“It’s the power of storytelling that unlocks and influences your thoughts and opinions and decisions.”
(Kat Thompson – sprint-education.co.uk)
Harvard Business review published an article that described the power of storytelling in a business setting. It considered how the structures and rhetorical qualities of a story can help forge a connection between a business and its clients. It states that:
“character-driven stories with emotional content result in a better understanding of the key points a speaker wishes to make and enable better recall of these points weeks later. In terms of making impact, this blows the standard PowerPoint presentation to bits. Why should customers or a person on the street care about the project you are proposing? How does it change the world or improve lives? How will people feel when it is complete? These are the components that make information persuasive and memorable.”
The article explored how the ‘dramatic arc’ of a story is the perfect platform for relaying the “transcendent purpose” rather than the “transactional purpose” of a company. The ‘transactional purpose’ of a company is how it sells goods and services. It’s the nitty-gritty of its business, best summed up through PowerPoint presentations or on a website. The ‘transcendent purpose’ of a company is how its actions, services and goods improve the lives of its clients. This is harder to communicate. To communicate the transcendent purpose of a company takes storytelling, and telemarketing is the ideal medium for this.
So how does this translate in the context of telemarketing?
Peter Rosenwald, a founder of Chartered Developments, describes the importance of storytelling:
‘Storytelling is a vital way of connecting with a prospect. The Chartered Developments calling team are seasoned professionals and, therefore, expert at translating their experience into something that means something to the recipient of their call. They do this not by simply listing services, but by creating stories that generate empathy with the prospect.’
Stories can be a valuable way of engaging and involving a prospective customer. So what are the different ways you can use storytelling in the context of making a sale?
“Do you know X? She is great – I met her in 1997. She transformed the way I saw the legal sector – and here is how…”
Stories about individuals you have met or who have inspired you. Think about the ‘guru’ who gave you a new perspective on a situation or an expert who gave you an insight into a particular sector or organisation. What were they like? What were their personalities – and how did their quirks and oddities make them so distinctive in their role? Think about how your own journey, how have you developed as a professional? What is your story, your ‘dramatic arc’, and how might it relate to the person you are speaking to? This article demonstrates how decisions are made on an emotional level – and focusing on an individual connection is a great way of tapping into this.
“I remember back in the day working with an accountant who was struggling to…”
For a more direct correlation between your experiences and those of your prospect, stories about how you have helped similar individuals or companies in the past are ideal. Case studies from the past are the clearest way to draw a line between your skills and the needs of the prospect. A good case study is an excellent way to bring the services you are offering to life, but they need to be structured correctly. Again – a dramatic arc is important. Remember that your story needs a beginning (an introduction to an issue or conflict faced by your client), a middle (how you worked with your client in the processes of resolving the issue) and an end (a reflection on how your specific services or experience was key in the resolution of your client’s issue) to be truly effective.
“Do you like football? Yes? Well – it’s a bit like when Manchester United scored that final goal. Up until then you could see they’d all but given up and their energy was flagging – but when the ball went in, the energy levels of the team rocketed. And that’s the same in business. Sometimes you need a quick win to get the momentum and energy to continue to be successful.”
Rather than drawing on personal or professional sources for your story, it is sometimes more suitable to take a side step into metaphor. Using metaphor can be a quick and effective way of transmitting your message, particularly when what you are trying to relay to your prospect is complex. Metaphors need to be carefully deployed however. They need to be based on a known connection between you and your prospect – and this requires some preparation. The way you construct a metaphor is also important. They should be pithy, easy to understand and appropriate to the situation. When done correctly – they can simultaneously strengthen the personal connection between you and the person you are talking to, and condense the professional information you are trying to get across into a compact and effective package.
We often use stories unconsciously in conversation, but as part of a business negotiation they need to be formed and deployed in a more strategic and intelligent way. In the field of lead generation, well-constructed stories are an essential way of forging a connection between yourself and a prospect. This is where the experienced callers at Chartered Developments have an advantage: they have the professional backgrounds necessary to ensure the stories they tell are pitched correctly and they do the research needed to ensure that the stories are constructed with the recipient of their call in mind.