Inspiring and motivating your audience is a large part of running your business. Without the passion and drive for what you do you won’t be able to connect with your ideal client.

I talk about human connection and conversation all the time. For business, that connection is the lifeblood, just as sales is the oxygen. Storytelling is the perfect way to combine connection and sales so you can engage with your audience and boost sales for your business.

It’s worth noting that 63% of people remember stories over only 5% who remember stats. The irony isn’t lost on me that that I used a statistic to get that point across! However, there will be plenty of people in your audience who still crave statistics, and they certainly have a place in your storytelling.

Prominent stories surround us at the moment as we watch the adverts on television from the bigger business brands such as John Lewis and Aldi. Why do these stories matter to us so much? Why do we look out for them during our nightly viewing?

Marketing companies around the globe know how to use our emotions. They love to exploit our heavenly hormones to make us buy.

Three heavenly hormones

Creating business stories that activate the following heavenly hormones is how you trigger the chemical effects of storytelling.

The human mind is set up primarily as a story processor, connecting to the limbic brain, which deals with emotions and memory. Even the most analytical person who uses their logic processor can’t argue with the science and strength of the chemical effects.

Dopamine – when you activate this hormone in your storytelling your audience will be focused, motivated, and remember what you’ve told them. They become personally invested in your story.

What types of business story could you use to release dopamine? It’s all about the ‘to be continued’ style, or stories full of suspense. You want your clients to be asking you ‘but what happened next?’

To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from ‘what information do I need to convey? To ‘what questions do I want my audience to ask?” Chip Heath, American academic.

Oxytocin – better known as the ‘love hormone’. When you activate this hormone in your storytelling your clients will feel relaxed. They’ll trust you and form bonds. These types of stories are powerful because they allow your audience to relate to you on a human level.

What types of business story could you use to release oxytocin? Real-life stories are great for this. You’ve heard me talk about my fabulous dad on more than one occasion, and you may have also listened to my TedX talk and related to what I was saying. That connection with adversity and coming through it resonates on a deeper level.

Another way to release oxytocin is to use the ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO style story.

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something, than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.” Robert Cialdini, Professor of Psychology and Marketing.

Your audience will be motivated by the thought of missing out on something valuable. What story can you tell that will tap into that feeling?

Endorphins – this hormone is your creativity one and allows you to build trust, provide a boost of pleasure, and relax your audience.

What type of business story could you use to release endorphins? Making your audience laugh is a beautiful skill to possess. However, a word of caution, we don’t all have the same sense of humour. What you find funny may upset a potential client so use this with care. Don’t tell jokes, instead use real and relatable stories about your own experiences. This is the best form of humour that resonates with your audience.

Hormones from hell

Yes, you want to tap into dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins for our audience, but you want to ensure your business stories don’t contain two specific hormones: Cortisol and Adrenalin. Those pesky hormones are all about disengagement, making bad decisions, intolerance, and irritability.

How do you use storytelling when you are selling?

Let’s get personal now. I want you to think about how YOU use storytelling when you are selling yourself? What stories are you sharing to promote your brand?

Does your Facebook Business Page, or LinkedIn ‘about’ section read like a stuffy CV? Have you omitted to include the heavenly hormones in your own story?

Take some time to think about the following:

  • What’s your why?
  • Why do you run your business?
  • Why do you love what you do?
  • Where does your passion come from?
  • Who are your ideal clients?
  • What are the ‘why’s’ of your ideal clients?
  • Why do your clients trust you?

Storytelling for business is about making a memorable first impression about who you are and what you do. A list of qualifications and old job titles won’t connect on an emotional level with anyone. We want to relate to the people we work with, buy from, or collaborate with, and using emotions in your brand message will help you connect on a deeper level with your audience.

Using case studies

If you were writing a fictional story you would carefully craft characters with a range of issues that were solved as the tale unfolded. These are the twists and turns that keep us, the reader, engaged in the outcome. Waterstones is full to the brim of these kinds of narratives.

How can we create the same drive with our business stories?

Think about the clients you’ve worked with this year. They are fully formed characters with issues that you solved for them through your products or services. They’re not fictional. These accounts are real-life. Turn them into case studies to share on your website or blog or your social media platforms.

Case studies are a fabulous way to boost your sales strategy as potential clients will see themselves in the story (oxytocin). They’ll be eager to find out if you can also help them (dopamine). They will feel relieved and happy to have found a possible solution (endorphins).

Other types of business stories

I love using a good acronym, so here’s my storytelling one that outlines other types of business stories you can use:

Statistical

Transformational

Observational

Relevant

Impactful

Empathetic

Sensational

I go into much more depth about each type in my webinar Why Stories Sell.

Let’s recap

I’ll ask you again – how do you use storytelling when you are selling?

I hope this post has given you many useful tips to answer that question and help you think about the stories you are sharing in and around your business. Try brainstorming the types of stories that resonate with you and see how you can include the three heavenly hormones. You don’t have to use all three at the same time.

Make a list of the case studies you could put together and how your clients’ stories will resonate with your audience.

I’d love to hear how you get on, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and share your stories with my sales community and me.

To discover a host of valuable content to help you on your sales journey and to drive sales to your business via storytelling, you may be interested in my new membership, the Live It Love It Sell It Experience. It’s a fantastic community based around your very own high street community to connect, learn, and belong. Sign up HERE.

Want to learn more about working with me? Please take advantage of a virtual cuppa to find out how I can help you navigate your sales journey.

Jules White

Jules White is a professional sales coach whose business allows her to do what she loves, helping entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed at sales and to fall in love with selling. She has over 30 years' experience of business and sales, including winning investment from Peter Jones on Dragons' Den, making her a real dragon slayer. She is a regular public speaker and hosts the podcast 'The Human Conversation' on iTunes.

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