use stories in promotions and pitching because as well as enhancing social interpersonal skills, stories alter brain chemistry and consequently make listeners more open to ideas from the story teller. Studies by a team in America have shown that the release of the chemical oxytocin makes us more trusting, empathetic and open to others.
Brands today are well aware of how stories can introduce an emotional context to their promotion campaign and steer prospective buyers away from a purely logical and factual front and present a softer friendlier side to the brand. In turn marketing departments are likely to employ a brand creative content director in their promotional teams.
So what are the essential corner stones for creating stories in marketing and selling?
Honesty and consistency
With all good stories you need an element of creativeness. But be careful – you want the story to remain true and consistent with the brand products and services. If your brand stories are inconsistent they are likely to confuse your leads and turn them away. Keep them true to the brand message and transparent.
Create personalities your buyer can relate to
Every good story has easily identifiable and dynamic personalities that the listener can feel for. And your prospective buyers will be able to relate to them if they are a reflection of their own characters or an extension of the writer’s. In this case, a charismatic character brings life to the brand – it becomes a personality that the buyer can relate to. In advertising terms this is called borrowed interest.
Characters your clients will care for
In the same way, the stories and personalities that represent your brand must be couched in reality. The stories need to be able to evoke emotion and the prospective buyer or client must want to care what happens to them. In the same way they are interacting with the brand.
A middle, a beginning and an end
You need a strong opening which will engage your listener. The middle part of your story should develop your characters and set up the main character’s problem. The end part of your story will be the resolution of the problem which either overtly or covertly, directly or indirectly includes the brand product or services.
Page turners always sell
It’s the page turners that make the best seller lists. These are the kind of stories which keep the reader guessing all the time. In order to keep your audience engaged you need to make your stories far from obvious with twists and turns and not just a vehicle that puts your product on a pedestal.
Think story – and your sales and marketing figures are likely to be happy ever after…
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