The 3 Stories you Need to Tell to Grow Your Business

Brand Differentiation

Stories are contagious. Good stories inspire, are easily remembered and are shared. 

Whether you’re selling, interviewing or networking, the best way to connect people to your business is by offering something special: a story that brings your message to life. 

No matter your product, service, or industry, you have interesting brand stories to tell. Sometimes you just need to a little help to find them! There are many great stories that are waiting to be told but many business owners don’t always know how to uncover them. 

 

But does brand storytelling really work?

Yes, it really does!

The reason storytelling is so effective is that for your customers, the buying process is not just a rational decision backed by data, it’s also an emotional one.

In Chip and Dan Heath’s Book, “Made to Stick” they describe why some ideas stick and others don’t. Overwhelmingly the stats show that people remember a powerful story over cited statistics. 

In fact, in one example, students at Stanford were asked to share facts with their classmates: 63% remembered the stories and only 5% remembered the actual statistics that were cited.

 

Why is storytelling so powerful? 

When you’re invested in a good story, your brain physically responds to it. So a good brand story grabs attention, elicits emotion, and engages people. 

A story can trigger your brain to release cortisol (the stress chemical) or oxytocin (the feel-good chemical). This explains why you feel anxious while watching a horror film or happy when the credits roll on the ending we were rooting for all along.




Using the power of stories in business

At business events and in sales conversations, we often spend time on ‘small talk’ and swapping personal stories to try to build rapport with customers or potential clients. Building rapport makes good business sense, but swapping stories also makes scientific sense.

Stories are the fastest, easiest and most natural way to build rapport, and establish trust and credibility with someone. 

Of course, you can rely on your personal stories but you can also up your game by using stories that have a clear business message and purpose while still being authentic.

But telling stories is hard. The “art” of storytelling requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one blog article. It’s a skill that needs to be developed and mastered.

 

Sounds like a lot of work, right? And is it really worth developing? It is, and in business especially so because storytelling has become a crucial component of the most successful marketing campaigns. 

To get you started, here are three stories you can start working on to use in your business conversations.

 

The 3 Types of Stories you Need to Tell to Grow Your Business

#1: The Values In Action Story

Demonstrating company values is not done often in business conversations, but it can be a powerful connector. 

Unfortunately, most people think of mission and values statements as dry and boring so they forget them! For example. “We value customer service” or “We value quality”’. These statements are meaningless. 

Instead, demonstrate the business values and mission quickly through an authentic story that builds connection.

A connection story allows you to form a bond with your listener. This bond creates trust between you and the best way to tell a connection story is to showcase your character, values and beliefs and how those are reflected in the company.

To start, look at why you do what you do. What gets you out of bed every morning to get to business?  What keeps you working hard month after month? When you’ve nailed that down, your mission statement will hopefully provide inspiration that concisely imparts the shared set of values that you, your clients and your employees can rally around.

As an example, Starbucks mission statement reads: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Having a mission this strong allows you to have conversations around your business around more than just selling good coffee. It allows you to paint a picture of bringing people together within their neighborhoods over a shared cup of coffee and what that kind of connection makes possible.



#2 The Challenge Story

The best way to show your prospects how you can help them is to tell them a story about how you helped another business in their similar situation.

This type of story also allows you to overcome any objections your audience may have about you and can change the direction of your conversation. Focus on how you can shine a new light on what you do.

Share a story which includes a different point of view and then make a case for this different way of thinking. Address their current way of thinking, especially if it’s in relation to your competitors. So if you’re a marketing form, address right away how you’re different to other marketing firms. By doing this you’re allowing the audience to make their own conclusion from the story and naturally change their point of view.

Telling a brand story that starts with a challenge or problem is a smart way to do this, because conflict creates a bit of stress or intrigue. If you can show your service or product as the solution that your listener is craving, your story can also provide a feel-good bond between you. 



#3: The Before and After Story 

With this story, you’re sharing a before and after story- how you experienced specific problems, setbacks, or frustrations and then discovered [your product or service] which changed your experience and perspective. Now you just enjoy the benefits.

 

When considering a purchase, people love to hear how others have benefited from the product or service before them. They often want to hear about the work a business has done with other clients similar to them. They choose companies that have worked with businesses like theirs, similar in size or industry, facing similar challenges.

The goal is to always find ways to tie the testimonial into the pains and problems of your market. 

Don’t fall into the trap of just listing the benefits, but rather explain the benefits of what is offered by sharing stories about what other clients have experienced. 

One crucial thing to remember with this type of story is that the listener needs to be able to picture themselves benefitting in the same way. If they don’t identify with the story, it won’t move them or motivate them to take action.

Use before and after stories to help connect your audience to the transformation which can also take place for them. Don’t forget to use anecdotes, specific numbers or statistics or other details that help paint a picture.

Think about the product or service you provide. There are many ways to talk about or showcase these highlights beyond traditional sales materials.

Are there unique features that make your product particularly useful or effective? Are there surprising ways people have benefitted from your service? With a little creativity, you can create interesting content that showcases your brand in exciting ways.

People want content that educates, entertains, inspires, or even celebrates them. (Remember relevancy!) So think of brand story opportunities that incorporate them into your brand story. For example, you might make your brand the helpful sidekick in a customer’s story (“This brand’s comfy shoes helped me cross the finish line!”). Or you can use things like personal anecdotes as storytelling tools. 

 


☑ Take Action

  • If you’re interested in developing your brand stories, a great tool is to create a BrandScript for your company. When you do this you will know:
    • 7 key elements needed to create a brand story
    • How to grab your customer’s attention and NEVER lose it
    • The key ingredients every marketing plan needs to grow your bottom line

  • You can also book a call with me if you would like to work on your BrandScript and build your business storytelling toolbox.

  • Sign up for the free story-based marketing workshop on July 15th!

  

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