How to Establish Credibility Through Storytelling

06/10/2016 12:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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People are not robots. As such, loose, floating data without any kind of context or framework means very little to them. In the case of human beings, the best way to give them context is to build a narrative and tell them a story.

People can relate to stories in a way that they just can't relate to random information. In fact not only will they be more inclined to understand what you're saying, they will remember what you had to say much more easily. According to research, storytelling affects more areas of the brain than just raw data. Keeping this in mind can help immensely to turn your prospects into customers.
 

How Storytelling Establishes Credibility

 
Another benefit is that storytelling establishes credibility. When you tell your prospects stories about how you have helped others, it makes them more comfortable with buying from you.

David Keeton, a well-seasoned entrepreneur and the founder of DC Keeton Home Improvements puts it this way:

"People don't just want to hear a good sales pitch. They want to know that you can provide the benefits that you've promised. Describing how you have helped people just like them helps you lower their guard."

It's true. People want proof of what you can do. Storytelling establishes credibility and is a perfect way to provide proof in a way that they can relate to.

How do you construct a good story, though? Storytelling doesn't come naturally to everyone, does it?

Fortunately, you don't have to be Stephen King to tell great stories. If you follow the tips given in this post, you will see how storytelling establishes credibility and be able to tell stories like a boss!

In order to get a better concept of what you should go for, though, let's examine the structure of a story in the same way an author might:
 

The Cast

 
Who are the characters that will make up the story you will tell your prospect? Is the story you are telling just about you and a past prospective customer? For example, if you are attempting to sell an item, what sort of story can you tell about what it was like for your main character -- the former customer -- once he had it in his possession?
 

What Was the Issue?

 
Every story has a central conflict. Your customer's situation is no different. What is the main problem that needs to be solved? What is the drama of the situation? What caused your customer to seek a solution? Why was it so hard to deal with that she broke down and decided she needed to buy a product or service?

Talk about what he might have been feeling -- the anger and frustration of not having what he wanted. You want to effectively communicate the previous customer's pain points. Especially if they're similar to what your current prospect is going through.
 

How Did You Solve the Problem?

 
Talk about how you solved the problem. Show from point A to point B how you made one of your customer's lives better, and how you can do this for your audience as well.

You don't have to give every single detail. Just the important parts. Help them to step into the shoes of your past customer in order to imagine themselves solving similar problems in their own lives using your services.
 

The Ending

 
No story is complete without an ending. In fact, this is the most important part! Right after a climactic solution, you need to highlight the "falling action" of the ultimate resolution. Focus on how everyone feels once the solution is reached. Hopefully, you are conveying feelings of relief, freedom from frustration, and a sense that your past customer can go on with his life happily.
 

Conclusion

 
As you probably know,, facts and figures mean almost nothing to people if they are not personalized. You may know and care about the technical details of what you have to offer, but ultimately, your customers only want their problems to be solved, so it's a good idea to convey to them stories of how you've solved problems in the past instead of overwhelming them with data that will be difficult for them to parse.

Do you have additional ideas on ways storytelling establishes credibility and trust? Share below!


Originally published on Small Business Trends

 

 

Jeff Charles is the founder of Artisan Owl Media, an Austin-based content marketing and sales consulting firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs earn more clients and multiply their sales by becoming better salespeople. He also the host of the Entrepreneurial Sales Mastery Podcast which provides actionable sales tips to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and anyone else who wants to learn how to sell the right way.