You may have heard that “Stories Sell”.

Most people don’t understand why stories are an effective tool when speaking and selling, so they fail to capitalize on the power that exists on the tip of their tongue.

There are three reasons stories are important when presenting and selling:

  1. Stories give facts and data context
  2. Stories provide proof
  3. Stories create emotional connections

Stories give facts and data context

Facts and data are important; unfortunately they are also inherently boring. Left on their own, facts and data are likely to be heard but not internalized.

Through the effective use of stories you are able to add context to the raw information.  When you share a story that illustrates how the information is important, pertinent, or applicable, your audience will create a frame of reference for the raw data.

Your audience will remember the story, and in turn the most important facts and data.

Stories provide proof

While testimonials provide the strongest social proof available, you are often in situations where it is not feasible to provide one.

Stories can help you provide indirect social proof of what others have done, helping your listener develop a greater sense of trust.

True stories of past success will help those you speak with understand three important things:

  1. Other people have been in the same situation
  2. There is a solution to the situation that others have successfully used
  3. You have the ability and tools to help them achieve the same success

Stories create emotional connections

While stories sell, they are most effective when the storyteller understands that people take action based on emotion.

Any story you share should create an emotional connection with your listener and their current situation.  Once an emotional connection has been made, the listener becomes more open to the specific details you want to present.

Creating Powerful Stories

The World Class Speaking approach to stories uses the “Then/Now/How” model to provide a structure that creates powerful stories.

The model breaks a story into three primary elements:

  • Where were you (or someone else) then?
  • Where are you now?
  • How did the transition or change occur?

This model can be used for your own story as well as the stories of others that you share in your presentations and sales conversations.

Once you become intentional in creating the stories you will use, and practice your delivery, you will find that your interactions with others will lead to improved results.


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Originally Published in Advantage Business Magazine
3 Reasons Stories Sell
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