Once upon a time there was a magical way to get people to remember what you said, learn from it, and take action as a result. It was used by clever men and women to sell their services. And they became rich….
Well, the good news is….that magical way to get potential clients to listen to you and then act (to get your help) still exists. It’s called storytelling.
In this age of information overload, you might think your marketing communication needs to be short and to the point. Or you might be looking at your competitors, who are providing lots of ‘valuable content’ for potential clients, and think you need to go one step further by providing even more valuable tips and resources for your potential clients than they do.
But either of these approaches could actually be standing in the way of you getting the clients you want.
Why? Well, facts and figures and lists of things we ‘should do’ tend to go in one ear and out the other. We don’t remember them. Or, if we do remember a tip or strategy we don’t necessarily get around to doing anything with it. Maybe because we don’t realise its value. Or we don’t realise what we’re missing out on by not using it. So whether you are being brief, or giving tons of value, there’s a good chance it isn’t being remembered or acted upon.
But if we hear a story about someone who took that tip or strategy and used it, and avoided a problem or got a result, and we hear all about the consequences of that……. well, chances are, we will remember the story.
Not only do we remember the story, but we are much more likely to learn from it. We all learned from stories as children. So we are open to learning from stories even as adults. It’s as if our brain goes into ‘receive wisdom’ mode when we hear the words “once upon a time….”
Not only are we open to learning from stories, but when we hear a story about what happened to someone else, we interpret it in a way which means something to us. So we take out own meaning – and our own learning – from it. We find a way to make it meaningful for us, even if we aren’t quite in the same situation as the person in the story. Once we’ve done that, we’re much more likely to act on what we learned to avoid the same thing happened to us, or to achieve the same result as the person in the story got in the end.
What does this mean for your business?
So, if your business involves offering any kind of solution to a problem, or a way of helping clients achieve a goal, you should be using stories when you talk to your potential clients. Tell them about others who were in the same or similar situation and how they avoided a problem or benefited from an opportunity as a result of their help. Or, if you don’t have a specific story you can tell about that situation, give an illustrative example (story) about what could happen in those circumstances, both with and without your help.
Stories can be included in all kinds of marketing: website copy, brochures, special reports, networking introductions, seminars, and so on. You can also use them in consultations with prospective or new clients to help them understand why they should hire you to help them with a particular issue.
So look for opportunities to tell stories in all your communications.
Your clients will remember you for it.