Chances are, sometime recently you’ve heard someone tell a good story; a friend, a family member, someone at work or on TV. Chances are you’ve also heard someone spout a mouthful facts and statistics about one thing or another while relating a situation or circumstance. Which of these do you recall? More importantly, which one do you recall more favorably?
Stories have been around as long as people. It is how we recount or recall things to each other – always has been. And yet, our longing to hear great stories hasn’t diminished one bit over all those millennia. Neither has our longing to tell great stories. Let’s face it; we all enjoy a good story.
A well-crafted and well told story engages us entirely. They draw us in and capture us in their narrative and linger with us long after the story has been told. The best ones don’t just stay with us, but enthrall us to the extent that we aren’t even able to get them out of our mind – a phenomena we refer to as “top of mind awareness.”
When you have a need that requires you to seek a particular solution, do any specific items or products come immediately to mind? If so, it is likely that there is a story or experience that you associate to those people, products, or services. When you immediately associate a particular solution to a particular product or service, that company has successfully placed themselves in a truly enviable position. They have achieved top-of-mind awareness; the intersection of need and thought.
Stories can do that, but you have to be a good story teller. Your story has to be compelling and real. Most importantly, it has to bring value to the listener. Real brand awareness is more than being able to identify a company by its logo. It’s how you feel about a company when you identify them. Is there some visceral feeling; something truly compelling about them? The more compelling the story, the higher the probability of gaining and holding that top-of-mind position.
Your customers and prospects are making choices, preferences and buying decisions every day. When that happens, are they thinking of you? If you want to establish top of mind awareness, your story must be well crafted and your message compelling. And then your story had best be out there where your customers are. It has to be on their radar and it must be kept there.
But remember; people buy from people… people with a good story to tell. And when your story is compelling, and you’ve placed it where the right folks will see it, you earn a level of trust and authority that you cannot buy. You begin to establish respect for your expertise.
And when you reach a position of trust, remember to be gracious and generous with what you know. Speak from the perspective of the prospect or customer, answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” Think about what would bring valuable to your customer and become known for what you know and what you share, not what you sell.