This weekend I visited my friend Greg who owns a tackle shop, where fishermen go to gear up on lures and flies.
I perused his shelves while he told me about his recent late night marketing research binge. He learned that telling stories can help pull in customers through the door.
The problem, he said, was where to start. He didn’t know the first thing about story, but asked if I might be able to help.
Here’s the email I sent him; it might help you with your business too:
This should help you start telling stories to attract more customers.
Also, Constant Contact is having a free webinar, called, How to Encourage Customer Loyalty for Your Small Business that might help you even more.
How to tell a story to grab the attention of your customers
Start by answering some simple questions:
- What problem are you trying to solve for your customers?
- What impact does this problem have on your customers?
- How can your business help your customers overcome this problem?
- What does the world look like for customers once this problem is solved?
As you answer these questions you should see a story developing. It’s natural, just like the way you tell me the story of what you had for breakfast. Every time I see you. Except the story of your business is how you help your customers, and it will be a lot more interesting than what you had for breakfast, because the customer will be the hero.
What problem are you trying to solve for your customers?
The more clearly you can articulate the problem your business solves, the faster you can grab the attention of potential customers. People aren’t always aware of a solution, but sometimes they do know their problem. Show customers that you recognize what they’re struggling with and you’ll get their attention.
What’s a problem your customers are having? One could be the problem of their line breaking all the time. Tell them that story of when we went out fishing for the first time this Spring and your line broke on the first fish. Then the second fish. And the third. I’m still laughing about that.
What impact does this problem have on your customers?
Clearly identifying the problem will show your customers that you understand what they’re going through, because you’ve been there too. The key is to empathize with your customers, and understand how the problem is impacting their life. Then they will start to trust that you know what you’re talking about and can offer them the right solution.
Remember how you reacted to breaking your line on the third fish? I’ve never seen a rod snap so quickly over someone’s knee. You were so frustrated that had to stop fishing and go home. By the way, that’s when the first really started biting. I caught so many I lost count. A little bird told me you were pretty upset when you got home.
How can your business help your customers overcome this problem?
Anyways, once you’ve identified the problem and show your customers that you understanding what they’re going through, then you can lay out your plan to solve it. You’re showing that you’ve not only solved the problem, but that you’ve solved it in the most effective way.
Don’t you have a to do list for updating your gear to check that everything is in working order before you start fishing each Spring? The checklist that includes the reminder to change your line before every season? Share that checklist with your customers. You can even include a note about your newest products, like spools of line and new rods, just in case they’ve broken their rod over their knee too.
What does the world look like for customers once this problem is solved?
Once you’ve given customers the plan of attack for solving their problem, and showing how your business can help, then you have to show how good it feels to overcome the issue. Now that their problem has been solved, what will they do?
I know that you were fired up after filling all of your reels with new line, and setting up your new rod. So fired up in fact that you begged me to spend a whole weekend fishing up at your cabin. We really did catch a ton of fish. You might have caught more fish, but I had the biggest. At least, I did until my line snapped.
Story can help your business sell more stuff
You don’t have to be a professional storyteller to start spinning yarns that connect your customers to your business. Telling a story is natural, and when you know your customers as well as I know you do, you can tell a story that keeps them coming through your door. Whatever tale you tell, just make sure to make your customer feels like the main character of the story.
When you show that you’ve been there too, customers will trust that you’re offering the best solution to their problems, because you understand. They’ll start listening more closely because they can relate to your story, and can better see the value of what you’re selling.
Always here to help.
From your story-loving, catching-more-fish-than-you friend.
Save me some of those green crab flies, I’ve got to give those a try back home.
Don’t forget about Constant Contact’s free webinar happening soon: How to Encourage Customer Loyalty for Your Small Business.