The thought of sales is enough to make most authors such as yourself want to run screaming in the other direction. Yet part of the conversation around writing a book and getting it published means selling books and, hopefully, whatever else you offer beyond the book.
If sales makes you quake in your boots, you’re not alone. I can relate, because I love writing fiction, teaching and mentoring, but the thought of sales used to make me break out in a cold sweat. Until I got out of my own insecurities and put attention where it belongs. I also realized that a skill that I LOVE teaching is the key to connecting effortlessly with anyone.
That skill is storytelling, and you’re about to receive 3 simple Storytelling Templates, which give you instant storytelling techniques – just fill in the blanks and you will connect with your ideal customer with ease!
Focusing on the reader/listener’s problems and the solutions that will make their life better reframes the situation completely. Now it’s not about ‘selling’. It’s about SERVING the reader and solving their problems.
It’s no secret that people won’t respond to preaching or being fact-blasted. Storytelling is the key that opens the door to connecting with your audience on a deep emotional level that will cause the right ones to do business with you.
Here’s how you can become a great storyteller with ease.
It’s About WIIFM
Imagine you’re writing a chapter of your book and you want to make sure your reader connects with you.
Before writing a word, recognize that what makes the perfect chapter is what creates the perfect experience for your reader so that he comes right back to YOU.
Every person is caught up in WIIFM, which means what’s in it for me?
Put yourself inside the head of the reader and consider what that person needs to experience in order to feel you the author have her best interests at heart and that you can solve her problem.
Will enumerating a long list of facts do it?
Will trying hard to convince him you have his solution do it?
Will sharing your impressive credentials win her over?
I hope you’re shaking your head no as you read this, because none of those techniques work. And yet, how many times have you read a blog post, book chapter or brochure that repelled you with marketer speak, lofty credentials or high-pressure convincing?
You may not have realized what turned you off about someone’s writing, but chances are excellent it was one of those tactics.
better you become aware of this now, because you may be guilty!
And the most important question is: are you yourself causing your potential customer to run the other way?
Why Convincing and Selling Don’t Work
Please read the story of Jan the Smoker:
A friend whom I’ll call Jan has been a smoker for decades. She has medical conditions that cause her constant pain, and she feels that the nicotine helps her manage her pain.
Jan’s friend Brian is constantly hounding her, Jan, you gotta quit smoking. It’s so bad for you.
Imagine how Jan feels every time her friend pushes and pushes her about her smoking.
Every time Brian sees Jan, he just HAS to share the latest smoking research, a flyer for e-cigarettes or what he perceives to be his most convincing argument EVER in the history of friendship that will cause her to kick the habit.
Is any of that working? No!
Is Jan interested in being sold? No! Her friendship with Brian grows less fond every day because he keeps hassling her.
He believes he knows better, and he truly cares for his friend. Yet he is so busy bullhorning AT her that he isn’t seeing the signs that their friendship decays.
Jan knows that every conversation with Brian will include his anti-smoking sales pitch, and she’s not buying!
Now when her cell phone rings and the caller ID shows Brian, she kicks the call to voicemail and calls back when she knows he’s at work. She used to get together with him every few weeks, but it’s been months since she saw him.
Brian wonders what happened, and he never recognizes that he himself is driving his friend away.
Did you notice that first I asked you a question and then told you a story to demonstrate the teaching?
Storytelling is powerful because it gets into the mind past the defenses. If I tell you not to preach to people in your book chapters, you’re likely to become defensive and say, I NEVER do THAT!
Yet in the gentle arms of the story, now you have the eyes to see the dynamic at play, and perhaps you recognize times when you may have been pushy or preachy even though you acted out of loving concern.
You want to be a reader MAGNET, not reader repellant. Now that you’re in touch with the problem, it’s my JOY to share the solution so that this issue need never trouble you.
Storytelling to the Rescue!
Storytelling is your salvation. However, if i were to simply say, go ye forth and tell stories, chances are excellent that you would feel ill-equipped.
Have no fear, because soon you will discover some super-simple storytelling techniques that will bring people to you rather than creating an exodus. Before I go there, simply recognize that you now see the power of stories.
Please take a moment to crawl inside the head of your reader, who has a big problem.
Not a mosquito bite problem, but a shark bite problem.It’s so big and pervasive that he’s losing sleep, wailing and gnashing his teeth. (OK that may be a SLIGHT over-dramatization, but I can’t help myself sometimes!)
Storytelling Helps Overcome the Curse of the Expert
What is the curse of the expert? It’s your knowledge. You’re SO DOGGONE GOOD at what you do. You truly know your stuff.
Now you’re going, ‘w-w-w-WAIT a minute that’s good, isn’t it?
Well yes. It’s great. It’s going to earn you money and grow your reputation. The curse comes from having the habit of spouting off facts and talking over your reader’s head.
Now don’t get upset. You do this out of a sincere desire to be of value. You don’t mean to alienate your reader.
What’s incredibly easy and natural for you is a BIG stretch for your reader. So you think you’re giving the for dummies version of an answer when in fact you’re teaching at college level from the perspective of your poor reader with the big shark-bite problem!
Storytelling bridges that gap.
You can teach the reader by means of the simple storytelling techniques that follow.
3 Storytelling Templates
Storytelling Templates are recipes or step-by-step story formulas you can use. They’re incredibly powerful and flexible.
I created them because I’m a natural storyteller. I’ve been telling stories since I was a tot playing with my stuffed animals. Yes, I made up skits and plays, some of which carried on in soap-opera fashion over a course of weeks.
So storytelling is my special mojo. And soon, it will be YOURS!
Many of my mentoring clients are speakers. Others are small business owners or service providers. No matter what sort of entrepreneur you are, there are storytelling ideas all around you.
Here are some brain ticklers for you. Stories can come from anywhere, such as:
- customer encounters
- things that happen at a restaurant
- how a salesperson treated you in a store
- people watching
Former veteran pitchman Billy Maes co-hosted a show called The Pitchmen. During one episode, he said that at least 50% of why people buy is because of the stories.
Giving some structure to you will help you become a masterful storyteller, and that will take the pressure to sell away, because the focus becomes connecting on a human level rather than closing the sale.
These are the 3 Storytelling Templates you will learn here:
- Turnaround Stories: Before, after & results!
- Frequently Asked Questions: Customer queries demonstrated in story form
- SHOULD Ask Questions: Those things you wish people would know to ask but don’t
Ready? Let’s go!
The Turnaround Storytelling Template
- Problem – here’s the problem a customer had..
- Solution – here’s what we did to fix it.
- Turnaround – here’s what happened with the solution in place..
- Call to Action – How YOU can get that kind of result.
Example of the turnaround Storytelling Template
This example comes from How Correcting 3 Common Copywriting Mistakes Increased Sale 86% byKristen Eckstein I’ve snipped out a few juicy tidbits to highlight the storytelling aspects, so if you want the whole story, clicking the title will take you there.
Step 1: Lay out the problem: First, the problem comes forth in story form: I’ve underlined places to draw draw your attention.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the message we most want our customers to hear gets lost in a sea of superlatives.
Provider Watch suffered from a bit of this problem. When I read their original home page copy I was confused about what they offered. While all the information seemed to be within the copy, I didn’t get it.
he owner of Provider Watch knew she had a great product. She also knew it should be very popular with daycare providers. What the owner didn’t understand was why her copy wasn’t triggering the reaction she was hoping for.
There was no major problem with the Provider Watch home page. Instead, there were several little problems; the sum of which was costing Provider Watch conversions.
Storytelling and teaching can be woven in together, as they are in this article.
Step 2: Tell about the solution: Remember to weave the story into talking about what happened whenever possible. Kristen Eckstein makes it transparent by labeling ‘the problems’ and ‘the solutions’ for you.
The solutions for this home page were quite simple. Outline what Provider Watch did, then clearly provide that information to the site visitors while keeping the emotional attraction. I wanted the site visitors to know immediately what was being offered and precisely how it would benefit them.
n addition, I needed to find a way to offer proof that this was a viable service that filled a very real need. Because the service was unusual, educating the site visitor would be as important as selling to them.
Kristen goes on to provide some detail about what happened, and an astute reader begins to feel she knows what to do. (even though she just has the high level eagle-soaring-overhead version)
Step 3: Reveal results: The tale of transformation is more than a before and after (like a diet commercial big reveal). The final step is to share results. Here’s how Kristen did it in this article:
overall, the home page was made to be much more simple, clear and concise with an unmistakable path that the site visitor could follow from introduction to purchase.
Did it work? Did it ever! Provider Watch has seen a:
- 52% increase in unique visitors to the site
- 22% increase in overall sign-ups
- 86% increase in paid subscribers
- Steady increase in phone traffic
Another mystery solved!
(Call to action goes here – I’ll cover that later)
That is a brilliant example of the Turnaround template in action.
This Storytelling Template does 3 things:
- Demonstrates your expertise
- Makes the reader feel empowered
- Shows the reader he needs YOU for better results.
Action step: Utilize client success stories and tell the story of their turnarounds.
The FAQ Storytelling Template
Most websites have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, but seldom does anyone realize the power of the FAQ story.
the fact that certain questions come up all the time is a cue that they are the biggest stumbling blocks. meaning many people who are your ideal client/customer have that concern. And you’re just the person to fix it!
You don’t just say, ‘clients come to me all the time with problem X.’
You pick a story that demonstrates how working with you /your teachings solves the biggest problems people have.
Here’s how the FAQ Storytelling Template works
- Pick a ‘bad’ case that show the problem. Show the problem
- Share how to fix that problem.
- Reveal how there may be a bigger issue than that.
- Call to action (what to do next.
I’ll give a quick example. A question I often get is, ìHow do I make money from my book?î
A man I’ll call Chad came into the bar at the hotel where I was attending a business seminar. He was literally pushing his book at people and interrupting their conversations, then asking for $20 for the book.
As you might imagine, this went over poorly. He made no sales. Someone pointed me out to him as someone who works with authors, and he asked, ìHow do I actually make money from my book?î
I asked, ìWhat else do you have besides the book?
A blank expression crossed his face. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Courses? Services? Selling from stage? Bundled product packages?’
He shook his head. ‘No I don’t have anything like that. I just have the book.’
And that’s the problem. He has nothing but the book and makes only a few dollars.
I took a drink napkin and showed him 3 steps to make an audio product that he could bundle with his book. (1. outline a talk that solves a problem your ideal reader has. 2. Record it on a free conference line or on a computer. 3. go to Kunaki.com & have CDs made).
If you have a lead generator (the book) but no other products or services behind it, you’ll forever be chasing small bills down the street until you build a true legacy business around your book.
(call to action goes here – more on that later)
Action Step: Take each of your FAQs and relate a strong story to it. You have your ‘recipe card’ that shows you how to tell that story in anything you do.
Storytelling Template #3: SAQs – Should Ask Questions
You’ve already seen how the SHOULD Ask Question Storytelling Template can spring from the FAQs.
The SAQ Storytelling Template:
- Pick a should ask question.
- Choose a living example.
- Reveal the BIGGER problem.
- Call to action
the SAQs are the ones you fervently WISH people would know to ask but don’t. Often they don’t ask these questions because the issue is in the realm of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’
You just read about chad.
The SAQ version of that story is: What people SHOULD ask about making money from their books is ‘How do I make money LONG TERM?’
While I have some VIP partners with fabulous book marketing courses that I recommend, it is my duty and my delight to show how creating a legacy around that book can prosper you, your family, and even your favorite charity.
Most everyone has heard you need traffic to your website. the SAQ is about targeted traffic (the right readers who will buy what you have) and the even bigger issue of sales conversion.
I know people come to Kristen Eckstein asking about publishing, and she surely has her own list of SAQs that she delivers to her clients.
Action Step: Write down your own SAQs and add a person’s name or an event that brings out the teaching. Then develop your own SAQ stories.
Which conveniently leads to the 4th step in each template: the call to action.
Everything You Do Needs a Call to Action!
No matter what story you’re telling, there is a step that needs to happen at the end of the piece.
A call to action.
Don’t just leave your reader hanging. Now tell him how to get better results by taking your course, buying your book or whatever solution fits.
Here’s how Kristen Eckstein did it in the common copywriting mistakes article:
Want to get more info about how applying these and other copywriting strategies to your site for improved rankings & sales? Join Karon and me for a free webinar (date etc)
Storytelling Training for Busy Entrepreneurs
Each of the 3 simple storytelling Templates you have received gives you the power to tell dozens of stories that you can include in your
- blog posts
- info products
- stage presentations
- or anywhere you interact with your audience.
Stories go EVERYWHERE!
Ronda Del Boccio is a #1 bestselling author and Celebrity Author Mentor teaching entrepreneurs simple, proven methods for storytelling and writing a book. Her books include The Instant VIP! Insider Secrets to Fame, Freedom and Fulfillment as an Expert Author, The Peace Seed: Personal and Global Transformation through Storytelling and Stop the Time Bandit! Time Management Tools for Self Mastery as well as the fantasy fiction anthology When Assassins and Allies Conspire.