At the end of 2008, I discovered my parents neighbor had filed a lawsuit against them for cutting down a tree they believed was theirs to cut. Before I realized the seriousness of the charges, I attempted to talk with these neighbors on behalf of my mom and dad. The door was slammed in my face and so began my nightmare. The stress from the lawsuit was too much for my dad and less than a week before the trial, my mom found him dead from a massive heart attack. During the next few weeks, my mom suffered from horrible migraines that I attributed to the stress of both events. Almost a month to the date that my dad passed away, I found my mom unresponsive from a stroke.
Two brain surgeries and months of rehabilitation later, my mom survived! I was told point blank by her surgeon that it was a real miracle she was alive and functioning. Many other strange events occurred during these few months and I was beginning to feel cursed. But amazingly, as the sole care giver to my mom, I was able to grow my business significantly during the worst economic downturn since the great depression. I believe it was my faith that sustained me, kept me going, working and carried me through this intense personal trial. My desire, through this condensed version of my story, is to give others the hope and faith that what may seem impossible truly is possible.
I don’t know about you, but compelling personal stories connect in a way that nothing else can. Stories are authentic and memorable and the story above is based on real life actual events that happened to my family and business. Stories move us emotionally. And since most of us suffer from information overload, a good story can cut through the clutter to grab our attention. In the world of business, where it sometimes seems like traditional mediums of communication are disappearing all around us, a good story is still the best means of generating action.
People will always want to hear about others so why not use the art of storytelling to sell your products or services? Most advertising and marketing campaigns, whether on the web or in print lack valuable content and this includes just about every email campaign I receive. It is important that your corporate message communicate a very clear value to your customer with helpful information that engages and inspires them. Stories that grab your target audience in a way they can identify and benefit from are the best way to sell a product or service.
Your story may be about how people can benefit from using your services. It may describe how someone achieved success from joining or giving to a certain cause. Your story may contain a testimonial from someone else that may inspire. Or, maybe like my story, explains how someone faced countless insurmountable obstacles – personal or business, or even both and overcame them to achieve success. But, whatever the purpose, if you use stories, you’ve got a better chance to reach out and touch someone.
So, how can you put stories to work for your company to connect more effectively with your target market and make the sale?