When you’re trying to explain how your solution can help a prospective customer, sometimes a good story is just what you need. That’s because not only do people like stories, as listeners, we can identify with the hero, put ourselves in their shoes, and visualize the journey that they’re on. Plus, it can be a creative way to paint a picture for your clients and help influence their decision-making without coming across as too salesy.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some practical tips for crafting a great story that will help you sell your product.
Set the scene
Start by providing some context and helping your audience identify with the main character or hero of the story. Make it personal by using their first name and title. You can also flesh out the character by describing the industry they’re in or the size of their company in terms of revenue or headcount. Or talk about the services the company offers or the integrations they use. While you don’t want to reveal the person’s identity, you do want to provide enough details so that it sounds like you’re talking about a real person and not someone you’ve made up.
It’s important to start off with personal touches that make the hero of the story resonate with the prospect you’re talking to. You could also lay out what a day in their life is like, which will allow you to frame out the challenges they face.
Set up the conflict
The compelling part of a story is usually how people deal with conflict, so something bad has to happen to your hero. And to really work, the pain has to be deep. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they minimize the pain the hero experiences because they don’t want to make their customers feel uncomfortable.
But the reality is that if you want to bring your customer on an emotional journey, they need to experience the lows of the crisis (and the fear of what might happen), as well as the highs of the resolution. It’s important to explain the negative impact the crisis or challenge will have if it goes unresolved. Specifically, that should include what the hero’s world would feel like and what the consequences would be.
The value you deliver and the impact of your story will be much greater when your audience can identify both emotionally and rationally with the dangers that the hero faces.
Resolve the story
The transition from painful problem to happy resolution is what neatly brings the story to its end. But be careful not to make it all about your company and how you rode in on a horse and solved everything. The individual you’re talking about — and by extension each of your audience members — needs to be the hero.
Talk about the impact the solution had, such as whether it helped boost profits, save jobs, or increase efficiencies. You want to focus on what the hero managed to achieve when they identified and implemented your solution.
Connect with your audience
The best way to pull your audience in is to make them identify emotionally, rationally, and intellectually with the hero, their predicament, their pain, and their joy at a great resolution. The most effective stories teach the listeners something. They stimulate curiosity and inspire action.
Using these techniques, you can not only engage your clients, but get them to actually care about what you are telling them and ponder the tale long after you are finished. So get storytelling when you are pitching to clients and use your tales to set them on the path to purchase.