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Motivational Speaker’s Truth On The Power Of Story In Sales and Marketing

09 Mar Posted by in Business | Comments

motivational speakers storyMany of you know that I am a motivational speaker (especially since I remind you just about every time I post) but many of you do not know that I began this career as a professional storyteller. Well, actually I began as a writer, but since nobody was reading my stuff or paying me for it, I’m not sure that counted. The point is that I treasure the story, and have seen its benefits from many different angles. And even after years of telling stories, I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing the impact that stories have on a listener. But here is a start. Here is what I’ve seen stories do first hand:

1. They entertain. You can’t sell anything, or impact anyone, unless you first have their attention. A well told story is like a magnet. I have been able to take an audience, quiet them, and hold them in the palm of my hand from beginning to end – all because of a well written and well told story.

2. They engage. Stories have this weird way of pulling the listener in, so that they actually feel like they are part of the story – living the message.  And not only that, but the story takes your listener to a story of their own. I can’t even count how many people in my audiences tell me that a story about my mother reminded them of another story about their mother. So while they are listening to you, they are taking a journey of their own.

3. Stories show instead of tell. Stories illustrate your point. And when points are illustrated, people understand them and are more apt to embrace them. Information alone is void of emotion, and has no impact. But if you wrap it in story it comes alive.

4. They create a common bond with your audience. People still buy from people they like – and likability comes in when two people share something in common. Whether it’s an interest in the same sitcom, sharing pictures of your kids, or love for your grandfather – stories allow that listener to bond with you over a shared experience.

5. They allow you to develop trust and rapport. Again, it’s that whole likability thing. People don’t buy from you – follow your lead – become your fan – until they trust you. Stories help them trust you. This one is hard for me to explain, so just take my word for it. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve learned from experience.

6. They make you human. Let’s say you’re the new CEO scheduled to talk to your employees for the first time – many of whom you’ve never met. At this point you are the “new guy” – maybe one who brings them anxiety. You need to somehow make yourself human to them. This is where the story comes in. Just one story about how you started in this business as the mail guy – and suddenly you are human. You are approachable. Your respect factor just rose in three paragraphs.

7. Stories connect with the emotions of your listener. Somebody important (can’t remember who – maybe Oprah – maybe Mother Theresa – or maybe that really famous guy named Anon) said that people don’t always remember what you make them think – but they never forget how you made them feel. And this is super true. I’ve seen it as a motivational speaker and I know it applies in other areas of our lives. People remember something that impacted them on an emotional level. Stories allow you to hit them where they feel, not just where they think.

7. They show your values. We all know that telling someone we can be trusted is not as powerful as showing them we can be trusted. Stories allow you to show your audience what you value. Telling the story of my woman with the mop who showed me what it means to serve, does far more to show my audience that I value a servant’s heart – than just telling them that I believe serving is important.

8. Stories sell. I have said this so many times that it must be important. It’s not your features and benefits that sell. It’s the story. Sell the story. Use the story in your sales pitch. Use the story on your brochure. Use the demo video to tell me a story about how your product changed someone’s life.  Let your website tell the story. THIS is what sells. Not information.

And on that last note, I’d like to lead you to a blog that addresses this last issue much better than I can.  And if you want three easy ways to turn your sales pitch into a story – read this GREAT post from copyblogger:

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