In the beginning was the Word, said John, and little did he know it will stay the default part of the Office 365 package. But long before computers and Microsoft Word, even long before writing there was the good old spoken word. Which, in my opinion, remains the best way of human interaction and therefore an unbeatable tool to accomplish your goals.
If you’re a business owner or work at the business company, chances are you have something you want to sell. I believe there’s no need of mentioning that selling methods change quickly and in case you are wondering why your infomercial approach isn’t bringing you any revenue, that may be because everyone got bored with it. It’s time you put your backpack on and hit the road of new perspectives.
Discover your story and tell it
Power Point presentations, brochures and similar material may be your standard selling tools when meeting with possibly new clients. You come in all set, ready to amaze them with what you’ve accomplished so far, swiping through all those slides, tossing statistics and numbers, but guess what? They’ve already seen it. They’ve seen it five minutes ago, last week and even ten years ago and they’re tired of it. Your numbers, graphs, skills and company goals mean little because what’s in there for your prospective clients?
Whether we want to admit it or not, we’re all a bit self-centred and enjoy the sound of our own voice. So why not give it a try and instead of focusing on yourself, provide your future clients with something they will remember you for. Tell them a story. Personal story, funny story, true story, whichever kind of it, but I guarantee you, they will remember it more than your run-of-the-mill Power Point slides. A spontaneous anecdote might stick with them for life. Even though they might not be interested in your product for now, you will surely be the first one to pop in their head when they decide they need it after all.
Opening your presentation with a story will give you a touch of uniqueness, it will make you stand out. In the end, we’re all humans who appreciate the little things and like to feel special and when you give me that treatment, I will definitely be more interested in what you have to say. That’s the thing.
If you can make me buy your product or a service without sounding like you’re trying to sell it, that’s when you know you’re doing great job. Boosting your sales using stories is an art as much as it is a skill. So even if you master the art of storytelling, please have in mind that not every story is suitable for every client in every market.
Adapt the story for your audiences
That’s why it’s important to re-shape them or even change them completely according to where and to whom you’re trying to sell it to. There are two main reasons for that.
First, it’s not a very good practice to use the same story over and over again – it becomes dull and it gives the impression that you didn’t even try. As I said before, your clients need to feel special, like they’re getting their own personalized story and experience. The other, more important reason is the one that we’re always trying to emphasize – different clients will react differently to your presentation.
To some it may be funny, but to others it may be offensive or completely irrelevant.
For example, John from the beginning of this text has a different name in my country and in some parts of the world, he doesn’t even exist, because he’s not part of their culture. Alternatively, you can use examples from books or the Internet, but remember they need to be properly prepared and localized for the target market.
That’s what localization is really all about – helping you say who you are to the foreign audiences in the way that they will completely understand and it essentially works the same in every industry, from tourism to pharmacy, and in every medium, from website to spoken word.