It’s simply not enough to have a product or service that just solves a problem. To resonate more with audiences, you need to go one step further and do what humans do as part of their daily communication – tell stories.  Storytelling is one of those things that is obvious once you explain it, but many businesses still struggle to grasp its potential value.

I don’t mean sitting down with your clients and reading them a bedtime story or some spurious fable. I mean sharing a relevant journey of a lived experience where the hero of the story (often your clients) triumph and win the day, leaving a lesson, a call to action, like buying your stuff or agreeing to a change. Storytelling in business is great for improving connection and engaging your audience.

Stories bring people together and they’re a great way to build trust for an organisation. The ability to strike an emotional connection with your audience is a powerful tool that you should be using today.  Storytelling is selling.  Stories have the ability to change the way people think and feel – which can be very powerful.

There are 7 key reasons why using storytelling can benefit your business, its business communication, and its marketing.

1. You Can Talk Without Sounding Like a Sales Pitch

We live in a culture where self-promotion is seen as something negative. We’re surrounded by people pitching their stuff, on social media and elsewhere. For many, it’s an instant turn-off. Storytelling is a way to get around that problem.

Business storytelling – especially in content marketing – allows you to talk about your business story without it sounding like a sales pitch.

You can talk about the benefits of your product or service and how others will benefit by telling a story they can relate to.  Also, people will listen to you not because you are “selling” them a product, but because you are entertaining them with a story.

2. The Audience Sticks With Your Message

We like stories because they make sense of things. Our minds cannot process masses of details and facts at once.  It’s not only about grabbing your audience’s attention; it’s about keeping it!

Stories, however, are much easier to process because they are condensed, memorable, and can convey a variety of emotions. Facts and statistics can be interesting, but people also forget them very quickly.

Stories capture people’s attention for longer periods of time and stay with them because they contain rich insights.

3. Your Experience Resonates

Effective storytelling is a great way to convey the practical application of your products or services.

For example, if you offer business training, you could tell the story of a company that overcame adversity and stayed strong by using the wisdom contained in one of your business training seminars.

This works because the audience struggles and cheers with you as you overcome the “wall” you faced before breaking through to success. You come across as believable, vulnerable, and successful – all in one story!

A customer will identify with this story and assume that what worked, in this case, will work for them. They will see you not only as a person they can relate to but also as a leader who tells the truth about how things really are!

4. You Can Get Your Audience to Imagine the ‘What If’

The “what if” is an extremely useful storytelling technique. It allows you to create a scenario from which the story develops.

Great persuasion requires that you envision the end goal. Stories give people the opportunity to do this through mental imagery.  You can persuade people by jumping from the present to the future by imagining these things through a story.

5. You Create a Better Understanding of Your Business

It can be difficult for people who are not part of your company to understand your culture, mission, and vision. Storytelling can help them connect and understand how your company works and what it stands for.

It’s the perfect way to get your brand story across.

6. You Bring people together around an experience

The positive impact of storytelling is recognized as one of the seven universal languages. It is the most universal and innate language that connects us all as humans. It connects people and creates a sense of community.

Organizations can use storytelling to foster group cohesion based on shared understanding. They can do this by telling stories that they have in common.

For example, telling stories about a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative can bring employees together by presenting them with a common goal.

The goal could be to give back to the community in a meaningful way. People feel more connected to the company when they share common goals and values that are embedded in a story.

7. Stories Help You to Persuade

It’s always easier to persuade people through a story. Our minds can not resist being appealed to by a story. A good story causes our brain to make associations with other situations we have already experienced.

As a result, we are much more likely to believe what we are told.

Business decisions are not made by logic alone. Emotions play a big role in how people make their decisions. Storytelling is one of the ways that you can get people to feel about your business. These emotions can be about trust, desire, or enabling their desires, for example.

This is why storytelling marketing is so effective.

So How Can You Start Using Storytelling in Your Business?

First, you need a plot. You need some content for your story.  Just to get the juices flowing, why not recall the last time you overcame some adversity, made a useful insight or identified a trend.  How about when you went above and beyond to achieve something?

Then turn your content into a story and publish it.  Why not…

  • Write a blog post in which you include a story. This has the added benefit of getting your blog to the top of search engine rankings.  Share it via email with your clients or prospects.
  • Write a story about someone who overcomes a difficult situation by using your product or service and using it in a sales pitch or presentation.
  • Ask your employees to share one of their personal stories in which they overcame a challenge using a product or service you offer.  Add this to a Mailshot or use as other marketing collateral like your website or even a bid answer.
  • Use your story as the basis for your elevator pitch. And remember, elevator pitches are not just for elevators!
  • Post your story on social media and mention your company.

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