Storytelling has always been an important element of marketing. World-leading marketer and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said, “No matter who you are or what kind of company or organization you work for, your number-one job is to tell your story to the consumer wherever they are, and preferably at the moment they are deciding to make a purchase,” and time and time again, his words were proven true.
Stories are very powerful. So powerful that, in fact, one study found that personal and emotionally-charged narratives could even generate a hefty sum of money off some random thrifted flea market goods; further proving just how powerful storytelling can be in marketing.
So, as marketers and sellers, the product story is an essential part of the work to enable forging connections with business prospects. Storytelling is the key in gaining the one thing that can give the upper hand when selling products and services: commanding attention.
Telling stories is an art that some can do well with; but if it isn’t in your toolbox just yet, here are a few tips on how to tell a story that sells:
1. Ditch trying to be perfect
While perfection and attention to detail can be great, it can also be boring. Plus, it can raise suspicion. You want your story to come off as genuine and fresh—not rehearsed and derivative.
Telling a story should feel like you’re talking with a friend. It should feel relatable and authentic, even with bits and pieces that somehow don’t fit perfectly and some minor mishaps. Storytelling is all about engaging your audience through deeply emotional personal encounters that feel true, and you cannot achieve this level of comfort with your audience if your story is “too perfect” and too detailed.
2. Focus on what you want your audience to feel
Your main goal in telling product stories is to make your audience feel emotionally attached to the story. So, your main challenge before telling one is to prose your story based on the feeling that you want to evoke.
Whether you’re telling a personal anecdote from childhood, a story from work, or from some other experience, you need to make sure that you catch your audience’s pulse and drive them back to your product. So, before telling your story, check on its emotional “feel” and “weight”, and make sure it’s hitting home for your audiences.
3. Consider who you are telling your story to
Crafting a hard-hitting story means that you need to adapt it to your listener. Before telling one, ask yourself: “Is this story really fitting towards my audience?”
Even if you have tapped into your audience’s emotions and you have put some storytelling imperfections here and there, if there is a dissonance between the story you are telling and your general audience, it is likely that your audience will still feel disconnected. So, a good rule of thumb is to know your audience first and probe as much as you can, to know your listeners’ general background.
4. Don’t start from the very beginning of the story
One common misconception that product storytellers often make is that they are too keen about details—so much so that it misleads the general essence of the story.
While you want to make it feel like your listeners are only talking to a friend, they don’t know you personally. So, even though you want to tell your story as a friend and glaze over all the details as you want, remember that they have a shorter attention span. What you need to do is to start with your main idea and build on it, rather than the other way around. This way, you can keep your audience interested and engaged.
5. Add sensory details
As what good authors often do when they want their readers to be more captivated, sprinkling some sensory details on your story can beguile your audiences’ attention towards you.
Tapping into the five senses can make your story more realistic by allowing it to tap deeply emotions with words that evoke those experiences. If you want an audience member’s heart in their throat, then use sensory language and let them vicariously live out moments just as if they were there themselves!
6. Understand why your audience needs your product in the first place
When trying to pitch a product indirectly through a story, you need to know why your audiences need your product in the first place.
You need to understand their situation, know their motivation in finding a resolution for their problem, and ensure that your product is able to accomplish their desired outcomes.
This can be done by taking a look at your target market’s motivations and going over how your product can solve their pain points. Along with relative-level details about your audience, you need to intertwine this information so that you can craft a story that touches them personally and routes back to the main highlight of the experience: your product.
7. Repeat your story often
Repeating your story does not necessarily mean repeating it verbatim. Rather, it means that through time, you’ll encounter a general portion of your audiences that have the same problem and same motivation.
So, rather than stumbling over in crafting stories on the get-go, you can opt to just retell a story. But remember that you must put personal touches fitting to a specific audience, so that you can reach them on an intimate and emotional level.
Besides, if you succeed as a marketer and seller, it will be no surprise that some of your clients will go back time and time again. The key in maintaining their patronage? Consistency. So remember to build up on previous stories too when it is needed.
Building trust and, eventually, connections, is what we desire when trying to tell stories as marketers and entrepreneurs. We need to be genuine in fitting a product to the audience’s needs, and telling stories is a good venue in solidifying trust.
Storytelling is always a two-way street. So, take these tips in mind and apply it when you need to craft a good story that sells.
For more articles on storytelling in business, storytelling for salespeople, and storytelling for entrepreneurs, check out our website.