Storyselling: How to use great digital content to help make the sale


Published on - Learn how to sell without selling using stories. This presentation covers what business storytelling is, why you'd want to use it with your customers and prospects and how you can tell your stories and extend their reach in every relationship building touch point.

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  • The concept of storytelling is popping up in more and more business conversations. Today I want to share with you:- What biz storytelling is- Why you want to use it with your customers / prospects- How you can tell your stories and extend their reachin order to SELL WITHOUT SELLING
  • My GOAL: for us to leave this presentation seeing life through stories.
  • I haven’t set the bar high because we all do this – it is how our brain works. We see life in stories, our brains store information as stories – this is an integral part of being human.
  • But for some reason, when we put the business suit on we get blinded and we check this instinct at the door.
  • So, I’ll set the bar slightly higher – I’m hoping we all walk out of here today understanding: - what stories and business have to do with each other- why we need to be using stories with our customers and prospects- as well as how we use them
  • Think of a story you’ve told today. Think about how natural a process it was.
  • Now,I’m going to tell a story of how I got the idea from this presentation.
  • I was sitting there thinking about what I should talk about for this presentation, twirling my BlackBerry, and I laughed that I wouldn’t be able to do this if I had fallen for the pressure of getting an iPhone – that flashed me back to the story of how I got the phone in the first place.
  • Wanted to get it before the holidays so I could set it up. December got away from me so that I was, going to my parents for Christmas Eve lunch and I knew this was my last chance. I knew what I wanted so it would be a quick process – in and out, right? Well I was delusional about that. If you’ve ever gone through the process, it takes time.
  • So, I got to know a very helpful Justin at the Bell store as he jumped through hoops, filling out all the info, flipping the right switches, asking his colleagues for help, etc., etc.He was thorough though as he wanted my business card so he got all the info just right.
  • I was constantly shifting between the thought of asking him to hurry and the other thought that just a little more pain now will save my time later. If he got the setup right now, I wouldn’t have to be on the phone with support later. So I waited patiently and eventually I was set free with my new phone and off to lunch, almost on time.
  • During the holidays, I logged onto the Bell site to make sure everything was setup properly. I was impressed, the services were correct. My contact info was all good – but I could change this info if it was wrong anyway. Then I got to the end of the profile page and there was one piece of information at the bottom that the site won’t let me change – the name of my company
  • Strategic Storytellers – how hard is that to get right?
  • Well, first I saw “Strategic” – looked good.
  • Then I saw “StorEy” – ok, just a little typo…. And, then I GASPED!
  • They had taken my company’s name, the noble art of storytelling and reduced it to storyselling…After a moment of what seemed like panic, I calmed down and rationalized it….That is what we do for our clients. We help them use their stories to sell their products and services….So, maybe if I could do it all over again, our company name would be clearer if it were Storyselling!!And, that flashback, got me thinking about this presentation.
  • Now, not the most exciting story ever, but at least you got to learn a little bit more about me, how this prez came to be – I’ve lifted the curtain a bit. Why lead with a boring bio – blah, blah, blah - you’ll never remember these boring details anyway.At least with this story you’ll remember something about me. What did this story tell you about me????
  • Stepping back for a sec, what is a story anyway?Story: A character dealing with some obstacle to achieve some goal.Storyselling is the same thing – but you are using that story as a tool to achieve your own goals, outside of the story. So storyselling is not about advertising…
  • … but rather a way to connect with your customers to do more business.
  • Firstly we are going to look at the power of stories.
  • I mean the real power of stories! What makes stories powerful?
  • They are memorable.You can spend hours telling a prospect all about the features and benefits of your solution. One day later they will have forgotten 95%.You will forget at least 95% of this presentation but tomorrow, think about what you remember most of it will probably be from a story or two.So if you want to get in our prospect’s mind – plant a story there – they have a way of growing and replaying in people’s minds even when you aren’t in the room anymore.
  • Stories ‘show’, which is better than just telling. Theybring the value of something to life, give it meaning, they connect with the audience, transport them so they see themselves in the story.But until they can see it, you’ll have to spend a lot more time convincing and reiterating. Like the ghosts in Charles Dickens’ a Christmas Carol. They didn’t tell him how he was wasting his life and hurting others. They showed him and he came to the conclusions himself.
  • Stories are TRUSTWORTHY, there are disarming. You know that feeling when someone is trying to sell you something, you put up your guard.Stories put us in an entertaining frame of mind, lowering our guard of worrying that someone is pushing something on us.
  • Stories spread.Stories - last for years, people make them their own and retell them[that’s what we do as humans].
  • Of course, stories inspire us…
  • Nike isn’t selling sports gear. It is selling a story of hard work, sweat and perseverance.Just Do It is a personal quest for excellence and fulfillment. The Nike story bonds consumers to the brand in a way that escapes competitors like Adidas and New Balance.
  • We have stories inside the walls of Strategic Storytellers too. When I first started this was one of the first stories I heard… The story of Barney’s fishing trip and how it exemplifies the power of storytelling and got him to see the Fairmont brand in a whole new light…
  • The story also involves these cute little guys, an Alaskan cruise and a slate of real characters and, what it taught me was:That stories are memorable and spread – this one happened over 10 years ago and is still being retold todayHow stories can show a brand’s vision - in this case, ‘turning moments into memories”And, heck, that they inspire us too…To get inspired by this story contact me a to hear how it all happened.
  • So, we now know what business stories are [people trying to overcome obstacle to reach goal], that they are powerful but still why do your prospects care about our stories??Because you are at this social media conference, you have some idea that SM landscape is changing everything about our lives. No longer do companies hold the upper hand in the buying relationship. Customers are now in charge and they are expecting more from us.
  • People are now demanding what they really want - People want to do business with people. We’re human,

  • and we crave interaction with people who know us.Customers don’t want a salesman but a partner. 
  • And the great news is: Prospects spending more time on the web doing independent research, obtaining info from peers and other 3rd parties – that leaves the door open for us to be that 3rd party, even that peer. The best way to build credibility and trust is by sharing our story and being a friend/partner by sharinguseful information. We love sharing useful info with our friends, so let’s do it with our customers too.
  • Be a Boy Scout - be helpful and make people want to work with you.Qualities of good sales person have always been – be relevant, foster respect, relationship building, trust…
  • … be a good listener, keep things interesting – but now people are demanding it more and there are more channels/ways for us to be able to demonstrate our skills.What you do and how you act when you first meet someone will affect how they perceive you from then on – so lay the right foundation. [e.g., When connecting with someone on LinkedIn, don’t just use the default message – what does that say about you and how much you care about this individual? – you’re not being memorable.
  • Be the Boy Scout, date your customer, even if you can’t physically see them, show them what it would be like to work with you, so you can differentiate yourself.
  • We did this story for RBC. It is about the hand over of ownership of Centennial Windows from one owner to another.For banks there is a lot of $$ to be had in these transactions. So a company like will have at least 4 banks banging down their door trying to get their business.As a business owner, how do you choose who to go with? The banks are pretty much the same on paper. So, how can a bank stand out from the competition in the minds of its prospects? With a story:, give your prospects aglimpse into their future and where working with you will take them.Use the power of stories to differentiate yourself.
  • So we’ve looked at the power of story, the concept of truly building relationships with your customers who are looking for partners to solve their problems[take the time to date them, listen, be helpful]. Tip: – you can’t fake it. Make sure you actually care and want to help people or don’t even try this as you’ll come off self-serving.
  • How do you bring this all together in real life to get the most out of your awesome story?Step1: Decide on your story.Start by determining a few good stories about who you are, who your business/product is to its customers/staff and tell them to yourself.Example: Ifyou are telling yourself the story about how your brand turns moments into memories, the more you believe that story, the more it will sit on your shoulder…
  • … and act as your guiding light.Because, the more you tell yourself the story, never mind anyone else,the story becomes memorable for you and will begin to live within you.
  • Step 2: Find the right people to connect to – choose a handful.
  • You definitely want to start small.You don’t need to know thousands of people to make a sale. You need to knock the socks off a handful who will buy from you or open you up to their networks. Better to be connected to a few people who send you referrals than thousands of people who don’t know you exist.Also, start small so you don’t overwhelm yourself, so you can delight the peopleyou are building a relationship with and start small so you can start practicing good habits and practice using those guiding light stories.
  • Connect with them the right way -no default/canned messages. You wouldn’t do that on a date but you would ask qs about them.Easiest way to connect with people is to ask them about themselves and their job.What are the pressures facing Mkt people in the packaged good industry these days?What lessons have you learned that you think others should know?Etc.
  • Then, give, give, give. Send them useful information, be helpful to them. Send them articles and videos that help them in their careers.The litmus test to ALWAYS ask yourself:Is the ‘friendly’ information I’m providing my contacts useful to them even if they never buy from me?Even if you haven’t done business with them but have gotten to know them, give them a character reference on LinkedIn.
  • Be a connector -do this as often as possible.They need system to monitor their social media – connect them with someone at Radian6.You hear their pipes burst – connect them with your plumber.This establishes you as a center of influence. And, they will look to you when they have a business problem to solve.
  • With all this story and relationship building information now swirling in our heads, we will take a look at one last thing – Considerations for all the touchpoints that we will have with our great prospects.
  • Never ‘cold’ call again – at least make it lukewarm.Use social to make cold calling more personal by reading up on them, their company and their industry.
  • In person,never be storyless again. Have stories to tell ready, practiced, if you can have video stories ready, they are great flow breakers. If you are presenting a proposal to a client, a great way to end off the presentation is with a video story from a past client. This makes your proposal come to life.
  • Email - use it to drive them down the sales funnel. Don’t waste the space in another email. Sending a thankyou or a meeting reminder, ‘Look forward to seeing you tomorrow for our meeting…’ Use that opportunity to send them useful information. Send them a link to a video in case they have a minute to view it before your meeting. Send links to 3-5 blog posts that would be of interest to your client, etc.
  • Keep tabs on your customers and prospects.These days you can automate everything. Set up alerts for them, their industry, areas of interest, etc. so you always have great content you can share. CreateTwitter lists of clients and prospects so you don’t miss anything they have to say – and pipe in once and a while.
  • Join relevant groups, communities, forums. Participate as a member and expert rather than a sales pusher. Provide your unique expertise to help them solve problems but don’t push a pitch.
  • Snail mail stands out more than every so write a quite note to congratulate them on an award or a project well done. Send them a handwritten note after you’ve linkedin with them to ensure you stay memorable.
  • Here is another story example. This is an example of seizing opportunity, partnering with your customers and utilizing all the touchpoints that you have available.Kerry, Gracie’s owner has become an amazing advocate for Trupanion Pet Insurance because of her experience with the company.Trupanion was tipped off about her enthusiasmwhen she called asking for brochures to handout at dog park and neighbours; she even keeps them in her car.Trupanion took the time to not only mail her the brochures but to find out her story, to reward her for her efforts and now they are being rewarded too with a great story. together this story has:given Kerry better ability to share her passion for the company – video to share with her networks now on FB, etc.given Trupanion a way of making a piece of paper come to life…
  • You might see this piece of paper in your vet office for a free 30 day trial of pet insurance but there is no life to that piece of paper, it is a very unexciting ask and there is nothing here that makes me feel how it could change my future.With this story:sales team can go into vet office and explain their product without vets’ eyes glazing over because now they show the value of a piece of paper with this story and, now when Vets get it they have something to share with their clients so they can get it tooAnd of course, the company uses it on their Website, Facebook, YouTube, etc.They can use it in their email campaigns to try and convert those 30-day policy holders to customers for life. So, this is one example of using the power of story to reach out at all your touchpoints.
  • Become memorable
  • Books on Business Storytelling:The Story Factor by Annette SimmonsSquirrels Inc. by Stephen DenningStories That Sell by Casey HibbardMade To Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
  • I leave you with this…Ernest Hemingway’s friends made a bet with him that he couldn’t write a story in just 6 words. Hemingway won that bet and he wrote what he feels is his best piece of work…
  • Storyselling: How to use great digital content to help make the sale

    1. 1. Welcome to Feb 13 – 17, 2012116 free events, 2000+ attendees, 8000+ event registrationsJoin the conversation on Twitter with #SMWTOTwitter: @SMWTO Facebook: Social Media Week Toronto (SMWTO)
    2. 2. Feb 13 – 17, 2012Produced by
    3. 3. Thank you to ourSponsors and Partners
    4. 4. Storyselling: How to use greatdigital content to help make the sale Presented by: Lisa Horvat @lisahorvat #SMWstory #SMWTO
    5. 5. WARNINGThis presentation won’t make any sense without thespeaker notes. So, please ensure they are viewable,either: – download this presentation and view the speaker notesin powerpointOR – click the ‘Notes on Slide 5’ tab beside the Commentstab [way] belowEnjoy!
    6. 6. Hmmm…
    7. 7. Strategic
    8. 8. StrategicStorey
    9. 9. StrategicStoreysellers
    10. 10. Sell Without Selling By:• Using stories as powerful tools – incorporate personal & business stories into your process• Combining them with your partnering skills – become an interesting resource• Bringing it all to life with every touchpoint
    11. 11. Books & QsThe Story Factor by Annette SimmonsSquirrels Inc by Stephen DenningStories That Sell by Casey HibbardMade To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath
    12. 12. Six Word Stories
    13. 13. Six Word StoriesFor sale: baby shoes, never used.—Ernest HemingwayPlease share your stories at #SMWstory