I love a good story, don't you?
Stories have been used to communicate ideas since the beginning of humanity. They connect us to feelings, experiences, and wisdom that we can all relate to. Our love of stories isn't a secret to anyone, so why are so little business owners using the power of stories to connect to customers and increase sales?
Because they don't know just how powerful they really are.
In a world where millions of business owners scratch and claw each other for the attention of any audience that will listen, your stories are the only things you have to differentiate yourself. And if you don't use them, you risk being lost in the shuffle.
Here's 3 places you can tell your stories to win in business.
Share stories in your about page
In a lot of the businesses I've coached, I see the about area of their site filled with a run of the mill description of who they serve and how they serve them. Don't do this; it's extremely boring. Have a quick, simple and easy description of what your business accomplishes on your home page. The about page on your website or on any printed materials is a prime location to tell your personal story. Share where you came from and how you ended up in the business you are in. Don't spare any details. Really allow yourself to bleed; share the moments when you struggled, when you thought about giving up, or when you flat out failed. This gives potential customers a sense that you are personal, and not just a know at all telling them what to do.
Share stories in your blog posts
In my opinion, at least 90% of your blog posts must have personal stories in them. Here's a personal story for you: I tested this theory on one of my own websites. I wrote 20 articles, 10 of which used personal stories to deliver the message of the article and 10 that simply stated facts and suggestions. All of the articles were decently written, but the results were undeniable. The articles that included story-delivered messages resulted in almost double the views, more than four times the engagement, and about triple the amount of sales. There are simply too many posts out there that share the same information about the same topics in a similar style. Like I said above, your own stories are the only things to separate yourself from the noise. This article is a good example of telling a story to deliver a message.
Share stories in sales presentations
A long time ago, I was a door to door home improvement salesman. It was my first sales job, and I really had no idea how sell anything to anyone. I was still relatively shy and was just starting to make my way out of my shell. As a result, I made a few sales every week to put a little cash in my pocket, but certainly nothing to brag about. Six weeks in to the job, one of the seasoned pro's of the company asked if I'd like to accompany him to a sales appointment. This guy was the top producer; earning something in the mid six figures annually. Normally, no one ever saw him, and we all assumed it was because he was too busy closing people. I was desperate and jumped at the opportunity to learn. We arrived at the house, and without skipping a beat, he hopped out of the car and quickly walked to the front door, leaving me in the dust. "You coming newbie?" he called out. I assumed we would work on a strategy before entering, but I guess there was no time for that. The presentation started off like any other; we did our normal introduction, talked a little about our company; nothing out of the ordinary. And then, I witnessed what separated him from the rest of the sales people.
It seemed as though he had a story for everything. He told stories of happy customers he'd helped in the past, and he was able to whip out a story for every single way he could relate to the customer, whether it be an old city they used to live in, a sports team they enjoy or an event they attended. It seemed as though they were possible long lost relatives. When we got to the point where it was time to try the close, another weird phenomenon happened. This salesman had built such a strong rapport with the customer through his story telling, that the customer almost seemed embarrassed or scared to say no to our deal. Needless to say, the deal was closed. The salesman was even kind enough to give me half the commission (I didn't deserve it; I did nothing).
The moral? People don't want to be sold to. They want to be connected with and helped. Use the ancient art of story telling to do just that.
For more business tips from Jeremy, visit jeremysandow.com