That also goes for your prospects and customers. They're no different.
Which is why storytelling, or if you’re in sales, storyselling has grown in popularity.
But why does storytelling work? Why is it more effective than a slide presentation with multiple bullet points, TLAs* and facts?
Because it’s interesting, stupid.
A lot of salespeople, especially in high-tech, are plagued by the curse of knowledge. Which is when your experience is multiplied by your enthusiasm (+ desire to hit quota) and quickly becomes your enemy.
Some examples of the curse of knowledge are, talking in *Three Letter Acronyms; demoing your product or solution BEFORE understanding what the problem or outcome is; asking stacked questions; being borderline condescending; generally talking much more than listening.
The power and punch of a story…
Andy Maslen explains it far better than a philistine like me can.
"When you are presented with data, your brain analyses its validity. (Data and Information drive analysis).
However, stories do not undergo this same method of evaluation. They evoke emotions that cause the brain to interpret them less analytically and more emotionally.
Perhaps the most significant finding of storytelling is that the brain actually reconstructs them as they are being told.
We think in pictures - “You been to New York? Yes? Then I bet you have a picture in your mind’s eye, not data, right?
The buyer and sellers brain start to sync.
When you tell stories, your prospective customers are not just listening; they are recreating the story in their minds. The easier it is for buyers to picture a story, the more likely it is that they will be influenced by it. Without emotions, there will be no action, decision or sale."
That’s the main reason why stories are more effective.
So tell the truth but make the truth fascinating. You’ll never bore someone into buying your product.
Another reason is one of the simple, timeless human truths, and that is we all have an inherent herd mentality, so hearing about someone else doing what we’re considering lowers the fear and anxiety of being the first and explains how that works.
Here’s an example, which dodges the curse of knowledge, because it’s a story and it uses plain and concrete language.
Fact:FedEx’s Purple Promise award, is their recognition and rewards program, which honors employees who uphold their guarantee that packages will “absolutely, positively” arrive overnight.
The Story:In New York, a FedEx delivery truck broke down and the replacement van was running late. The driver initially delivered a few packages on foot; but then, despairing of finishing her route on time, she managed to persuade a competitor’s driver to take her to her last few stops.
Having now heard this, the chances are you’ll now remember a lot more about their program and you'll possibly share this story.
First, make it your mission to truly understand the stories behind why your customers bought your products and services, but also, how are they using them and to what benefit or outcome. Then shape your story.
1) A beginning that grabs the listener.
2) A middle that escalates in tension, suspense, stakes, and excitement.
3) An ending that brings it all home with a bang.
This shape works whether a sales pitch, TED talk, joke or novel.