I love seeing people succeed…
Back in 2014, I started working with a young British copywriter named Chris Wright. We did a 12-month copywriting coaching arrangement. And as part of that, he also flew over from Brighton, UK to Lincoln, NE during a very cold November, to attend my direct response copywriting workshop.
We stayed in touch for the next few years, and I even managed to hire him as a junior copywriter on a few projects before he got snagged by a major financial publisher on an exclusive deal.
Apparently he does still get to dabble though. Because he just wrote a health supplement promo, and I stumbled on a Facebook conversation praising his success.
Even in the middle of this crisis, this promo is doing 500 sales per day.
I can’t share the promo but I did manage to get my hands on it, and here’s what struck me immediately…
It’s just one big story.
One really simple story.
Written in a customer’s voice.
Telling the customer’s story.
Going through the process of having a problem, wanting a solution, having trouble finding it, discovering it, and then experiencing incredible results.
It all feels very human.
It’s no wonder it’s selling so well.
Again, even in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.
This speaks to the power of really learning to use story as a selling tool…
On that topic, I have two lessons today.
The first, is a student takeaway. The second, an overview of the 3 Pillars of Highly-Effective Story Selling.
First, the student takeaway.
This is from someone who is going through my Story Selling Master Class on BTMSinsiders. The program where I fully broke down the deep-level understanding that it takes to reach story selling mastery.
This student took me seriously in my request to share his takeaways from the program.
This first lesson is about building the CHARACTER you are using to sell.
In Chris’s case above, it was the character of the customer telling the story. In other cases it could be you or your client, as the marketer. In other cases, it could be someone else entirely.
The key is to be intentional about defining your character in the selling messages you put out.
Here’s the takeaway, straight from my BTMSinsiders member…
Here’s my Story Selling Master Class Lesson 1 Takeaway:
In traditional storytelling, the character or hero’s two journeys (inner and outer) ARE the story.
The character fills the role of the “sage on the stage” and the reader follows the character’s adventures and evolution over the path (story) of the journey. The path itself can follow any defined story structure.
In story selling, the character is more of a “guide on the side.”
By building affinity (“I know you, I understand you, I can help you”), the character becomes a representation of who you are in the prospect’s mind, and becomes a known, likable, and trustworthy proxy.
The higher the level of affinity is, the stronger the trust (and selling) connection is.
Strategic use of stories in prospect and customer communication can build or reinforce certain character traits and attributes that make the prospect or customer more attracted to you.
Storytelling used this way is an intentional, planned, deliberate strategy of building rapport (especially useful when playing the long game), as opposed to using isolated stories as an engagement mechanism.
The character leads the prospect down a clearly defined sales pathway (PAIS mentioned here, many others are possible). Exact approaches depend on the character’s current role and relationship with the prospect, as well as the prospect’s current state of awareness.
Perhaps more concisely:
It’s not about the character, it’s about finding the story that resonates with the audience, the connection that exists between the character and the audience, and focusing on those connections through character building and storytelling in order to be more persuasive to that audience.
Story creates a nonconscious emotional state (think of a “packed suitcase”) that can carry much more “mental weight” than a single conscious thought at a time, connecting on a far deeper level than any logical argument.
This creates emotional motivation and justifies logical decisions.
Steve wasn’t really writing this to be published. But I asked him if I could share it, because it condenses so much of why we define our character and use story selling in the first place.
I thought it would be useful for your understanding.
Next up, let me put it in context…
The 3 Pillars of Highly-Effective Story Selling…
This is the second big lesson for today. Steve spoke to it a bit, but it goes deeper.
One of the key things that distinguishes my Story Selling Master Class is that I recognize it’s not just about telling stories. And it’s not just about character either. And it’s not just about selling.
It’s about how all three of those combine in a powerful way, into masterful story selling.
It’s when you have the character that resonates with the audience… Telling a compelling story… Leading naturally into the selling proposition…
That you’re writing stories like Chris, stories making 500 sales per day.
(Seriously, I don’t know what the cart value is on that, or any of the specific numbers, but here’s some basic math. If the average order is $50, that’s $25,000 per day on a front-end offer. If it’s $100, that’s $50,000 per day. Even at $25,000 per day, that’s $750,000 per month. Not too shabby. Go Chris!)
Here’s a bit more insight into these, The 3 Pillars of Highly-Effective Story Selling…
The role of Character in Story Selling…
When you’re using stories in your selling, people aren’t buying the story. They’re buying the story teller. That’s you.
Your goal in using stories then is to develop an impression of you, the story teller, that fosters the purchase.
What do the stories you tell say about you?
What reputation do they help build?
What beliefs do they convey?
How do they align you with the audience, your prospect?
These are just the start of the questions and considerations that go into character-building in story selling.
Done right, the effects are immense. Most people think of selling as a one-time event. But great entrepreneurs and marketers think in terms of relationship. While you may not make the sale this time, everything you do can lead to a relationship that will foster future sales.
And so the better you use character to your advantage, the more you help sales today AND tomorrow!
The role of Story in Story Selling…
This is the central pillar, for a reason.
Stories are obvious, but no less important when it comes to story selling.
Here’s what you really need to know.
While the fundamental principles of good storytelling still apply, not all the story structures used in traditional drama are relevant to selling.
Rather, through time, there’s a bit over a dozen standard “selling stories” that are used over and over and over again in marketing and selling situations.
These are tried-and-true templates that represent stories that work.
You can dramatically shortcut your story selling success by using these as a guide as you identify, develop, and tell your own selling stories.
One example: My PAISA formula. I had a problem. It was hugely agitating. I compared my options, but they were all invalid. Then I finally figured out the solution. Here’s the action to take. (Yes, that’s overly simplified. But it makes the point.)
The role of Selling in Story Selling…
It’s called Story SELLING and not Story TELLING for a reason.
Our intent, beginning-to-end, is to make a sale. Maybe that’s an actual purchase. Maybe it’s persuading the prospect to take another action that brings them closer to the purchase.
For this reason, you can’t forget the principles of selling, even as you develop compelling stories to tell.
The good news? Stories fit in perfectly with selling, and can be used at almost every step of the process.
You can use stories to open the sales conversation… To get attention… To build interest in you… To convey to the prospect you understand them… To present buying criteria for your solution… To present the solution itself… In making the offer… In spurring the prospect to take urgent action…
Story can fit in every step of the process. It’s just a matter of making sure that’s an integral part of your approach in using story.
This is a cursory overview that doesn’t even do these 3 pillars justice!
If this sounds interesting to you and you want to go deeper, that’s what The Story Selling Master Class is for. This program originally sold for $497, but is now part of the BTMSinsiders training library.
With a BTMSinsiders All-Access Pass, you get access to Story Selling Master Class, plus the rest of the training library. Plus all new training for as long as you maintain your membership.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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