"There's always room for a story that can transport people to another place.”
Why does your business need stories? Because a good story builds rapport and makes a complex product or process easy to understand. A story places your prospect in the shoes of your existing clients, allowing them to imagine what it’s like doing business with you.
Whether you’re on a stage, sharing a video, writing a blog post, or laughing over a cup of coffee, the stories you tell bring you — and your business—to life.
There are some people who are natural storytellers. No matter the situation, they have a relevant anecdote to share that drives the point home. However, most often, the best storytellers have a story bank, a repertoire of stories they can recite on command.
- Actors promoting their latest movie head into an interview with a handful of core stories they are prepared to tell.
- An author doing podcast interviews or news shows also has a bank of stories that fit key topics they expect an interviewer to ask.
As a sales and marketing professional, you should have a story bank too. If you struggle to find the words when you’re asked to speak, know that storytelling can be learned.
Find Stories to Tell to Enhance Your Sales and Marketing Strategy
Once you identify your core stories, put them in writing. Try a good, old-fashioned notecard or a page in a three-ring-binder because they are easy to move around and sort as needed. This works great when writing a speech or preparing a presentation with a time limit. Because you have your main modules (each note card), you can easily add and subtract until you land on the perfect combination that suits the situation and the available time.
Don’t worry about telling your story perfectly for now. As you get more experience telling the story, you’ll learn which elements work, and which need a bit more practice.
How do you find the stories you’ll tell?
Your audience might be interested in stories such as:
Your company’s origin story.
Did your company start in the president’s garage? Did your company begin because your founder saw an untapped market? What is the organization’s reason for being, and how does that relate to the values your key players hold?
Consider case studies.
Everyone loves a good story where a hero rises above conflict. A case study has all this and more—and it showcases your company as the guide who helped the hero solve their problem. Tell the story in a way that walks listeners through the problem, process and resolution, and you’ll have your audience sitting on the edge of their seats.
Stories from the news, a movie, or a book.
Sometimes the perfect story to illustrate your point isn’t from your personal experience. Stories from pop culture can be a quick way to get everyone to share a common vision, provided your audience is familiar with the reference.
Know your main topics.
This one might take more work, but it’s good to have a few stories prepared that relate to the key topics you speak about often. List your topics, and then jot down ideas as they occur to you. Ask your customer support and client-facing team members to tell you about situations where your clients raved about their experience with your product or service.
Share your company values.
Your personal, and company, values say a lot about how you do business. What are your values, and how do they relate to how you serve customers?
Go behind the curtain.
People are always curious about what takes place behind the scenes. Use video, photos, and stories that give your audience a glimpse into how you do what you do.
Consider the buyer’s journey.
Think about the process a typical buyer takes as they move from complete unawareness of your company to ultimately becoming a client. Come up with a story to illustrate each stage of the process.
You'll be a more confident speaker and writer when you have a bank of stories you can pull from to illustrate key points. Great speakers and writers are rarely born. Instead, they build camaraderie because they take time to plan and prepare. In doing so, they make a connection because the audience feels like the engaging story is being told for the first time, just for them.