Storytelling has been a part of human existence for millennia. To this day, stories are instrumental in passing down traditions and practices from generation to generation, across multiple cultures.
The universal appeal of a well-crafted story can hook an audience and bring the message home clearly. Infusing your sales and marketing with storytelling can help improve your delivery and content and, ultimately, land you more customers.
The Science of Storytelling
Humans are inherently social creatures. A scientific study conducted by Paul Zak Ph.D. showed that stories that speak to human emotions consistently encourage the release of something called oxytocin in the brain.
Oxytocin is a neurochemical released by the hypothalamus that encourages bonding and the desire for connection. Together with other hormones like dopamine and serotonin, oxytocin contributes to the “moral molecule”, which stimulates emotions and empathy.
As a result, people are more likely to be moved to action by a compelling story. That’s why the best sales courses speak to the importance of changing your sales narrative by mastering the art of storytelling to create more empathy and sensitivity in your customers for the stories you tell about your products.
Storytelling Builds a Connection with the Customer
Ever wondered why TED Talks are so popular? One reason is that they feature real-life stories of how ordinary people conquered different life situations or started flourishing businesses. When people hear these stories, they are usually inspired and motivated to take a leaf from those narratives and apply it to their lives.
Similarly, when you tell an inspiring or personal story to your customers, it can humanize the process. You’re no longer viewed as the salesperson looking to reach targets but as someone helping them find solutions to their challenges.
With a story, your sales pitch can lower the customer’s defenses, so they don’t feel like they are being sold to. In addition, you can pull customers into the narrative helping them relate better to your offer.
Creating Lasting Memories
In a world where people have been inundated with facts and numbers, brains have been overloaded with so much information that people tend to either not pay attention or forget everything soon after a long and dense presentations.
Stories that are personal and evoke emotional responses will more likely be remembered than the talks primarily focused on data and statistics. When the customer remembers your story, you gain an advantage over other salespeople.
Keys to Effective Storytelling
Have you ever wondered why some movies or novels become award-winning blockbusters? The story manages to capture the audience’s attention from the get-go, establishing a connection that endures right to the end.
So, to formulate winning sales stories, keep the following principles in mind:
- The story must be gripping, so begin with a strong opening.
- Make it relatable by creating a “hero” whom the audience can resonate with.
- Create a hook to maintain a hold on the audience by building anticipation.
- The “hero” must come out victorious at the end of the story to give the audience a glimpse of the potential benefits they will enjoy when they purchase from you.
- Where necessary, make use of lighthearted humor.
- The ending can give the customer a clear path forward or call to action.
- Keep it short to hold the listener’s attention.
Styles of Sales Stories
One lesson learned from most sales courses is that there isn’t a one size fits all approach when formulating your story-telling marketing strategy. Your market is a mix of unique individuals that need to understand why you and your product are a cut above the rest.
Here are some ideas for stories that you can tell:
Telling Your Own Story
When a customer understands why you do what you do, it can help build trust. Tell customers stories based on:
- your background
- the needs that drove your company to create the product or service
- any courses you took that may establish you as an expert to give you credibility as someone who can help them solve their problems
Once customers understand where you’re coming from, their eyes will open to the genuine concerns that you have for their problems and that you’re not just selling to make a profit off of them. This can help to build rapport and get customers to buy your product.
Giving your customers “what if” scenarios paints a representational picture of a problem with a solution that your offering can provide.
Asking background questions before giving the scenario can be a helpful tool in identifying potential problem areas. You then get to address these problems in your scenario.
For example, “What if our software can reduce your report turnaround time, leaving your workers with ample time to focus on your core business?” Asking the right questions can arouse the customer’s interest and help you tailor your story to answer their needs.
According to Big Commerce, 72% of customers say that they were moved to trust and try out a product because of positive testimonials and reviews.
Giving potential customers authentic testimonials based on real-life stories from other customers can prove to be a compelling selling point and pull more customers.
The Key Takeaway
Stories are powerful tools, so capture the hearts of your customers by enhancing your storytelling abilities and approach to sales to connect in a compelling and powerful way.