A Great Story:
7 Steps!

A Great Story: 7 Steps!

Last year I gave a seminar for business women called ‘Women Do Marketing Differently’. Part of it was about mistakes women make with marketing.

One of those mistakes was the fact that many of the businesswomen are still trapped in the ‘old school’ of marketing. When they communicate they try to be professional instead of telling a story. Many women are still hesitating in telling their own story and sharing their own S.O.S: how their Story of Struggle turned into a Story of Success.

Nothing sales better today than telling a story, if that story is been told correctly.

Stories that are told well are always about people and events that changed people’s lives in some way, anecdotes create emotion and interest. They teach without preaching. They paint mental pictures that are worth a thousand buzzwords.

Here is a seven-step process how to tell a good story:

Start with the end in mind

You don’t tell a story for the sake of telling it. You need to know exactly what you want the listener to believe, understand or do when you’ve completed the story. In social settings, stories are generally told to strengthen relationships. You might tell a funny story, for instance in order to ‘break the ice’ so everyone could laugh and feel closer to you and everyone else.

The same thing is true in business. You want to show that you are an authentic person so people can get to know you and then like you and in the end trust you. In addition to creating a better relationship, the story should shed some light on whatever product or service you wish to present to your audience.

For example, if you are a web designer you might want to tell a story about a client you helped, or how you improved someone’s web presence and prevented a disaster in sales for that person. If you’re trying to nurture trust, you might tell a story about how you overcame temptation and did the right thing.

Have a punch line

Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. However, when you tell a story, the most important is the ending of the story, which should make the point that you’re trying to communicate.
For example, if you want to convince a customer that your services are reliable and that you will over-deliver, you might select a story where you or your team worked through a holiday weekend to make sure a customer got what she needed and you fixed it faster than they would have thought it would be possible.

Use the 5 ‘W’ questions to direct your story

Who – What – Where – When – Why – How?
The number one mistake people make when telling a story is that they do not use the imagination of the listener from the start. Memorable stories engage the imagination, which is only possible if you create images in the listener’s mind to make the story real and relevant.

If you read or watched any great story or movie it starts with a person [who is going to do something], a place [where things are going to happen], a time [so people can relate 'then' to 'now'], and just a hint of direction, indicating where the story is headed.
Here are some examples from famous stories [and a gold star to anyone who recognizes all three]:

  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms: it was a hobbit-hole and that means comfort.
  • Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I though I would sail about a little…
  • Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do…

Emotional is memorable

Memorable stories are always attached to powerful emotions. Add emotional power by putting the four elements above into stronger context. For example, suppose the simple facts of your story begin like this:
It was late Friday before a long weekend holiday, and I got a call from one of my most loyal clients. Her husband recently died and she discovered that the only thing he had left her were… debts. At the same time her business was losing money.

Now, here’s the same beginning, but with some additional details for context:
A few months ago I was on the edge of a burnout I’ve been launching a new line of coaching services and creating a whole web presence. After months of hard work and overtime, I was looking forward to a long holiday weekend, the first in months without a looming deadline. As you can imagine, that Friday was almost like a holiday itself. i was relaxed and happy. Then I get this call…

The first version might spark some interest, especially among people who live and breathe coaching, but the second version makes you ‘feel like you’re there’.

Every story is a journey of overcoming obstacles

Every memorable story has a plot, a goal that the character must achieve, along with the obstacles that might prevent them from achieving the goal.
For example, in the story about coaching your client, the complications might be:
• The customer was frustrated and uncooperative.
• The coach was exhausted.
• The customer problem was difficult to solve.
• The clock was ticking toward a hard deadline.

Describe the turning point

In every story, there is a turning point, a decision that allows the person or people involved to overcome the obstacle and achieve the goal. In the case of the coaching story, for instance, the turning point might be when the coach said something that triggered the person to be willing to listen, or that the coach realized where the real problem is and gave a 3 step solution to it.

It’s important not to confuse the decision [or turning point] with the ending of the story. The turning point is not ‘what happened’, it’s the decision that caused what happened to happen.

Provide the lesson from the story

You end the story by describing how the goal was achieved, tying that ending to the lesson you want to leave in the mind of the listener. For example, the coaching story might end with:
By Sunday evening after spending a few hours of coaching not only was she stronger to face her challenges, but also she had a plan of what to do on Monday morning with her finances and she vowed to ‘never give up on her dreams’.


Sharing is caring!
Now I’m curious…
What would be YOUR STORY that you would tell to gain the TRUST of your customers?
Share with us your stories in how to gain the trust of your target audience.
Share with us in, the comment box below.

Thank you!

Vered Neta

Trainer, coach and author of ‘Financial Independence for Women’. Helping to create personal, business and financial success. I am the co-founder of Open Circles Academy, and founder of Balanced Business Women. My long term goal is to support women on their path to become conscious millionaires and leaders in their field of expertise. Let’s connect on Facebook or follow me onTwitter.

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