Story Selling: Using Email to Drive Sales
Do all the conversations about story selling, squeeze pages, landing pages, offers, order bump, and autoresponders make your head spin? Are you yearning for the good old days when you could talk to someone about their problems?
When you could answer customer questions face-to-face or over the phone, you didn’t need to think about squeeze pages and autoresponder series.
Oh, those were the days.
Who thought you’d miss the days when the salesperson standing by the door of the shop would ask you if they could help you, and you’d quickly reply that you’re just looking. And then you’d have the salesperson start chatting you up with a story about the merchandise.
They would get to know you to figure out what you’re really looking for so you could go home with the perfect item. That was if they had outstanding salespeople; they worked hard to make the customer happy.
So what do we do today? There are options, but the one I’m talking about is email marketing. Transform your email into that super salesperson who could chat up those who are ‘just browsing’ into happy customers.
And how do you do that, you ask?
You give your customers stories. Stories where they are the hero, and you are a valuable guide by their side.
Story Selling Definition
Have you ever noticed when you’re watching a great movie, you are so absorbed in the story that you didn’t notice the wild and outlandish twists and turns it takes to get the hero over the finish line?
You’re not thinking what the heck are they doing wear sunglasses before they were invented in Django unchained, the clip-on tie wasn’t invented yet in The Color Purple or the guitar in Back to the Future wasn’t around then.
You were engrossed with where the plot was going; the silly details didn’t matter.
That’s where you need to take your readers. You don’t even have to be a great storyteller. If you know them, like you say you do, then you can walk in their shoes, sandals, flip-flops, or sneakers with no problem.
What to Do If You Don’t Have Any Stories
But of course, you have stories. Everyone has stories to share. Your origin story is the natural account of how you became who you are today. We all have come from something that we had to overcome to be where we are today.
I’ve learned to listen to people from my four decades of listening to understand my intellectually disabled son. To understand what he’s saying in-between his words, a selection that isn’t always on point. He doesn’t always catch the double meaning of words; thus, his attempts to converse is often an exercise in mental gymnastics.
Of course, I’m listening to understand his intent, which makes me a great listener to my friends, peers, and clients. I’m mentally looking at the underlying problem that they’re facing and how it affects them.
Whatever you’re selling, you can connect them to your products/services emotionally if you understand your readers.
Story Selling in Action
The format for stories is straightforward.
- What the customer is going through, emotionally
- Why did others purchase from you
- How did they feel after they used it
Let’s say you’re considering this. Here’s what flashes in your brain. First off, you don’t want to share your stuff. Second, the dreaded blinking cursor on the blank page is staring back at you.
You’ve got nothing…
Make it easy on yourself. Create your origin story. Nobody said it has to be 100% accurate. Your mom isn’t coming after you for lying. However, outright lying isn’t right as history proved for Lance Armstrong, who denied taking performance-enhancing drugs, or James Frey, who wrote his memoir about his experience with addiction — that totally didn’t happen.
You might remember how Oprah Winfrey was sympathetic and inspired by his story until she later learned that he made it up… big oops.
So, try to make your story close to the truth, maybe edit out the parts that go deeper than you want to go, or throw too many people under the bus.
Now that you’ve written your personal story, you’ve got the goodies to use in all your material. As they say, your mess is your message.
How to write a story
Stories are fun when you relax and start writing, dictating, or typing — pick yours. Think about how your product or service could fit into a problem/solution situation to get started. Noodle that around in your mind for a bit.
Then start typing. Don’t begin to correct it; that’s what you do when you’re done. You clean it up. Keep weaving a story around your product, how it transformed someone’s life.
Or think about something you’ve read recently, [you always need to be reading or listening to unrelated information] that got your attention. It was so strange, scary, or funny that you need to share it.
Recently I was sharing with a friend how everything old is new again. That is if you’re old enough to remember what the old stuff is. [this is a good starter if your audience knows what old is…]
A friend told me a joke, why do we tell actors to break a leg… because every play has a cast. [good starter to get the reader’s attention] I love jokes.
Stories can go anywhere, in your emails. Remember, the hero of the story is the buyer, not you. A silly mistake that novices make when writing is using the words I and me, more than you and your.
People like to hear about themselves more than you unless you can spin it around to include them too.
Weigh heavily on how good life will be once they’re used your product/service. When you know your readers like they’re your twin — only they’re in trouble, you’ll have a better sense of walking alongside them — guiding them along.
The Next Steps
Story selling is about life in living color. Don’t overthink it, as Nike says, just do it.
Collect stories that make you laugh, think, or they’re memorable.
In summary: If you need help coming up with the right stories for your project, reach out to me. Brainstorming is sometimes all that’s required. If you’d like to chat about your next project, reach out at Linda@shinyobjectmarketing.com
Linda James Bennett; day 25 of 365 writing an article every day, making you a shiny object in the world.