Great stories are becoming harder to find. A lot of marketing coaches tell you to focus on statistics. Others believe you need to get the features in front of the customer. Still other sales professionals think that it's all about their products. Get the facts out there and how could the customer not buy them?
Seth Godin has a great post on How to tell a great story. Some of my favorites from his post are:
- Great stories make a promise. They promise fun, safety or a shortcut. The promise needs to be bold and audacious. It’s either exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.
- Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left.
- Great stories are subtle. Surprisingly, the fewer details a marketer spells out, the more powerful the story becomes.
- Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses.
- Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.
Emotion plays a huge part in a sale - especially for a high-ticket complex sale. The idea of storytelling takes me back to the persona, which I've posted about before.(Marketing 2.0 and Intention, How Tribal is Your Website?) If you've done the work to determine who your customers are and what makes them tick, then you should be able to make a pretty good guess as to what might interest and engage them.
Once you've got that, look at the values your product/service delivers and create a bold and audacious story of your own. Look at customer success stories. No, really look at them. What was the project's effect on the people at the client company? How can you evoke that feeling with the story you're telling?
Once you've engaged the prospect, what other interactions can deliver on and extend that feeling? Make sure to keep any follow-on interaction consistent with the story. As you enroll prospects by creating trust through consistency and a great story, take a close look at what you learn from their reactions.
What impact is your storytelling having? What's the boldest story you can tell and still keep it subtle?