Storytelling in Sales - How to Market your Product the Right Way (Detailed Guide)

Mahenoor Mansuri Mahenoor Mansuri
Dec 30, 2021 10 min read
Storytelling in Sales - How to Market your Product the Right Way (Detailed Guide)

Remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare; the lion and the mouse and the fox and the grapes?

Now think of how many times you have been told about any of these stories in your childhood or your whole life? Now think of the table of thirteen. 13Γ—7=?

You probably remember and know about any one of these stories, even though you never tried to learn them by heart. However, you did try to learn the table of thirteen, and still might have some problem giving a direct answer to the question above. Anyway, the point here has been proved. Stories are more memorable as compared to the stats/ data that you tell a person.

Imagine an inanimate object talking to you, convincing you to get or buy something from them. It is as bizarre as it sounds, but how often do we notice this? So if you are a business dealing with people or working with other businesses, make a mental note of this. Do not make the same mistake committed by many other companies. When thinking of an organization, no person likes to picture a pillar of a building or any other inanimate object persuading them.

Now, imagine a person telling you their story and why you should buy the item they are selling. What's in it for you? Leaving you feeling inspired, happy or motivated towards what you just heard. The value it will deliver to you and how it can make your day-to-day tasks easier and better.

What scenario serves you better?

Of course the second one. It is imperative to communicate, to convey our messages. But the art of storytelling is not understood by everyone. People are more likely to be responsive when they see a face, feel connected, and know you better.

The Power of Storytelling
Why do Brands use Mascots?
Advantages of Storytelling in Sales
Elements of a Story
Communicating Strategically
Tips to Guide you into the Process of Writing Storytelling in Sales
Types of Storytelling in Sales
Tips for Better Storytelling in Sales
FAQ

The Power of Storytelling

How stories work 

Did you know?

There are two types of thinking: left-brain thinking and right brain thinking. Each side controls the corresponding side of your body. One leans towards analytical thinking and the other works with emotions.

Fun fact: Researchers have revealed that when taking a decision the response is more likely to be made based on emotional appeal.

Choices are based predominantly on the emotional side of the brain. And what brings out emotions like a well-written story?

Why do Brands use Mascots?

Amul Girl- famously known for humour
Amul Girl- famously known for humour

To add a human touch. For e.g., take the Amul girl; you immediately link her to humour because of the stories told to you through her in illustrations.

Amul Mascot - Kamala Harris
Amul Mascot - Kamala Harris

Throughout history, stories have been told in different ways on this planet. We as humans have been telling stories through visuals (in caves), with words (verbally), along the course until people came up with the idea of language giving birth to text. The shifting culture to print and the most recent addition to those in PowerPoint.

Advantages of Storytelling in Sales

  1. It is a powerful tool that can help you connect adding an authentic touch to your brand.
  2. Your brand stands out to be more effective and differentiated.
  3. Establishes your point of difference as a brand.
  4. Gets the job of delivering your brands message.
  5. Connects you with your customers.
  6. The audience can recall your brand better and recognize it.
  7. Stories motivate your audience to act.
  8. They facilitate word-of-mouth advertising.

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Elements of a Story

Before diving into storytelling in sales, you must know the basic elements of a story itself.

The five elements of a story

Exposition

This begins your story. Create a setting, a world, where your characters live, be it space, a jungle, or the contemporary world. Who are your characters? Who is the main character? What is the background of your characters that the audience would know about? What is the problem that the main character is facing? The conflict.

Rising action

Rising action drives the story forward. If there is a problem then it needs to be addressed; if nothing is done about it, your story can't move forward. This is the part where the main character makes their move or basically performs any sort of action that will help solve the problem. This leads us to the next part, i.e. the climax.

Climax/The turning point

This is the turning point, during the climax; the emotions are on high alert. So you can take the lead of the story and decide what sort of choices your character makes that makes the audience be on the edge of their seats. The challenges are thrown at the protagonists.

Falling action

As the climax, the action here is not as enthralling. Remember, you need to give your audience a break. You know, the story is close to its conclusion when the action falls. In either case, the falling action will have a part where the problem is solved or a completely new problem emerges for your protagonist.

The Resolution

Here comes the part of your story where it ends, and it all makes sense, all the questions are answered and the journey of character development is complete. There are two possible endings: happy ending, or continuation, which would mean another part, but it's entirely up to you. You control the narrative and you are the captain of the ship.

Communicating Strategically

Communication, if not done strategically, is a waste of effort.

Have a Goal

Talking without purpose or having a predetermined aim will get you nowhere. Know what you want to talk about, what is it that you want your audience to know? Do you want to inform them about something? Or make a connection? Identify the purpose of your story, be it in any form. It will help you get where you want to go.

Know your Audience

Maybe this does not sound as significant to you right now. But would you not agree if I told you that there is a difference between the way you speak to your kid vs the way you speak to your boss? The tone for the first example will be empathetic or strict, and you definitely would not use the word "AIDA" (Attention - Interest - Desire - Action) around your child, throwing jargon from the advertising world. Simply because they would not know the meaning of it in the first place.

On the other hand, while you are talking to your boss, your tone would sound more professional and you might use business-related terms like "creative brief" or "advertorial" if you work in an advertising agency.

Now you really see how knowing your audience helps and the importance it holds when communicating with others. Teenagers will understand the slang while senior citizens won't. Know your audience before you tell your story. Your message will be clear and delivered so that your audience perceives it exactly as you intend.

Answer the questions "What's in it for me?"

The purpose is what drives people to act. What is the importance of what you sell in their lives? The spark that differentiates you. Show them how you stand out? What is the unique value that your company is offering that no one else is? This also helps to establish common ground.

Give a Reason: why?

People don't like to be told to do something unless you give them a reason. Why should they need what you are offering? Why should they buy it? So if they decide to purchase your products, what do they get? Why should they buy it? If you do not communicate the need, the barriers to communication will remain unaddressed that your audience will get by using your product or service.

If you are creative enough, you can also create a need or a want for your product in your audience's mind. Communicate.


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Tips to Guide you into the Process of Writing Storytelling in Sales

Clip from The Art of Business Storytelling by Ameen Haque
  1. Use the correct medium: know what medium you are writing for the tone, and the length of the copy will depend on this.
  2. Set a background theme and choose your characters.
  3. Have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  4. Find common ground: make the situations and characters in your story relatable.
  5. Use cliffhangers to create suspense or catch their attention.
  6. Human touch is significant because it makes your advertisement feel more human.
  7. Make sure you arouse these three hormones:
  • Dopamine: It is responsible for evoking feelings of elation and excitement. Make your audience more focused, attentive and creative as well.
  • Oxytocin: This induces feelings of lowering stress, making them more relaxed, creating warm and fuzzy feelings. Which could result in making your audience trust you, more, bond with you and allow them to be more sharing with you.
  • Endorphins: Endorphins create feelings of well-being and euphoria.

Types of Storytelling in Sales

Agitate - problem - solve

Most businesses use these types of storytelling in Sales. Describe the problem and resolve it. Agitate- problem- solve. In this type of story, the organization begins by showing the problem that the consumer faces. And it is made known to the consumer that their pain is heard and seen. Invoking the emotion of empathy towards the customer. And finally, the problem is solved by showing how your product solves the customers' issue.

Use Analogies, Similes and Metaphors

Using these poetic devices makes the stories creative in a good way. Use an analogy to explain your point. Explain the idea or the concept when comparing two things which are alike.

Metaphors are used more in a poetic sort of way, directly comparing two things. Whereas simile will use words like as and like to make comparisons. These help you cut through the noise and deliver your complex message in a simple way.

For e.g. "As well as normalize conversations about periods to the extent that it's as normal as discussing last night's dinner."

One of the lines said by Anjali Suaran on the Main Hoon Yuvaa podcast makes us realize how much periods as a topic is still taboo topic to talk about.

Consumers testimonials

Where do you turn if you need advice? To someone who has had experience in an area and has expertise. That is why we have experts, mentors and guides that we know will have the answers to our questions. People that you can trust. Building trust is not an easy job.

Customers hesitate before they try out your product or the service that your company is offering. This is where consumer testimonials come to your rescue and make a good fit for the storytelling tool.

By having customers who have already used your product and had their needs met, you will have added credibility and trust with your company. Sharing the story of your customers to resonate better and memorials

You as an organization

Building a personal connection, communicating your mission and vision, the achievements that you have accomplished so far, how are you playing your part in making this world a better place? What is your backstory? What are the obstacles that you might have overcome in the past while solving problems? Answer any other questions that your consumer might have about you as a brand creatively.

Be Repetitive and Eventually get back to the Ultimate point

Facts, a quote from someone who is looked up to, a phrase, or an idiom that is already accepted universally, can sometimes simply do the trick. If people already agree with what you are saying, they are more likely to listen to what you are going to say next.

Unfold the story with consistency. One cannot have a thrilling opening, a dull middle, and simply just the ending. It is important to balance all the elements of the story, starting with the exposition and ending with the climax. And eventually getting to the ultimate point of making the story come to a full circle.

Tell your Success story

A journey matters. Take them from point A to point B, from where you started and where you are right now. Success stories do not have to be limited to your organization; you can also get your employees to share their personal stories. Why they love working with your brand. Why do they do what they do? This will create a positive brand image in your audience's mind, getting to know you, your people and the success stories.

Tips for Better Storytelling in Sales

The Do's

  • Making consumers' lives better.
  • Have a clear goal before speaking.
  • Keep it relevant to be impactful.
  • Keep it brief and short.
  • Sell more than just a product or a service.
  • Make them emotionally invested.
  • Remember that you are working with visuals so show doesn't tell.
  • Create an ending that makes them act.
  • Show how to solve the problem.

The Don'ts:

  • Do not tell your audience a long story, They will eventually lose interest in your story.
  • Do not speak without a goal or a purpose.
  • Do not spend too much time explaining the details unless it is really important.
  • Do not focus on you as an organization. Focus on the audience.
  • Do not offend your audience.
  • Do not invite give false information; it will negatively impact your image.

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FAQ

How to use storytelling in marketing?

Tell the story of how you started your business, Share your customers' stories, Share customer experiences on social media, and share stories of your employees or your company culture.

What are the 4 P's of storytelling?

The 4 P's of storytelling are People, Place, Plot, and Purpose.

How is storytelling used in sales?

Storytelling makes your prospects more meaningful stories humanizes your selling.

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