There are few things that get and hold a reader’s attention like a good story.
When we were little children, bedtime came with a regular request, “Tell me a story!”
When presenting a sales proposition, instead of listing the features and benefits of what we offer, it can be most effective to simply tell our own story or the story of a customer. What painful experience did we or they go through that was solved or could have been solved by the product or service? How was our life or their life changed for the better by using it?
Describing that transformation can be enough to spark curiosity or create interest and conviction to take action.
In Frank Bettger’s classic book, How I Multiplied My Income and Happiness in Selling, Bettger revealed that the world’s greatest closer of sales is stories! The entire book consists of Bettger’s stories of his experiences, and 79 pages out of 236 pages of text are devoted to how he used stories in his sales presentations, including word-for-word stories that he used. Anyone can benefit from reading Bettger’s stories as examples, and they are especially good for life insurance salespeople to study.
We often see stories used in advertising as “slice of life” commercials. Classic print “story” ads include “They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play”, “Always a bridesmaid but never a bride”, “The University of the Night”, “Here’s an Extra $50, Grace — I’m making real money now!”, “Aunt Meg … who never married”, “Somewhere West of Laramie”, and “Again She Orders — ‘A Chicken Salad, Please.”
How can we find these stories?
Sometimes it’s a matter of observation and self-examination. What has happened in our own life where we benefited from what we offer that our customer can relate to? What are the painful details of our experience and how was our life so much better afterwards?
What experiences have our customers had? The best way to share their stories is with their own written, audio or video testimonial and their consent to share them. We can also tell their stories ourselves provided we have their consent. Alternatively, we can share their stories and preserve confidentiality by describing them as a similar situation while changing their names or just calling them “one of my customers”, “a friend” or “someone I know.”
Sometimes it helps to have someone elicit and vocalize our stories, somewhat like a “promotional therapist.” Would you like my help developing your promotional stories? Write to me at email@example.com to arrange a complimentary initial consultation.