“Once upon a time in a kingdom long long ago there was an entrepreneur who wanted to sell her innovative line of products to satisfy a need with her consumers…” No this is not how you should write for your audience though you probably recognize it from many childhood bedtime stories. This is because we are familiar with this form of introduction and we know that what follows will be an exciting tale filled with suspense and more than likely a happy ending.
For business the art of storytelling is essential, yet it is forgotten by most in the brand process. In our business career we will learn to not only sell our product or our service but most importantly, we must sell ourselves. Selling and story telling go hand in hand. The best way to explain things is through stories and real life examples that convey the importance and meaning of what we offer. The use of our product or service when inserted into stories to solve people’s problems and needs has people adapt to a new normal that involves what we can offer to them.
How? Story telling not only gives history and detail into the real life examples of past performance but also they do something that just telling people facts and opinions cannot. It appeals and attracts the primal mind. This primal mind is the subconscious mind that allows you to hold on to the details of a story long after it is told. We hold onto these details because they are attached to our emotions and generally make us feel certain ways without much thought. To tap into this primal mind all good stories need to have four characteristics:
- Setting– this should be a specific time and place in history. “October three years ago in a large metropolitan city in the corporate structure of a growing sales company…”
- Characters- give your characters a name and make details and ambitions about them specific. By doing this you will engage the mind by creating details and images in the person’s mind. “Marlene the head of IT in a company of 75 people, that has been in business for 15 years and has just secured an account that would attribute to ¼ of their yearly sales…”
- Create an Object of Desire- what drives the characters in the story? This will be the need that your product can solve. “It is Marlene’s job to work on the expansion of the company’s database to control and manage this new enlarged capacity of business, if she is able to accomplish this successfully she will be in line for a large bonus that is 10% of her annual salary…”
- Create Obstacles- all stories don’t end with the person getting in their cars and driving to Walmart to find the easy solution off the shelves. In this instance the suspense would be “Marlene only has three months to find a program and complete this expansion before the influx of the new account hits. After meeting with you and hearing all of the products and benefits that your product has to offer to handle the influx and resources Marlene needs she makes her choice. Marlene with the help of your product and highly trained team is able to meet her time crunch and help her company succeed.”
Story telling is not a complicated process because in reality you have been doing it since you were old enough to connect with your imagination and form sentences. The work involved is just figuring out what you want to convey about your product or service or even yourself to your potential customer or new boss to show that you are the right fit to fulfill the need in the structure. Remember these four characteristics that appeal to one’s primal mind the next time you are trying to make a sale or engage in networking to create a memorable experience and thus sell and connect more efficiently and more successfully.