Science has proven that we understand and respond better when we receive information in the form of a story. Telling a persuasive business story is harder than writing a list and relaying statistics - it takes creativity and vulnerability. But in the end, you develop a relationship with your audience that is worth the extra effort. You engage their emotions & imaginations, and become memorable. We forget statistics and bullet points, but we don't forget a good story.
So how do you develop your persuasive business story? Here's a road map that will help:
Determine the Purpose
In any story, you'll want to first determine the purpose of why you are telling it. To educate, to caution, to persuade, to inspire, to entertain?
For example, when you want to persuade your audience to do business with you, you might tell the story of how your company was started, and what special experience & success you have had that makes you trustworthy & credible.
When you're deciding what story you will tell, start with the purpose in mind and the conclusion you want your audience to come to.
Provide the Setting
When you have determined what story you will tell, you must start by introducing the story. Giving the who, what, when, where details helps give your audience context and creates a visual in their mind. This gives your audience something to relate to and puts them inside your story.
If you're company was started by your CEO in a little warehouse off of Orange Avenue in Orlando during the late 80's, share those details! A great real life example of this is Apple. Many people know the story of how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started the company from Jobs' parents garage in California in the 70's. Their story is one that people can identify with, and all of the sudden this big, successful corporation becomes more personal and relatable, and you find yourself wanting these underdogs to succeed.
When you provide the setting for your story, you capture the audience's attention and the story feels more familiar to them. Anyone can spit out statistics and bullet points, but it's emotions like familiarity that start to develop that emotional bond that makes the story memorable, making an impact that's deeper than the intellectual level.
Introduce the Inciting Incident
A story is not a story unless there is a conflict. In screenwriting, this moment of conflict is called the inciting incident. It's when the way things should be are disrupted, and the main characters must overcome obstacles to restore balance and reach their goals.
It's within this part of the story that the emotional bond that started in the introduction begins to become stronger. It puts the viewer in your corner, making them emotionally invested in seeing you succeed.
If you are trying to persuade the viewer to purchase your product or service, focus on their inciting incident. What has happened that has thrown off the balance in their lives, and how does your product or service solve that problem and help them succeed?
Introduce the Resolution
The resolution is the final part in the architecture of any story. It's where the protagonist makes a decision, and that decision resolves the conflict and restores balance.
In the previous example, your product or service is presented as the solution to the conflict. So the resolution is what happens as a result of the customer using your product or service. The story is about the struggle, the customer is the protagonist, and you have the solution that resolves their conflict.
One more tip...
When telling the stories for your business, make sure that they are honest, simple, and easily re-told. Your audience can sniff out inconsistencies and half truths, which will destroy the relationship you are trying to develop with them.