In case you need to convince a customer that your solution is the right one, if you know that the client who is not convinced won’t buy, and therefore you lose the business opportunity, then storytelling is right for you, because it shows the customer the importance of finding the right solution for the problem: YOUR SOLUTION.
Storytelling, or the art of telling stories, has ancient origins; it is not a modern marketing strategy.
The stories work because they have emotive implications, because they involve people who, listening to them, try spontaneously to give meaning to every step described.
In this post, you will learn a method of writing a story which will provide you with
a strong selling point.
To write a good story, you must engage your customer, so keep in mind three principles:
- Leverage logic and rationality
- Appeal to the customers’ emotive side
- Convince people to share your values
If we (emotionally) identify ourselves with Peter Pan or Cinderella, the story will give us a good (rational) lesson that we will never forget.
To immerse your client in the story, when storytelling you need to get inside their head and touch their nerve points: their fears and difficulties.
What you should do when you interview your customers is to follow this outline, based on three simple steps: the pain, the suspense, and the resolution. *
1. What was your problem? (Drama)
Every story is born from a problem (Peter Pan lost his shadow and Cinderella was forced to toil as a housemaid). The problem must be real, and better still, one everyone can relate to.
CAF: “We needed a new WiFi system that offers secure and traceable access for users […] The company is constantly subjected to external audits, from clients used to dealing with the latest IT and communication systems, since these are investment banks and foreign funds.”
Then recall the consequences the problem could have generated, if not solved:
2. What would have happened if I did not resolve the problem? (Suspense)
This step is important, because it makes your interlocutor focus on the importance of your decision, and feel a sense of gratification that something negative was avoided.
CAF: “Without improving our standards, without keeping ourselves focused on technology, we would have not been able to comply with the highest standards of reliability and safety of the Standard & Poor’s rating process that the company is subject to.”
Only now arrives the solution:
3. Which problem have you resolved, with the help of our solution? (Resolution)
The customer must tell what actually happened, better still if you’re able to extract some concrete details from him (savings in €/month, percentages of processes optimization…).
He must confirm that his problem, which caused him to lose sleep at night, was resolved by the solution.
CAF: “The Wildix solution […] Overlay allows us to access the detailed chronology of connections. We have obtained a fast and efficient monitoring system, with specific internal control functions, but at the same time, with respect to privacy rules which the company pays maximum attention to. Standard & Poor’s approved.”
It doesn’t matter that the customer tells you every single detail of the installation or a list of functionalities that he finds interesting.
The story works only if you describe the problem, explaining the way it has been resolved.
Cinderella cares for the love of Prince Charming, Peter Pan – for eternal youth,
and as for your clients, they care for your expert work, your solution.
Convincing your potential customers to resolve their problems is the key to your success.
«A hungry fox, as soon as he spotted grapes dangling on the vine, tried unsuccessfully to take them. As he left, he thought to himself: “They are not ripe.” This also happens to some men: because they are unable to overcome challenges, they blame the circumstances.”
The Fox and the Grapes. Aesop
2570 years ago
* Hank Barnes, Tech Go-to-Market: Embrace Authentic Storytelling That Links Business Value With Capabilities to Engage Technology Buyers – © Gartner – Published: 30 January 2015