Throughout the ages, virtually every society has valued its storytellers. Ancient civilizations would rely on the village elders to tell stories to the young children in order to pass along the community’s history. Stories were also used to train the youngsters for hunting and to face the challenges in the wild.
Today, we continue to place a premium on people who have the ability to tell a story. Television and motion picture actors, producers, and directors are highly sought after and regarded. Comedians and authors of novels are revered as extraordinarily gifted. Each is valued because each can influence the way you feel. When you go to the movies you want to be thrilled, confused, or scared – without it having an impact on your life. When you see a comedy show, you want to laugh at someone else or at his misfortune. Like all of us, you love to experience emotions in a vicarious state. A good story makes you feel a certain way without the negative side effects.
In the consulting business, we often say that numbers tell, but stories sell. A client is more likely to believe a compelling story than he will believe cold, hard facts that are placed before him. Stories about others are successful because they allow the listener to put himself in the place of the subject of the story. He feels the actual emotion that the subject of the story feels. In his mind, he experiences the events of the story firsthand.
You need your customers to tell moving and emotional stories about you. You make your interaction with them into positive emotional experiences. They then need to feel compelled and overwhelmed enough to share those stories with other people. Spend some time thinking about the best interaction that someone has had with you. What is the one compelling story about you that elicits a positive reaction in others? Now imagine someone telling another person that story. What feelings do you think a total stranger would have if your best customer told that story?