Sometime in 2013, I started a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) business.
I put my all in it and watched it grow. I loved my business, and I loved how quickly it was growing.
But then tragedy struck…
Fire engulfed the business one year later in the middle of the night, and by the time I came the following morning, the premises were in ruins.
Thousands of dollars gone, just like that. It was heart-wrenching.
It was at that point that I realised that I hadn’t insured my business…
The story above is my true-life story. But notice how I could have easily started talking about an insurance plan that would have worked for me. Something, that my readers would then easily buy into.
I employed the ancient art of storytelling to sell. That is what I call the Art of Story Selling.
If you are a marketer, you would have noticed that selling things outrightly would not likely resonate well with your audience.
They want something they can relate with. That way, they get sold without having the feeling of being sold to.
How do you that? How do you write in such a way that your target audience would be sold without knowing what hit them?
Here are some tips to help you become a better story seller.
1. Talk to your audience like they are your friends
Just like I did in the story above, when you write, tell your stories in a natural form.
If it will work better for you, start your writing with the heading, “Dear X”. In this case, “X” should be your closest friend. Then write your story.
In this article on My Startupceo on managing emails, for instance, the author began his story in a conversational tone.
Reading it was seamless for me because it sounded like he was chatting with a friend. This means you can apply this no matter the topic you are writing on.
Also, after writing, make out time and read out what you wrote to your own hearing. Make all necessary edits until it starts sounding like a story your best friend would love to read.
2. Create suspense
Let’s face it, you may not really be an author.
This means that you are not likely writing for the sake of writing.
You have a goal. And your goal is for your targeted audience to become your customers or clients.
To do that, make sure that your story takes them on a journey.
Don’t tell them everything within the first two lines. Let the story unfold. Make them curious. Use words and sentences that would get your readers to ask themselves, “what happened next?”.
This way, they will keep reading without even knowing that they had gotten sold.
3. Talk about the problem you want to solve
Like the instance I used in my story, the problem was a fire accident.
My job as a story seller was to paint the picture of this problem in a way that my readers would be able to relate to it. At that point, they would be nodding in their minds because this could have been them.
I could also make it worse by backing up my story with statistics.
For instance, I could say that according to US Fire statistics, there were 1,317,500 fire incidents in the United States in 2017. And according to this data in this article on Forbes, 40 per cent of businesses never open after a disaster.
Worse still, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that only 29 per cent out of those that do would still be operating after two years.
Facts like these will help make the problem look scary, and get my readers to start asking for the possible solution to this problem. Use this to your advantage no matter the line of business you do.
This was exactly what Summer Hirst did in this article on Virtual Private Network (VPN) Base. The article was supposed to talk about hackers.
But to drive home her point, she focused on the recent hack that occurred on Quora, which affected more than 100 million users.
As a Quora user, immediately I came across that article, the only question on my mind was, “What do I do to protect myself from these hackers in the future?”.
Doing this effectively will make it very easy for you to sell your solution.
4. Sell your solution like a boss.
You know how sales-y marketers sound, right? It can be annoying. Don’t do that. Don’t sound desperate.
And no matter what you do, don’t ever beg them to buy. Bosses don’t beg. If you sound like you are begging, people won’t want to buy from you.
Why? The simple reason is that people want to buy the best products out there. And the logic is that if what you are selling is so good, you wouldn’t have to beg people to buy it.
5. End your story by asking for the sale.
It is not enough to talk about the solution you provide, go ahead and ask for the sale. You can do this indirectly through a creative CTA (call to action).
It could be to sign up to your newsletter or to click on a link that leads to a check out centre. Or it could be that you gave them a phone number to call for your services.
But don’t ever make the mistake of story-selling without actually asking for the sales.
And as a bonus, make sure you add a wonderful and relatable picture to the story you are selling your audience.
Remember that saying about a picture speaking more than a thousand words? It is true.
By the way, you should not be caught dead using Google images for this.
Or you could use your own personal pictures. These would work better especially if your platform is a social media site.
This will go a long way to boost your engagement.
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