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Case Study: How to Tell Stories that Sell

“Facts tell; stories sell.”  That’s from Marie Forleo, and she is SO right.  Storytelling is the essence of all good writing, whether writing a novel or a business blog—and whether you’re selling widgets or doing deep, emotional personal coaching work.

But sometimes, figuring out which stories to tell can be challenging—especially if you’re not doing deep, emotional personal coaching-type work.  How does a personal story relate to selling widgets, or accounting software, or interior decorating, as someone recently asked me:

I do interior design and home organizing … I don’t really understand what type of stories I’m supposed to be recalling. Personal stories? How would a personal story… have anything to do with my business? I guess I’m just confused as to what life moments I’m supposed to be drawing from.

COMING SOON

When you’re selling something that doesn’t immediately seem to involve deep, emotional turning points, like accounting software, or selling something that might be considered a luxury like interior design, it can be challenging to figure out what kinds of stories will help you sell your product.

Here’s the key: The story should relate to the pain your customer is feeling right before they buy, but the details and subject matter don’t have to be the same.

Every product or service has a specific pain point that it helps solve, and you have to know what your client’s pain point is before you can sell her diddly.

Think about the silly infomercials you see on TV for the latest “AS SEEN ON TV!” product.  I call them “problems you didn’t know you had.”  I can think of one I saw recently in particular where the whole first part of the commercial showed how difficult it is to wash your feet in the shower (??) before introducing this sort of rubber slipper thing with lots of little fingers that you rub your foot on to get it clean.

Genius! I have to have it!

OK, maybe not. 😉 But you get the idea: the commercial had to show me the story of how hard it was to wash my feet before I’d even consider buying the product.  It had to relate to what it hoped was my pain point by telling me the story of other people going through the same thing.

For a widget, that’s pretty easy; most physical products have a very specific use and problem they solve.

For accounting software, the pain point might be the tedium of keeping track of your finances, the pain of finding an error in your bookkeeping, or the horror of getting audited.

For a luxury service like our interior decorator and home organizer, she might need to dig a little deeper.  What if her client is secretly afraid that she should be able to get organized or decorate her home by herself?  Our decorator friend could tell the story of a time when she delegated a task to a professional and it turned out beautifully.

That’s the sort of story that sells, and it all comes back to knowing your customer and her unique pain points.

Take action now and leave a comment below listing one of your customer’s pain points and a story you could tell that relates.

Still not sure how to tell stories that sell?  My Blogstorming service can help you get clarity around why and how to make your blog sell for you.

Photo Credit: zenobia_joy via Compfight cc

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2 Responses to Case Study: How to Tell Stories that Sell

  1. Love this. It’s something I struggle with as I launch a new business – constantly staying on point with my ideal customer’s pain points. And I’m a Marie student so I just love that you are talking about this! 🙂

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