Once upon a time, you were just a little kid. Your parents probably read you stories before you went to sleep. Children’s books are designed to teach valuable life lessons; often revolving around friendship, kindness, love and happiness. As every parent’s duty is to help teach their children to blossom into full-functioning adults, parents use the power of storytelling as tools to convey powerful messages and teachings to their children.
In business we can also use stories to our advantage. Stories can help you engage with your clients, win over new clients and boost referrals.
Stories Add Value
The Significant Objects study explored the power of storytelling by examining the monetary value a story can possess. Researchers Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn purchased 100 seemingly insignificant objects on eBay for about $1.29 apiece on average ($128.74 for all 100 objects). These objects range from plastic bananas to wooden bottles. They paired each object with an author to craft a story about the object. They re-listed the objects on eBay with their newly composed tales. With the addition of a captivating story, the 100 objects sold for a surprising $3,612.51. That is a 2,706% increase in value!
The Power of Storytelling for Businesses
People buy from those they know and trust. Most people don’t want to be “sold” something. By telling stories, you become more than a salesperson, you become authentic. Your audience can see you as someone who lives outside of the corporate setting. Stories can help you:
- Earn your audience’s trust
- Connect with clients and prospects
- Be memorable
- Have your message retold
How Do You Convey Your Message?
To craft your story, you must consider your message and your audience.
First, you must define your brand in terms of your mission and values. Ask yourself these questions to get started:
- What does your business do?
- How does your business do it?
- Whom do you do it for?
- What value are you bringing?
Once you answer these questions, you can start piecing together your mission and values.
Your mission is the soul of your firm. It should inspire everyone who hears it and describe your businesses fundamental reason for existing (beyond making money).
Your values are a set of enduring principals that capture the emotion and passion behind your business.
Consider Your Audience
There is no one-size-fits-all story for your business.
Who is your audience? Are they a client, a prospect, a center of influence or a potential referral source?
What is the action you want them to take? Do you want them to simply tell the story to their friends? Perhaps you want them to become a client or buy into a part of your business that they are not yet familiar with.
Answer these questions before you choose a story to tell. Stories are only powerful if told at the correct time, to the correct audience.
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