There’s an undeniable truth about stories.
Most people absolutely love them. We are brought up in our early years listening to stories at bedtime. We go through school learning to read with stories as the mechanism which enables us to understand concepts and emotions.
We see movies and come out after them wanting to be Rocky or Uma Thurman because they have fed upon our in-built desire to see good overcome evil, for the character to survive against the odds, or for people to discover their own capabilities when they thought they had none.
Good stories enable us to connect with the characters in some way. When you see Jason Bourne in that famous movie trilogy fighting against the system which trained him, we relate to his desire to find the truth and to stop the perpetrators. In the Tom Hanks film, Forrest Gump, we don’t see a simple man. We see a great man who everyone loves and respect because he helps people, no matter what.
We are programmed to expect a certain format when we see a movie or read a story. We anticipate an introduction which sets the scene. We expect to see the main challenge of the story explained. We know that the story will develop with sub-plots and new characters to add drama. The format we know dictates that there will be an ending and we hope that it will be a happy one.
When the story ends we may have been taken on an emotional roller coaster, or had an experience we showed us new meaning or insights on a topic which we had never questioned until then. The story ends with us feeling or thinking differently about people or situations. We are aware of new possibilities which we had never dreamed about before the beginning of the story.
The story is so powerful that we want it to continue afterwards, so we buy the next book. Or, we buy the t-shirt in the store, or rent the DVD to see it again. You might want to learn how to sell using stories too.
A good story is a powerful mechanism for sales people. Harness the format of a story and enable your customers to relate what you sell to their challenges and they will buy from you more readily.
Tell a lot of stories because they bypass conscious resistance. They shut off your client’s critical thinking.