When accompanied by a great story, selling is easy and fun. If delivered with passion, a clear story has the power to capture emotions. Plus stories that inspire are the easiest for others to remember and share.
In this series on Storytelling for Startups, we discussed:
- Captivating with stories, not facts;
- Setting goals to craft stories for the right audience;
- Grabbing your customer’s attention from the start;
- Capturing people’s emotions to get them talking; and
- The power of presence
Now let’s focus on what people really care about - themselves!
Even when customers are faced with an option to buy several other products that deliver a similar result or solve the same problem, at the end of the day they want to walk away feeling good about their decision.
People make purchase decisions when they have all their questions answered and get excited about something. Regardless of how high up on the ladder they are, people will always be held accountable for their decisions. This provokes internal questions like, “What’s in it for me?” and “What’s the risk to me?”
In order to get someone to switch to your product or service instead of playing it safe, tell them a great story that’s easy for them to repeat to managers and partners when justifying their decision.
After telling a story that has clearly excited a potential customer or investor - PAUSE. You’ve created a masterpiece, now be silent and enjoy it. This allows your audience to digest, answer their internal questions and feel comfortable about making a decision. Instead of shaking hands and leaving the room at the risk they’ll say no, wait as long as necessary for them to speak first.
Perhaps (likely) they’ll ask you a few questions. Great! Here’s your chance to ensure the customer understands your product, and why they should partner with you over the competition.
This could include explaining the negative consequences if they choose poorly (sign with your competitor). Instilling a little more “danger” into the conversation is part of the dance. Make them understand why not buying or investing in your technology is riskier than taking a chance on something new. You’re not making guarantees, you’re presenting a story anchored on a strong argument. And in this Q&A, you’re reinstating the solution to make the decision-maker feel comfortable about their next move.
Still not sure where to start? Check out these awesome stories for inspiration by the entrepreneurs at MIT’s accelerator.