Stories are extremely powerful. They can be both informative and persuasive, while being entertaining. And they’re engaging—neuroscientists have discovered that our brains are hard-wired for stories. (That’s why it’s so hard to walk out of a movie, even if it sucks.)
Are you using stories in your sales and marketing efforts? If not, you’re missing out. Here are twelve ways to leverage the power of stories.
Tell short stories in your TV and radio commercials, as well as your print ads. Weave them into your direct mail pieces, email campaigns, and brochures.
2. Your Website
While many company websites have a “Case Studies” section, don’t limit your stories to that one place. Sprinkle them throughout your site. On my website, I share two stories: one that illustrates the degree to which I customize my keynote speeches and seminars, and one that provides an example of the results sales teams get with my training. Those stories make my points far better than merely stating what I do.
3. Your Blog
Your company blog is the perfect place to recount all the stories of how you’ve helped clients. It’s also a perfect repository for stories about how your clients have used your products or services to help their customers.
4. Social Media
Social media was made for telling stories. And you can tell them using text, photos, and video! And social media facilitates the sharing of stories, increasing your reach at no additional cost or effort. Enable all of your employees—not to mention all of your customers—to share their stories on your social media channels. You’ll get more attention, more engagement, and more sales.
If what you do—or what your company does—isn’t immediately understandable, tell a short story to help your new acquaintance “get it.” Keep it very short though—telling a long, drawn-out story is not the way to make a good impression on someone you’ve just met.
6. Trade Shows
Trade shows give you multiple opportunities for storytelling:
• In your pre-show marketing
• On and around your exhibit, via text, photos, and video
• Through live presentations
• During your personal interactions with visitors
• Via your marketing collateral and giveaways
7. On-Hold Recordings
If you have to place a caller on hold, you can subject them to the same song over and over again, you can state repeatedly how important their call is to you (which is annoying as hell), or you can tell them stories. Because stories are entertaining, they make the time seem to pass faster. And because stories are informative, they can answer callers’ questions and give them ideas.
8. Press Releases
The media is constantly looking for stories. And while news outlets may not be interested in how you’ve helped clients, they are interested in how you’ve helped the community. What causes do you support? What issues are you fighting for? What are you doing to improve the lives of people in your neighborhood, region, state, country?
Additionally, your employees have stories of their own. What hardships have they overcome? What lessons have they learned? How are they helping others? All of these are tremendous PR opportunities.
9. Sales Presentations
Buyers don’t want products or services. They want results. So tell them about the results you’ve created for other clients. Share stories about previous clients who had the same challenges or goals that your prospect has, and how your product or service impacted them.
10. Follow Up Calls
Sharing a success story with a prospect can be a great excuse for a follow up call or e-mail: “One of our clients just told us a great story and I wanted to share it with you…”
11. Overcoming Objections
Objections are about fear. And one of the best ways to overcome that fear is to tell your prospect a story about a customer who had the exact same fear. You acknowledge the prospect’s fear so they feel understood and validated, while showing them via the story why they can have confidence in the outcome.
Have a prospect who’s on the fence? Often they just need a little nudge to move them to action. And a story can provide the nudge. Relate two or three stories for even greater impact.
Stories are potent sales and marketing tools. And they’re multi-purpose tools at that. Create a database of stories and actively look for ways to incorporate them in all your sales and marketing efforts. The more stories you tell, the more sales you’ll make.