Stories have a profound effect on our brains and our behavior. This goes back to childhood, when one of our most frequent requests was, “Tell me a story”.
Stories that are highly engaging release oxytocin (the hormone used in social bonding). It connects mothers and babies during breastfeeding. It’s also produced when we hug each other. When our oxytocin levels increase we feel empathy, connection, trust, respect, love and happiness.
Here are three ways you can use storytelling to boost your sales:
1: Be Personal
People don’t care about companies. They care about people. And people buy from people. You can’t hug a company, but you can hug a person (and release some oxytocin at the same time!).
In your job role, near or at the front line, you will be in the best position to tell stories and increase the lifetime value of your customers. So how might you tell a story?
It’s simple, you just “walk” your customer through a problem you went through and how you achieved the result your customer is looking for.
For example, if you’re selling beds, you would tell the story about all the pain your old bed caused you e.g. backache and sleepless nights. Then, you would move into how you decided to buy a new bed and how you had concerns about which bed to choose, what would happen if you didn’t like it and how would you pay for it. You would use all your concerns and illustrate how they were overcome by your new bed and the bed company.
Being able to walk a customer through all the worst parts of your problem (that happen to be the same as your customer’s problem) and then explain how you solved the problem (using your product / service) is powerful, simple and effective.
2: Get Your Customers Involved
Ask your customers to get involved with telling their story of how your product / service helped them. People are heavily influence by word of mouth, so capitalize on that free marketing and put the best content out there by asking your customers to create or co-create stories for you. It’s a great way to scale stories and content in a way that is human and authentic.
If you want some inspiration of companies who are doing this already look at backpack retailer Herschel. Their Instagram account features gorgeous photos of outdoor living, but they offer more than just that. They use their Instagram and Twitter accounts to encourage their customers to post using the hashtag #WellTravelled – creating a community, not just a list of followers.
Consider how your organization can use social media to make customers stakeholders in your marketing and voices in how your product / service’s story is told.
3: Use Technology Correctly
Traditionally B2B sales & marketing teams have used email as a way to reach their audience. In B2C the weight has been behind social media. However, we are now seeing a digital environment dominated by stories, with both B2B and B2C getting involved.
If you are looking to overcome abandoned carts and increase conversions in B2C the answer may lie in the following areas:
i. Get creative
Seek out visual changes on your website that could reduce or eliminate any conflict of message or brand identity throughout the entire customer journey (from first click to checkout).
ii. Get technical
Use remarketing messages and exit-intent pop ups (a pop up that only shows when people go to leave your site) to remind your audience about the elements of their story that brought them to the checkout in the first place.
Being able to nurture your customers from awareness to purchase will drive more sales and keep your customers not just happy, but delighted.