The Practical Practice Blog #2 | Storytelling
So why are stories important?
Humans have been telling stories since we lived in caves. We told them to remember, to survive, and to build relationships with other people. How does this apply to business? Well, the funny thing is, “storytelling” has been the buzzword on and off since the advent of advertising. Stories drive human behavior.
In the digital age, businesses workers and leaders have more opportunities than ever to stand out, spread their message, and spark change and action through stories. The fact is, no one really likes being interrupted with a sales pitch. But everyone likes a good story. The businesses that can tell a good story will have the advantage.
It turns out something surprising happens when information comes via a story rather than via simple facts. More of our brains light up. When we hear a story, the neural activity increases fivefold. It’s like turning on all the lights in the house.
Scientists have a saying: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” When more of your brain is at work at any given point in time, the chances that your brain will remember the work it did increases exponentially. So, a powerful way to introduce your product or service to potential customers is to tell them a story.
Here are five steps that outline the basics of storytelling:
#1: Discover Your Story
Discovering your story is like finding your voice. It needs to be original, personal, and easy to follow. Great examples include how your clinic was founded or what the driving force is behind your passion for hearing care. Personal experiences from customers make remarkably powerful stories that generate sales. How and why they made the decision to see you and what your service means to them—there’s emotion in that. And emotions lead to conversion. Share these stories across multiple platforms, from your landing page to social media.
#2: Know Your Target Audience – Plan what stories you will share, when you will share them, and know your target audience. Your target audience may not always be the prospective patient. It may be their family, friends, employers, or other influencers. Consider their age, why your service really matters to them, what they most likely would expect, etc. The more you know about your customer, the easier it may be for you to customize your stories for them. You want to engage, entertain, and excite your audience, not bore them. You want them on your side, immersed in your storytelling.
#3: Make It Personal – Taking a personal approach is the most effective way to tell a story. It has to feel real, not forced or artificial. To do this, analyze your business as if it were a person. What kind of personality would it have? Once you determine that, go with it. Let your brand tell its own stories. Get your patients involved! Always ask for feedback, especially on social media. That’s how you create engagement and loyalty. That’s how you interact and create followers.
#4: Create a Content Production Calendar – Consider everything you post as a small chapter in your storybook. Plan out your chapters in advance. Think about how these chapters string together. Creating a simple content production calendar helps keep your ideas organized.
#5: To Sell More, Keep Them Wanting More – When you create a compelling story, your audience will look forward to it. This can dramatically improve how prospects relate to and perceive you, while improving your brand recognition and increasing sales.
These five steps are simple, but, yes, they do require time. This is time well invested as the competition in this industry heats up. Storytelling helps you stand out! Tell more, sell more.
Image: © Marek Uliasz – Dreamstime.com
Michele Ahlman is President and CEO of ClearSounds.com, a provider of devices for people with hearing loss, and Clear Digital Media, Burr Ridge, Ill, which has created the Hearing Health News Network (HHN). HHN is delivered via wired or wireless Internet to your waiting room and features a playlist of hearing-related items to benefit your patients.
Correspondence to: Michele Ahlman at [email protected]
Great informative blog. I agree 100% – I have started to include a “my story” slide in the beginning of my PPTs – after Tom Thunder told me something very similar. Talking about my story never fails to energize me and remind me why I do what I do at the beginning of every presentation. Thanks for making the time to write this. People don’t care what you say UNTIL they know how much you care…