You can’t tell me tall tales

FrodX / / Inbound Marketing

A week ago I attended a workshop on telling fairytales. When I mentioned this to my coworkers, they laughed at me a bit and then asked, in jest, if I’d learned anything “useful.” Because I answered “Of course,” mostly as a joke I promised them a “report.” When I started putting the elements in my head into the context of problems faced by the clients that we help as a team every day, I realized that the joke wasn’t so innocent. Thus, as a reply to the egging by my coworkers, but with the goal of closing deals more easily, this post started to take shape.

Among adults, telling fairytales means telling lies and untruths, which is something completely different from when we talk about fairytales for children. It was exactly this contrast that got me thinking more about this.

Positioning in time and space

In contrast to a fairytale, a tale is specifically positioned in space and time. Usually in the very space where the listener is at that moment: “On a beautiful day, just like today, she was walking on this very path, when she saw . . .”. I started wondering whether a product is always satisfyingly positioned in the customers’ environment and whether this brings it closer to them. Do we know them well enough? Can we also use other methods to get customers to identify with it? For example, a tale uses actively dialogue because these help us identify more easily and better with the action. Why wouldn’t you use it too?

Do you position a product satisfyingly in the customers’ environment to bring it closer to them? Click To Tweet

Don’t tell everything yourself

Tales include elements for solving the plot, but the readers or listeners should participate in solving it. The best storyteller is one that creates the right atmosphere and lets the listeners interject out of enthusiasm; for example, by shouting out what should be used to “conquer the rushing river.” The delight of a tale lies in the fact that the readers themselves come up with the solution. In this way, they accept it immediately—it becomes “theirs” right away. If the storyteller points directly to the solution, the readers won’t feel like it’s theirs and will find it less interesting.

Therefore, if you offer your clients “nails, wood, a hammer, and a bucket,” they themselves can determine that they don’t need the bucket to conquer the rushing river, but they can build a bridge from the other materials at hand. But pay attention—if you offer them too many things, they’ll be confused and you’ll lose all credibility.

Trust in the power of repetition

People like to hear a good story more than once; we return to a good supplier, we see a good film again, we reread a good book, and so on. Therefore repeating our story to recurring clients isn’t a turnoff. They come back for a reason. Remind them that they’ll experience the same quality of services again and again.

Remind your clients each time that they’ll experience quality service again and again. Click To Tweet

What’s the melody of your product?

It’s no accident that storytelling includes folk songs. Their power is enormous because of the rhythm provided by their content and melody. Their repetition forces you to join in. When a folk song is about a river, the lyrics and melody take on a rolling character to show this.

Does the language of your product suit the project itself and your potential customers? Will a tire change go “zoom zoom” or will the “coordination of the reception and mechanical team take place at the highest level and in the pleasant environment of your premises, offering a place to wait”? Rolling isn’t appropriate for everything, after all. And if you also get your keys back “zoom zoom” (were you thinking of speed with this?), you’ll surely mention “zoom zoom” to someone else—as a funny (or a bit silly) phrase, as fast service, or simply because a person finds it hard to resist repeating.

The unsaid and unwritten

A tale transmits patterns of behavior. We learn about respect for nature from tales based on a conversation between a river and a farmer. The farmer asks the river what he should do, and the river gives him advice. Instead of lecturing about environmental protection values, we achieve more by offering an example. When we speak about our product—for example, beautiful crystals—should we emphasize our story by saying that we put gloves on when handling them so we don’t damage them? Do we think enough about these unspoken messages when presenting our product? What do the customers “read” from the manner and channels of advertising, from the way we address them, and so on?

An example attracts, so let your actions support what you say. Click To Tweet

And not least of all: do you believe in your tale? Do you tell it with sincere enthusiasm, or does storytelling feel awkward to you?

If you need an editor or an experienced hand to write a successful tale starring you, we invite you to have coffee with us and a “writer’s consultation.”

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P. S. We’re telling more stories at our home now. And, even though our daughter’s enthusiasm is boundless, my husband is saying it’s time for some “zoom zoom” cooking workshop now. 🙂