As an entreprenuer, I read lots of blog posts everyday and almost unanimously they all trumpet the importance of storytelling and story in your business and marketing. They say all the same things… people relate to story, we need stories, if you want them to remember then you tell them in story. But why exactly are stories so important? They never tell you why stories matter…
We tell stories because they are about conflict.
One man against nature, or another man (including himself), or against man’s own creations (machines). The good stories always show something to watch out for; something that might diminish your resources, that might take away from what you already have. They relay to us a problem on the horizon, not solutions, at least not at first. The problem catches our attention, and only after we have bought into this problem do we look for the solutions.
Because humans have learned how useful stories can be, we inherently pay attention to them. We want to know when the conflict is coming, where the dangers lie. We simulate them in our heads, putting ourselves in place of the main character, so that we can truly see what’s coming on the horizon.
Stories are about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it, and we all can relate to that in one way or another.
What stories are your customer’s telling? Where are they on their journey? What stories are you telling? Where are YOU on your journey?
These two must be reconciled, your journey (story) and the client’s journey (story). Where the two meet is where you will see increased communication, better understanding, and more sales. If you can truly tap into the real power of stories, the world will sit at your feet.
So,when talking to a client, relate to him or her in story.
Describe the client as the lead character, a person who wants something desperately (Need). Then describe or show the biggest conflict getting in the way of that desire (Problem).
But don’t tell your client the ending right away…
Because there isn’t one right now.
This story will go round and round, repeating endlessly, until a change is made. Until the conflict is overcome somehow. There will be an outcome eventually, but will it be best for the client?
YOU, as the trusted advisor, have to craft an ending to the story for the client. That is your job and really what you have trained for all these years; to provide great endings to client’s stories. If you do not, the client’s conflict will continue and all their time and energy will be wasted in fighting enemies they never needed to fight.
In the beginning, give them the lead Character, the Desire, and the Opposition but save the ending for the right moment, when you’ve built the tension so high the client can’t stand it anymore.