Have you ever heard that saying, “Facts tell, a business story sells?”
Well, it’s true.
You’ve probably seen it. A speaker gets on stage, in front of people who need the product or service they offer, and they proceed to explain what offer. They describe all the features and benefits associated with their products or services.
The speaker is so excited to share the wonderful product.
And in the end, nobody buys their stuff!
You see, the deal is that we make purchasing decisions based on emotions, supported by facts, and not the other way around. If the speaker does not appeal to me emotionally and stir positive feelings, the chances are pretty good that I’ll say, “That’s nice.” And walk away empty-handed.
Now, appeal to me emotionally and make me feel what it is like to have your product solve my problem, and you got me. Once you win me over emotionally, my reasoning will weigh your price against the products’ benefits. After I compare your offerings to those of your competitors, I will decide whether or not to buy from you.
That’s the general purchase journey of a typical consumer
So, how do you stir emotions in people?
I guess you could tell a joke to make someone laugh, but that’s probably not helpful toward your end of winning a customer over. You could probably provoke someone, but again that’s definitely counterproductive.
The best way to stir emotions in people toward winning them over as a customer is to tell stories that demonstrate important aspects of how your problem will make them feel and what it can do for them.
The business story that wins
Our brains are hard-wired to tune into stories.
“Why?” You might ask.
The printing press was not invented until 1440. Until then, information was spread mostly through the spoken word – stories. Our brains are so effective at recalling information embedded in stories that world champions at memorization utilize stories to help them perform incredible feats of memorization.
The world record for memorizing a string of digits is 608.
Isn’t that crazy?
The champion, like most other memory experts, utilize stories to accomplish such amazing things. That means using a business story effectively can help achieve much.
The ‘What’ Business Story
From many years of experience in public speaking, branding, marketing, and product development, I have uncovered the three key stories you need to be able to tell about your business. The remainder of this article explains ‘what business story’ you should tell.
The first story you need to be able to tell about your business is your ‘WHAT’ story. This story demonstrates what you do to solve a customer’s problem or create a new possibility for them. You help them survive whenever you solve their problem, and also you help them thrive when you create new possibilities for them.
If your product doesn’t do this, you don’t have a useful product, do you? Your ‘WHAT’ story is a fundamental part of your business success story. Without it, you don’t have a business.
Your ‘WHAT’ story should follow a pattern that is typically referred to as The Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey goes like this.
- The hero faces a problem or opportunity
- They go on a quest to solve the problem or pursue the opportunity
- They struggle…and struggle
- Gains special insight or knowledge
- Makes a plan
- They take action
- And finds success
Here are important questions to answer to create your business WHAT story.
- Who is your hero and what was life like for them? They are likely a happy customer of yours.
- What did they want? What problem or opportunity did they face?
- How did they struggle?
- What did you do to guide them?
- And what was their plan?
- What actions did they take?
- Did they get success?
You can use this information to tell the story of this customer, following the hero’s journey formula. As a result, you can evoke emotion by sharing the pain this customer experienced due to their problem and how it felt when they were struggling. Finally, share how it felt to them to have their problem solved by your product and what their life is like now. This is your business’s WHAT story.
An Example of WHAT story
An example of a WHAT story would be one of my clients, named Sasha. Sasha is a videographer who has been behind the camera for more than a decade capturing video of some of the best speakers on the planet. After years of being behind the camera, Sasha decided to speak from the stage herself and offer her services to the audience from the stage.
When I first met Sasha, she had spoken on the stage at an event I attended. When I spoke to her after her talk, she told me that she wasn’t having much success with her sales. I sat with her and gave her some suggestions on how she might rearrange her talk for better results.
She took my suggestions and implemented them. The next time I met her she told me she had sold over $20,000 of her program from the stage using the model that I helped her redesign. In addition to being behind the camera, which she loves, she has a new income stream. As a result, she has been able to grow her company and have the lifestyle she desires.
Sasha recorded a testimonial video for me, telling her story and explaining how I helped her. You can see the testimonial video here.
The thing is…
If the only story you can tell about your business is your ‘WHAT’ story, you are in a precarious position. You probably own what’s known as a commodity business. That means your competitors can easily supply a solution to your customers at a lower cost or that is more convenient for them. What do you think your customers will do?
Probably switch? Then you start finding new clients or lower your costs?
This is not a healthy place for business.
The next business story you need to be able to tell for your business is your HOW story. Check this post to learn more about the ‘HOW’ story.