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Getting More Word of Mouth – Tell a Story

Last month I witnessed a breakthrough in one of my networking groups. This group is full of highly educated, highly articulate professionals. They all have successful businesses in a variety of areas, and one-on-one are interesting individuals. Unfortunately, when we get to the part of the program where each person says their elevator pitch, the energy of the room distinctly drops. The speaker is nervous and hides behind jargon and big numbers. The listeners politely sit, eyes glazed over, quietly asking themselves – “now what does he/she do”?

But this time our wise moderator decided to change things up on us. This session we were asked to come prepared with a story of how we had specifically helped a customer in the recent past. What a difference! The energy of the room went up. Everyone was engaged and full of questions. And this time I left able to understand, and pass on, the value that each person created for his customers.
This is the power of story telling and story re-telling (isn’t that the best word-of-mouth?) Good, word-of-mouth stories often share these elements:

  • The damsel (or lord) in distress: The client who is facing a crisis or tough decision. Personal touches help, like first name and the emotional stress that damsel or lord is experiencing.
  • The dragon: This is the big business problem that is wreaking havoc on the customer. It also helps if you can allude to past dragon slayers (competitors) who failed.
  • The fight: You, of course, are the story’s knight in shining armor. Describe your weapon, your strategy and tactics for effectively slaying the dragon.
  • Happily ever after: This is the outcome where not only is the dragon slayed, but life is better than ever for the customer. Here a few compelling numbers really help clinch the audience.

Do you use story-telling? How? Please share in the Comments section below.

Jeanne RossommePresident, RoadMap Marketing
Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish. | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

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Discussion (7) Comment

  1. MartonVisitor

    I enjoy reading articles that appreciate and point out the power of storytelling. Our entire business is enabling and helping businesses tell their story in a visually compelling and engaging way. Thanks for the post, Jeanne!

  2. Jeffrey AdlerVisitor

    I frequently use stories to help make the abstract more interesting and concrete. Thanks for the tips.

  3. As “Dr. QuickBooks & Quicken – I make house calls”, I’m always telling my prospective clients err patients in Greater Seattle who contact me to help set up their records in QuickBooks or Quicken on their PC or Mac, review what they have done (and face the sad reality that DIY doesn’t mean they did it right), and support and train them in the accounting, bookkeeping, and financial management software about how I solved another customers financial aches and pains and now they can sleep at night.

  4. Jeff MorganVisitor

    Excellent food for thought. Will make sure this is passed on to all of our networkers. One year ago we adopted the slogan “No one networks like MorganMiller Plumbing…no one!!” So each of our key employees now belong to groups. It has changed everything. The employees love the time away from the office. Love doing something new and out of their comfort zone. Each and every group has been a raving success for everyone involved.


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