I’m giving away the farm!
Well, not really. In fact, even though I’ve lived most of my life in Nebraska, I don’t have a farm. Never lived on one.
Close? Absolutely. Past my backyard in the neighborhood I grew up in was a cornfield — the Wenninghoff’s Farm in Northwest Omaha. (We lived right on the edge of town.)
But shopping for fresh sweet corn in their barn-turned-farmer’s-market is the closest I’ve ever come to the “farm life.” Mostly, I was just a suburban middle-class kid who was way more interested in hockey and music than anything stereotypically “Nebraskan.”
Anyways… Getting back on track…
I’m doing the other kind of “giving away the farm.” That is, giving you a TON of value. If you didn’t know the saying (I imagine it’s rather American, and maybe rather Midwestern?) that’s what it means.
So, yesterday I sent folks on the wait list for the Story Selling Master Class this link. It’s a video I just made that reveals The 3 Pillars of Highly Effective Story Selling. PLUS it reveals how big of an impact story selling has had on my life. (If you want to write million-dollar sales letters, perk up your ears!)
Folks on the wait list are getting first-come, first-served on everything. Including any fast response bonuses that may or may not be included with the program. (Wink, wink!) Click here if you want to add your name to the wait list.
And yet, I’m ALSO going to spend a bunch of time in the next couple weeks sharing even more story selling goodness through my daily Breakthrough Marketing Secrets issues.
In fact, my goal is such that even with just the free content I give you, you can immediately up your game and tell or write more compelling stories, that generate more profits for yourself, and your clients if you are a freelancer. And then, for the folks who end up moving forward with the Story Selling Master Class, I’ll take it to yet another level and show you the secrets to true mastery of using story in persuasion.
Today, I want to address one of the big comments or questions that has come up as I’ve spoken and written more about story selling…
How do you find the best stories to tell?
Good news. It’s actually remarkably simple.
It’s not necessarily that easy — at least at first. Because you have to tune yourself into storytelling. So you know what you’re looking for. It helps if you have the dozen-plus templates I’m going to share in the Story Selling Master Class, but you can succeed even before that.
The thing is, we’re all hard-wired to respond to stories. We can feel it in our gut, when we know we have a good one.
Marty Edelston, founder of Boardroom, liked it when copy made him “vibrate.” That was his word for the emotional, visceral, even subconscious reaction to something that just feels compelling.
And I bet you know what I mean.
Have you ever been to a movie that made you laugh? Cry? Wince? Call out to the main character — knowing rationally they couldn’t hear you — telling them they were making the wrong decision?
That’s because you were having a natural reaction to a compelling story.
It’s your gut instinct. And through time, it can actually be refined to be even better. Plus, you can train yourself with the right questions to really start to ask questions in such a way that the best stories come out.
And in fact, so many of the questions are based on one single word, that you can consider this your most-valuable tool, your secret weapon in finding compelling stories to tell…
The magical power of “Why”…
If you’re sitting down with yourself to come up with stories… Or if you’re starting an interview with a client…
Write, in big letters, at the top of your paper: WHY?
Start asking a ton of why questions, and shut up in between them!
— Why did you get into this field?
— Why did you start this business?
— Why did you create this product?
— Why are you offering this service?
— Why did you add this particular feature?
— Why did you design it this way?
— Why didn’t you do this the same way as others in the field always have?
— Why should I, your ideal customer, care about this?
— Why shouldn’t I buy from a competitor?
— Why will I be convinced buying this from you will feel like an even better decision in 3 years?
And when they give you all their answers (or you give them to yourself), find another way to ask “Why?” as an add-on.
Here’s what you’re looking for as you ask all these questions…
You’re going to get a bunch of answers, many of which are not that compelling.
In the beginning, you’re going to get all the “rehearsed” scripts they have. That is, what they tell people who ask about their work at cocktail parties.
But the more you probe and the deeper you go, the more you’ll find them telling you something, and then saying, “I haven’t thought about that in years, and I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody about it!”
And, some of their answers will make you “vibrate.”
Eventually, you’ll find that one thing that makes you sit up, focus, and shout over them, “WHAT WAS THAT? Say that again! And tell me more!”
Because the story is there. It just needs to be uncovered.
There’s a lesson I think I got from John Carlton that copywriting is “sales detective work.”
That is, most of our work as a copywriter (and the same applies to anyone developing a persuasive message) is NOT the actual writing or assembling of the message. It’s in finding that thing to talk about. And that often require a whole lot more digging than the novice is willing to do. And yet, the Master knows how to ask these questions, dig in, and find that one story that will drive everything.
(Incidentally, this is exactly what Agora’s founder Bill Bonner told me is the one copywriting rule he still follows, when he writes for his 9-figure direct marketing company. And that, above all, finding the story was THE one thing that will make or break a persuasive message.)
My challenge to you…
This is incredibly powerful. But it’s worth zero — ZILCH! — if you read this, it makes you feel good, then you go on with your day and forget about it. (Which, let’s be honest, is what happens with too much incredible wisdom!)
I want to challenge you to apply this, ASAP.
Find an opportunity. Even if it’s not on a current project. Find someone who you can interview — preferably someone who runs a business.
Start asking questions.
And ask away.
Try to get them to tell their story.
If possible, record it. Just try to get to the bottom of their story. Follow what they’re saying, down whatever paths are most interesting to you. Keep probing to try to find out what makes you vibrate.
Then, when you find something, document it. Bullet points are fine. Just enough so that you could re-tell it based on the notes.
Later, you may try to fit it onto a story selling template. But today, it’s all about practicing that sales detective work of finding the compelling story, and having enough detail that you could tell it again.
This is the process that creates great persuasive stories. And when you try it, you’ll find it’s remarkably simple to pull off!
The story itself is only one pillar of The 3 Pillars of Highly Effective Story Selling…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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