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Want to Tell Your Story? Here’s 5 Great Tips

Want to Tell Your Story? Here’s 5 Great Tips

The first basic truth of marketing is people buy from people they know and trust.  People want to hear your story so they can know you better.  

Many of us find telling our story is hard.  It doesn’t have to be.  

Here is an excellent post  giving you 5 great tips on telling your story 

5 TIPS FOR SELLING MORE OF YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE USING STORIES

BY: DAVE DEE ON: JULY 8TH, 2014 1 COMMENT


“If you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.”

So says Peter Guber.

Guber is Founder and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, a business dynamo that spans movies, TV, sports entertainment and digital media.

And I agree!

Guber’s hit films include Batman, Soul Surfer, and Rain Man. He also owns the NBA Golden State Warriors franchise and is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also appears on TV as the weekly entertainment and media analyst for Fox Business News, to name but a few of his accomplishments.

How does one person accomplish so much? Peter Guber says he has long relied on purposeful storytelling to motivate, win over, shape, engage, and sell.

He also says that what started as a knack for telling stories in the entertainment industry spilled over and evolved into a set of principles to achieve other goals.

This isn’t the first you’ve heard of the importance of storytelling. Dan Kennedy has long championed the idea that “stories sell.” They can help you capture your customer’s attention and sell your existing products and services better. They can build your reputation. They can engage your customers and turn them into loyal, raving fans. And much more.

And one more way to look at stories—they can serve as your inspiration for a product you create to sell.

Let me show you what I mean.

Here at GKIC, when we hear the same questions over and over from people about a particular topic, we know there is interest in that topic.

For example one area we get a lot of questions about is how to write persuasive copy that sells.

Why do we get a lot of questions about that? Because we have a story to tell about it. (Namely that Dan Kennedy, myself and our team of GKIC copywriters have all created persuasive copy that has sold millions and millions and millions of dollars’ worth of products and services.) This makes our story more valuable.

Therefore, knowing we have a valuable story to tell becomes the inspiration to create an information product to sell.

Here are five tips for finding your story that sells:

1)      Assess. What are the stories you tell over and over again? Do people always ask you about how you get so many customers? Or how you got your start in the business? Or how you are able to raise ten kids and stay sane?

If you are asked the same questions over and over, then chances are people are curious about how you did something and this could be a good indication of “your story” that will sell.

2)      Ask questions and dig deep. Often times, you have a GREAT story, you just don’t know it. Because it’s your life, it may seem boring or irrelevant, but to others, it’s “the” thing that hooks them.

This is frequently revealed when you dig deep and look for a “story behind the story”—much like the greatest journalists of our time do. Journalists find stories by using this technique and accomplish it by asking a lot of questions and assembling facts. In doing this, they often uncover the most intriguing nuggets and reveal the most fascinating part of the story.

What are the details of your story? Are there details you don’t tell very often (because people don’t know to ask you about them,) but when you do, they are riveted? This is the story behind the story.  Tip: You know you are on to something when revealing some details spawn many more questions.

This can also be the most painful part of your life. A great place to look for examples of this are in weight loss stories or rags to riches stories—where the writer describes in great detail hitting rock bottom and the secret that brought them huge success.

3)      Ask what big problems you have solved. Do you have a great story about how you solved a big or common problem? If you have more than one, select the story that best solves the problem and/or choose the problem you can best solve in relation to your prospective competition.

For example, let’s say you can solve the problem of attracting new, high quality customers and you can solve the problem of closing the sale. You are really good at both, however your competition is only good at attracting new customers. In this case, you might want to focus on your story of how you can help people close the sale better.

4)      Make a list of what makes you feel happy, strong and energized. When you find what makes you feel the most energized, often therein lies your story. You’ll discover not only the thing you are best at, but in relaying your story, you will have more enthusiasm which often translates to making more sales.

5)      Ask your closest friends and most trusted business associates what they think your best at.  If you still can’t figure out what your story is and how to turn that into a product, ask your most trusted advisors and business associates for feedback. Ask them their opinion of what you have to offer that is unique and what they think you do best. Ask them for stories or examples where they witnessed you at your best.

So my final question is—What’s YOUR story? Like Peter Guber and Dan Kennedy –when you find that, you’ll most likely discover an information marketing product (or two or three…) that is worth creating.

NOTE: If you want to hear more about how Peter Guber’s set of principles that anyone can use to tell stories to accomplish their goals, then you won’t want to miss Info-SUMMIT.  Not only will you get the chance to meet Peter in person and get your picture taken with him, but you’ll also be there when he reveals his techniques for:

  • Capturing your customer’s attention first, fast and foremost
  • Building your tell around “what’s in it for them”
  • How to create purposeful stories that can serve as powerful calls to action for your business and products.

For more information or to reserve your seat, visitwww.gkic.com/infosummit. But hurry—your chance to save up to $1900 is running out and seats are limited.

P.S.– Get “The 10 Rules to Transforming Your Small Business into an Infinitely More Powerful Direct Response Marketing Business” for FREE. Click here to claim your customer-getting, sales-boosting tactics.

Why Storytelling is Important for Your Business

Why Storytelling is Important for Your Business

One of my readers posted a comment asking for more posts on using story telling to promote our businesses.  

Using stories about your business, your products, or your service is a powerful way to get people to remember you.  And, when people remember you, they will buy from you. 

Here is a great post telling you more about it. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF STORYTELLING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

For as long as there has been language, there have been stories. Indeed, since the dawn of civilization, stories have been essential to our communication, our understanding of the world, our relationships with one another and the very survival of our species. From early cave paintings and practical warning stories to tales of soaring imagination and comforting tradition, stories have defined humanity through time and continue to shape our world today.

So what makes a good story?

Think back to your favourite story from childhood. (You know, the one you sneaked under the bedclothes and read by torchlight, the one with the dog-eared corners, the one you or your mother has still got in the attic somewhere.) Chances are, the book you’re thinking of contained one or more of these elements:

  • Simplicity – It had a clear structure and few characters.
  • Memorability – Even now, you remember the main plot, character or even the words/rhyme/rhythm.
  • purpose – The story had a message or moral to ‘take home’.
  • Shareability – Whether your mum or dad read it to you on their lap or your friends couldn’t get enough of it, it was something you wanted to talk about.
  • Comfort – You read and re-read it, especially when you were tired, upset or ill, and it never failed to cheer you up.
  • Imagination and adventure – The story whisked you away to a wonderful world of make-believe and excitement, where anything could happen.
  • Character – You could identify completely with the main character or felt as though they were a real person.

For adults, stories are no different. As well as being a quick and effective means of communication, a good story is one that allows us to visit new worlds, imagine new solutions and share ideas. The process of reading a story is fun and relaxing and a good story itself is memorable, shareable and often inspiring. From literature, art and film to business, religion and politics, stories permeate all aspects of our lives and are present across all cultures, languages and societies.

Above all, stories make an emotional connection, which is unsurprising given that our individual and collective lives are, in themselves, stories. Able to make us angry or irritated, and provoke laughter or tears, the sheer power of the story to affect us at a deep, human level cannot be underestimated.

But what does this have to do with your business?

If you are running a business or promoting yourself as an ‘individual brand’, your story is a strong and effective means of marketing. Telling your story can:

  • Increase brand recognition
  • Encourage followers
  • Build a loyal community
  • Maintain existing clients/customers
  • Increase visitors to your website
  • Increase sales
  • Increase clicks/downloads/sign-ups
  • Establish you as an expert in your field

As I mentioned above, a good story is one that is both memorable and shareable. And in today’s fast-paced, socially connected world, that’s very important for businesses and for brands.

Although we are increasingly seeing ‘content creation’ and ‘content curation’ as central to marketing and publicity and the creation of job titles such as Director of Content or Content Marketing Manager show that businesses are taking content seriously, there’s often still something missing, and a lot of business blogs, ebooks, whitepapers and corporate documents are failing to hit their mark because of their lack of storytelling ability and emotional impact.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be running a series of blog posts that focus on how to harness the power of storytelling to build your brand and to communicate effectively with your target audience, whether you’re a small business owner, a self-publisher or a budding entrepreneur. So keep watching this space to find out how the art of story can make your small business more effective, more recognisable and ultimately, more profitable.

For more about what we do, visit our website atwww.callistogreen.com or follow us on Twitter,Facebook or Google+. You can email us too atenquiries@callistogreen.com.

How to Tell “Your” Story

How to Tell “Your” Story

In my last few posts, I have been discussing the importance of using stories to promote our small businesses to potential clients and customers.  The inevitable question is, “OK, how do I do that?”  I recently ran across this excellent article on telling your own story.  This article was actually written for Lawyers, but just substitute your business or profession and see if there is not magic here. 

Our guest blogger this month is Michael Hammond who writes about the strategic use of stories in relationship marketing. This article originally appeared in “The Briefs” published by the Orange County Bar Association.

“Tell Me A Story …”

Pat Conroy, the well-known American novelist, once said:  “The most powerful words in the English language are, ‘Tell me a story’”. Why do stories have such power over us? Perhaps, it’s because long before humans were writing, we were telling stories and these stories – told, memorized, repeated and embellished over millennia – became the wellsprings of human development. Our innate love of telling stories seems to be almost as powerful as our love of listening to them.

In the modern world stories are everywhere.  They provide the plots for books, movies, theater, and television shows. The twenty-four hour news channels bring you the stories of the day. The best teachers, leaders and communicators have always recognized the importance of storytelling and have used them to convey lessons, messages and inspiration. Just think about Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s recent Academy-award-winning movie. A well told story has the power to conjure strong images and evoke a powerful emotional response in the listener.

Think about it, whether we’re meeting an old friend for a drink or a complete stranger on a plane, our interaction is largely defined by the exchanging of personal stories. Dr. Jonathan Gottschall, an English professor at Washington & Jefferson College and the author of “The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human”, said in a recent interview:  “We live in stories all day and we dream in stories all night. … Storytelling is a key competence because it’s the most powerful method we know of riveting the attention of others and of connecting with them emotionally.”

What’s Your Story?

Because telling and listening to stories is hard-wired into our psyche, they are one of our most powerful forms of communication. Harness the power of storytelling in your word-of-mouth marketing and you will tap into the innate receptivity of those you want to educate about who you are, what you do and why. Use stories in conversations with potential clients to demonstrate your expertise, with referral sources to illustrate how you can help their clients, and in social settings to educate people about your firm.

Richard Stone of the StoryWorks Institute advises lawyers to “Look for the drama in your everyday actions to formulate your stories. Just as a good author can find a story where others see only the commonplace deeds of ordinary people, it’s possible for each of us to frame our work in heroic terms. Stories are your narrative assets.”

According to Stone, a well-crafted story about why you became an attorney, why you feel compelled to help people or how you fought to succeed in spite of great difficulty, becomes an important conversational strategy. These stories are like verbal commercials for you, your practice and your brand. Once discovered, these narrative assets can become the hidden gems of your word-of-mouth marketing program.

Finding Your Voice

How do you transform your own many and varied experiences into well-crafted stories?

Read the following prompts and write down the first ideas that pop into your mind when you hear them:

  •  I became a lawyer because…
  •  I’m passionate about my practice area because…
  •  The type of people (your primary client) I like to help is…
  •  The reason I like to help these people is…
  •  I make a difference for people because…

Recall other stories that convey your effectiveness as a lawyer. Don’t bore your listener with a thinly disguised list of your accomplishments; instead, tell them about how your clients have actually benefited from your professional skills. Tell them a story about:

  • A case you just won.
  • An award you just received.
  • Your background or upbringing.

While not yet full-blown stories, whatever came to mind as you read these prompts could be promising and may warrant further thought and development. Once you’ve found your basic story idea, it’s important to flesh it out, expand upon it and add color to it. To add structure to your story, think about the three elements of every typical tale – context, characters and climax.

One criminal defense attorney tells his story this way:  “When I was young, I got into trouble with the law. But before I went too far, an attorney who was an old family friend intervened and set me straight. My practice is dedicated to that man – I want to do for other people what he did for me.”

Stealth Storytelling

At Atticus, we call stories the “stealth bombers” of strategic conversations. On the surface they may enlighten or entertain the listener, but they are also educating them, connect them to your background, highlight your values and reveal your motivations. In short order, the information these brief narratives provide can portray you as an empathetic human being and, because they require a certain amount of self-disclosure, deepen your intimacy with the listener.

Whether you employ long, rambling stories or simply divulge small glimpses of your personal history, having a variety of brief narratives you can use at different times and in various situations can be a valuable addition to your marketing assets. Stories can be helpful in conversations with potential clients trying to gauge your breadth of experience and your depth of compassion; with prospective referral sources trying to determine how well you would serve the clients they could refer to you; and in social settings to educate people about who you are and what you do.

Remember, stories that are humorous show that you are human. You don’t have to be the hero in every story; in fact, stories that portray you in a self-deprecating light can be engaging, heart-warming and among the most memorable.

The Three Cs of Storytelling

Way back in 1982 in his watershed book “Megatrends”, John Naisbitt posed a paradoxical prophecy:  “The more high tech we create, the more high touch we want.” How much more high tech have we become in the last thirty years? How much more do we yearn for high touch today? For human connection? Perhaps this accounts in some way for the psychic pull and the mesmerizing effect that storytelling still has on us.

Jim Blasingame, a leading expert on small business and entrepreneurship, says that we should deliver high touch to our clients through the telling of stories and reminds us of the Three Cs of Storytelling:

Connect – Use stories to connect with prospects and convert them to clients.

Convey – Use stories to convey your experience, expertise, humanity and values.

Create – Use stories to create a client’s memory of you and generate top-of-mind awareness.

Learn the art of storytelling and tap into the power of a good story, told well. You’ll know you’ve been successful – that you’ve really connected with someone – when they tell your story to others.

Michael Hammond is a “founding father” of Atticus and is a Certified Practice Advisor. A licensed attorney since 1983, he has spent his entire career either practicing law or supporting and promoting the practice of law. Michael has a depth of experience in lawyer marketing, one-on-one business coaching and strategic planning.

 

How to Build a Good Story

How to Build a Good Story

In my last few posts, I have been emphasizing the importance of using stories about your small business to engage potential clients and customers.  People love stories.   And they will remember stories long after your pitch about your product or service is forgotten.  Here is another great article on how to tell a good story. 

Harness the power of storytelling to appeal to new customers

In today’s world, which is crowded with messages, businesses need to create a brand with an authentic story

Hands holding roasted coffee beans
 If you know the farmers who produce the coffee you sell, include them in your brand’s story. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

For brands, and the marketers behind them, the idea of telling stories to win over hearts and minds is nothing new. But in today’s world, which is crowded with messages and largely devoid of trust, it has never been more challenging, or more valuable, for a brand to win loyalty.

How does it do this? There is a well-known proverb that my former boss used to use, “tell me a fact and I will learn, tell me a truth and I will believe, but tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” We remember narratives and journeys over facts.

When you’re thinking about your business, you shouldn’t only think that you’re selling a product or a service, you should think about how your brand is appealing to people’s emotions and how it fits in with their lives.

The good news is, storytelling is cheap. The bad news is it isn’t easy. It requires emotional intelligence, cultural insight and a lot of craft.

So what do we mean by story? Simply put, a story unites your idea with an emotion, it makes your product personal. Think about your customer and get under the skin of what they believe in.

Forget your product momentarily, it’s the context you’re trying to articulate. Telling people what to believe will fail, but showing you understand how they already feel – that is how brands get ahead.

Take a brand like Ella’s Kitchen. The founder, Paul Lindley, who I was fortunate to work with for a number of years, crafted an entire brand on the authentic story around his personal experience of encouraging his daughter to eat healthily. He created a world for kids filled with fun and experimentation. It is a story that taps into the emotions of parents and families across the world and is expertly woven into every element of his business, from the font used in emails to the design of their packaging and their adverts on TV.

Crafting your story can take time, but the important thing is to be authentic – consumers can tell if you’re not. It is unlikely your story will appeal to everyone but that’s fine, if you aren’t turning some people off, it’s unlikely you’ll turn anyone on.

How to use your story

  • Show, don’t tell – in the world of Vine, Instagram and Twitter, you don’t need to tell people that you make your leather bags by hand, or that you know the farmers that produce the coffee you sell, you can show them. Sharing inspiring content can be the most effective way of winning over consumers and proving that your story is authentic.
  • Let your customers do the talking – customers are as important in creating a brand’s story as the business itself. Start a conversation with them, ask them to be part of the story. Think about Coca-cola’s personalised cans – the customers did the hard work here, Coke just produced the product.
  • Bring it to life – live events and experiences can take your story to the next level. So, if you’re telling a story about being adventurous, then you should be engaging with customers in a way that shows them that you are. Think about the way Red Bull hosts live music and extreme sports events. They’re giving something meaningful back to a highly engaged audience.
  • Use the press – your story should be a “red thread” throughout everything you do with your business and using PR can be the most effective way to really strengthen your brand story. Being in the right media, with the right messages and at the right time can position your business in a way that allows people to see what you stand for.
  • Be authentic and consistent – no matter what, your story has to be true and you need to make sure you are committed to it. As a startup it can be tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, but ask yourself each time whether it fits in with your story and vision. From which shops stock your products, to where you advertise and the people that represent your brand – make sure it all fits into the wider story.

Nicole Green is a communications consultant and runs PR workshops for startups. She tweets at @nlgreen

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