Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to visit the state of Washington in order to get to know a new client.
While having dinner, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation in the corner. Two salesmen from an auto parts delivery franchise were presumably meeting with a potential auto parts franchisee.
The two salesmen were shouting at the candidate — an assessment I made based not on the volume of their voices, but based on how they just couldn’t stop sharing how they got in the business, how successful they had become and how everyone’s franchise ownership journey would be the same as theirs.
I felt really bad for the candidate who couldn’t get a word in edgewise as he kept sinking further and further down in his chair. While awkward to listen to, it reinforced a very important message. Stop shouting and start asking good questions.
I’m guilty. I think as marketers we tend to push out why we have such a great product or service. All the benefits should be obvious, right? But do we know if anyone cares, or if they do, why they might care?
I can’t imagine the meeting I witnessed ended up with the sale of a franchise. The salesmen never learned what motivated the candidate, if his personal situation was conducive to owning a franchise or what interested him about the industry. They didn’t ask for his story and then craft their stories to fit. They didn’t listen.
Tell great stories and ask others to share theirs.
I recently finished a great book that a colleague gave to me — “Building A Story Brand” by Donald Miller.
A direct excerpt:
“Why do so many brands create noise rather than music? It’s because they don’t realize they are creating noise. They actually think people are interested in the random information they’re doling out.”
Further, the book talks about the value of sharing good stories. Stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Removing the parts of the story that aren’t compelling and shortening the story to just the right length to tell the brand’s story.
The book shares a 7-part process for telling a compelling story.
A character (your customer) encounters a problem (pain point); then a guide (could be you or your service) steps in, gives them a plan (product or service, the solution) that calls them into action (purchase) and helps them avoid failure (pain point resolved), and they enjoy success (tell others).
I interpret this as understanding the pain points by listening to your customer first — then you can craft a relevant story that sets you and them up for success. A story that has enough detail to be compelling and relevant; but not so long that you lose them into a sinking position in their chair.
Jackie O’Hara, Owner and Account Executive
During the Safer at Home periods of the pandemic, Jackie has done more than her share of household chores, puzzles and has surpassed her annual number of completed good books. She is reminded of the enjoyment of a well-told story.