In the business world, story telling has become a popular selling tool. There are many books, videos and courses about story telling being sold. Consequently, an important message is being lost.
There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do this. It’s more of effective and ineffective ways to tell stories. What is being lost in all this craze about telling your stories is how to make that emotional connection.
To do that takes some work. It’s not simple to craft a story that will quickly touch people’s hearts and compel them to either work with you or follow you. To help you understand this, consider a story I now share with people to compel them to arrange a second meeting with me. The story takes about two minutes to share. I can use this is a social setting to let them know more about who I am and why I do what I do.
My ‘Why” story:
“My dad is the most influential person who shaped my philosophy about business. He is the most calm person I’ve ever met, especially in a crisis situation. Back On April 3, 1974 in my hometown of Cincinnati, we were devastated by a series of tornadoes. My family and I were standing on our back porch that afternoon. The news was already out about all of these tornadoes and at one point, we looked over a hilltop off in the distance and this tornado came up over the hillside.
I immediately got scared and said, “Dad, we got to get the the shelter now!” He very calmly reached out and put his hand gently on my shoulder and said, “Hold on, Mike. That cloud is probably at least 10 miles away. And I’ll bet you it’s going to break up in the next minute or so.”
Sure enough – and I can still see this like it was last week – that S-shaped tornado started to break apart. The top literally broke off and the cloud was gone. While people all around were getting scared, Dad calmly stood still and just said “Wait.”
I think that level-headedness was born from his optimism, because he’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. Back in 1975, after eight years of teaching, he decided he wanted to own a business. He’d never owned a business before, but he and my Mom bought an established dry cleaner.
I never heard him say these words but his actions said to me, “I don’t know what we’re going to do if there’s a problem, but we’ll handle it. We’ll get it taken care of. We’ll be okay.” He’s always felt things will work out for the best.
Now Dad’s true passion was teaching and after he owned the dry cleaners for eight years, he actually got back into teaching because it’s who he is. He was meant to be a teacher. He is able to see the good in others and the gifts they have, sometimes when they can’t. I’ll never forget one afternoon, I was standing in the lobby of a Friday’s restaurant with Dad long after he’d retired from teaching the first time. A man in his mid to late 30’s came up and said, “Mr. Davis, you probably don’t remember me but I had you in eighth grade biology. I just want to thank you because you helped me find a confidence I was lacking before that year and your class actually shaped my career path. It’s been very rewarding. I just want to thank you.”
I was a new speaker at the time but I realized I was witnessing something powerful. I thought, “If a teacher can do that, I wonder what a speaker can do?”
Each of those values, those character traits have been instilled in me and it’s why I work with leaders, speakers and sales people. My goal is to help them increase their impact, their influence and their confidence. I want to pull out of them the gifts that they don’t realize they have and help them achieve and accomplish at a higher level than they believe to be possible. It just so happens that I do that through teaching storytelling, speaking and selling skills.”
That’s my story. When I share that with people, the reactions I typically get are, “Wow, that’s really powerful.” I’ve had some people say, “Man, you’ve got me thinking about my Dad.” And that’s what the purpose of a good story is. It’s not for people to hear about you. It’s about pulling them into your world so they can think of somebody important to them. Then you start a discussion all about their world, and that’s where selling really takes root and builds a deep connection so that people feel very comfortable buying from you.
Again, the purpose of this is not to immediately sell a product or service. It’s simply to sell people on the idea of setting up a longer meeting with me so we can discuss the benefits of my services to them.
Always remember, people buy from people they trust. They trust those they like and they like people that they connect with. The quickest way to connect with others is to tell a story. Tell a story about why you do what you do.
In the next few articles, I’ll break down this story so you can better understand better why it’s crafted the way it is. Then you can begin to build your story of “Why” and increase your impact, influence and confidence.
Until next time, always remember, you have a story or a series of stories that other people need to hear. Craft those stories well, deliver them in a dynamic style and you’ll impact more lives than you could ever imagine.