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Don’t Do Boring Business: Tell Stories To Reach Customers

by Shawn Karol Sandy

“Just the facts, ma’am” – is the iconic line parodying detective Joe Friday from the old show Dragnet. Meant to demonstrate the character’s dry approach to interviewing witnesses, sometimes I feel like I’m meeting a live “Joe Friday” when I’m approached by someone trying to sell me a product. No context, no perspective or relevance to me, just details and digits.

Or even worse—you probably relate to this scenario where you’re trapped in a presentation for a product where the presenter is reading the slides verbatim about the technical features of the WhizBang Circuitry Upgrade version 78.3.7

"Put me out of my misery” I'm thinking. "I can read—I don’t need to be spoon fed information that I’ve already consumed on your website.” If I have to continue to listen to dry, dull, mechanical and tedious details about your product I might just pull the fire alarm or fake an emergency phone call from my child’s school.

For most any purchase, features and product details can be determined from your website, your brochure, your catalog, et cetera. Most buyers have already done this research before they’ve reached out to you.

Your job, your job to sell to customers is to put your product or your business in to their terms—use questions to learn about what’s important and relate how your product or service solves a problem for me, the customer, your audience.

The Best Way to Relate to Someone is to Bring Them on a Journey with You

Imagine taking a passenger along in the vehicle, sitting next to you while you give a guided fall tour through the countryside, pointing out rustic old barns and spotted cows. You visit a farm stand for cider and apples from a local orchard and have to stop on a back road in nowheresville to wait for a flock of turkeys to waddle across the road before you finish up your trip by picking up an unusual ruby red vase made of depression glass at an eclectic antique store/flea market.

Now, this experience, even this story—looks and sounds much different than an itinerary describing the tour in bullet points—with dry and dull descriptions, similar to how I imagine this would be written in a sales presentation:

  • Rural nowheresville
    • Death of chlorophyll display
    • Integrity-challenged farm structures
    • Multi-color bovine collection
    • Deconstructed apples in concentrate
  • Project yield for fowl migration
  • Completion of project
    • Historical collection site
    • Antiquity Acquisition

Wow. That was not exciting or even really interesting when it’s boiled down to the bare facts.

Don’t fall in to the trap of distilling your product, your business, your brand or your personality in to nice, neat bullet points. You’re audience will tune out, eyes will glaze over and you’ll lose the ability to arrive at the value proposition together, with your customer fully understanding how your solution can solve their problem.

Give your customers the opportunity to take the ride with you, to start at their beginning, point out the things that are important to them and that are relevant to them.

Use Storytelling as a Powerful and Effective Selling Tool to Reach Customers

To know what stories to incorporate in your business, such as the story of your company, your hero story and your vision, you need strong messaging.

And to learn how to tell compelling stories—for presentations, networking, proposals and powerfully and effectively converting listeners into customers, click over to our “What’s Your Story” blog where you’ll learn about LOTS (Language Of The Senses) to generate emotional connections with relevance and context.

Don’t Do Boring Business

Leave the stats and graphs for the accounting department or leave behind brochures. Bring your business alive, take your customers on a journey to solving their problems that is personal, emotional and perfectly relevant to their situation.

How will you incorporate storytelling in to your selling toolbox?

Are you ready to #GrowSmarter? Schedule a risk-free call with a Growth Guide today!

Topics:ProspectingStories That SellGrowing Small Business

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