CEOs and business thought leaders have long understood that telling a story can boost sales. The psychology of storytelling is active in every nook and cranny of a corporation. Yet precisely why it has such an impact is often less well understood.
Several studies support the power of storytelling and describe its impact on brain chemistry and neurological pathways. However, here, I wish to offer you three key reasons for the powerful impact of storytelling.
1. People hate sales pitches, but they love a good story.
It explains why cold calling is not as popular as it used to be, and some may say it’s dead. We do not like it when we know someone is trying to sell us something, and younger people are particularly opposed to the ‘hard sell’ approach.
By telling people a story, you can sell in a subtle way that appeals to your audience’s emotions. It allows you to appeal to people’s emotions and build a connection long before an offer is on the table. Most importantly, a story can create a bond between your audience, you, and the product or service you are selling. Storytelling indicates that you see your customer as a person, not just a target, which can lead to an authentic rapport.
2. People forget statistics, but they remember stories.
Think back to the history classes you sat through as a child. You may not remember the precise dates on which a battle occurred or a political leader was born. Still, you probably remember the stories about what happened during that battle or an anecdote about that political leader.
We struggle to remember statistics because they often lack context and thus appear meaningless. Numbers need a narrative. For figures and statistics to affect your audience, you must make them come to life.
3. Logic alone doesn’t drive us.
Emotions also have a part to play. The Myers-Briggs personality test may suggest that some people act out of logic and others, emotion, but none of us are exclusively logical or emotional. Some of us may think of ourselves as very logical beings, but emotion always plays a part in our decision-making. When it comes to purchasing decisions, both logic and emotion are heavily involved.
The power of storytelling is that it allows us to integrate logic and emotion seamlessly. We can satisfy our audience’s logical impulse by describing the relationship between a cause and an effect. By presenting information as a story that involves success or personal improvement, for example, we can appeal to their emotions.
So, remember, whatever you’re selling, facts and figures and the hard sell won’t deliver the results you’re expecting. What can help you is a story that brings your product or service to life and creates an authentic connection between you and your audience. Storytelling is a powerful sales tool and one that will help you close the deal.
Want to learn more about how sharing your personal or brand story can boost your business? Contact me and let’s talk!