Last month I witnessed a breakthrough in one of my networking groups. This group is full of highly educated, highly articulate professionals. They all have successful businesses in a variety of areas, and one-on-one are interesting individuals. Unfortunately, when we get to the part of the program where each person says their elevator pitch, the energy of the room distinctly drops. The speaker is nervous and hides behind jargon and big numbers. The listeners politely sit, eyes glazed over, quietly asking themselves – “now what does he/she do”?
But this time our wise moderator decided to change things up on us. This session we were asked to come prepared with a story of how we had specifically helped a customer in the recent past. What a difference! The energy of the room went up. Everyone was engaged and full of questions. And this time I left able to understand, and pass on, the value that each person created for his customers.
This is the power of story telling and story re-telling (isn’t that the best word-of-mouth?) Good, word-of-mouth stories often share these elements:
- The damsel (or lord) in distress: The client who is facing a crisis or tough decision. Personal touches help, like first name and the emotional stress that damsel or lord is experiencing.
- The dragon: This is the big business problem that is wreaking havoc on the customer. It also helps if you can allude to past dragon slayers (competitors) who failed.
- The fight: You, of course, are the story’s knight in shining armor. Describe your weapon, your strategy and tactics for effectively slaying the dragon.
- Happily ever after: This is the outcome where not only is the dragon slayed, but life is better than ever for the customer. Here a few compelling numbers really help clinch the audience.
Do you use story-telling? How? Please share in the Comments section below.