Why Story Is Everything

As entrepreneurs, we get so immersed in our ideas and focused on our amazing product that we forget that neither of these are the reason why somebody will buy from us. The idea and the product are not what will bring in cash.

If you've ever attended any webinar, in which you were most likely offered a product or service eventually, you may or may not know that such webinars are usually scripted in detail and specifically designed to tell vivid and compelling stories that captivate and take the audience on a journey.

All of those stories follow the fundamental principles of a story arc, which is the chronological way events unfold in a story: the setting, the struggle, the turning point, the resolution. Think of your favorite superhero movie. It most likely follows this structure.

Let's even go one step deeper and look at the main character, the superhero. At the beginning of the movie we get introduced to our hero. We are presented the ordinary world and mundane life of the hero. This 'setting the stage' lets us identify with the main character before the journey begins.

What now follows is what's called the "hero's journey". These are usually 12 stages our hero will go through, beginning from the current, ordinary world, through the struggle and adventure, facing the biggest fears and roadblocks, the ordeal, receiving the reward, and finally returning home - but, as a different person.

While traversing the world, the hero undergoes inner and outer transformations at each stage of the journey.

There is naturally much more to it, but it would go too far to cover this topic in more detail here. Just keep in mind, whenever you follow your desire to get out of your comfort zone, face and overcome your fears, you follow this journey over and over again.

That's what's called growth.

Now, let's put this together. The fact that your favorite movie triggers an emotional response in you, moves you to tears or gives you goosebumps, is almost certainly not due to the breathtaking visuals, the brilliant CGI, the immaculate sound design, or the exceptional acting.

Sure, those are all important pieces of the puzzle of an excellent and unforgettable movie experience. But the main reason you get hooked and pulled into the movie is the story.

You feel with and identify yourself with the hero. You go through the same journey together with your hero, but in your own world. You experience all the emotions with the hero, the struggle, the obstacles, the ordeal, the reward, the happy end - so that in the end you feel like a hero yourself.

The key is the engaging, inspiring, motivating story. If the plot and the underlying storyline are weak, the movie doesn't hook you, the hero's journey doesn't captivate you, the movie doesn't cause emotions in you, and you lose your attention. That's definitely something you want to avoid as a storyteller.

What does all this have to do with marketing, you might ask? Well, everything. Anything that persuades you is story-based.

Create and tell a persuasive narrative that focuses on the thoughts, fears and aspirations of your audience. And if you do that, you have the power to change the way somebody sees the world.

Don't Confuse Logic With Emotions

The way how we approach any new opportunity that is presented is always the same for everybody.

This is human behavior and it applies to a potential purchase you want to make, a new hobby you want to take up, a new diet you want to follow, your own business that you want to start...

Anything, really - any product, any decision.

The brain experiences this typically in the following order, and the psychology behind revolves around three belief patterns.

  • Phase 1 - Vehicle-based belief: General agreement that that product could actually do what it says it's supposed to do.

    The questions your brain processes at this stage are "Does that product really work? Does it do what it's supposed to do? Is that legit?"
  • Phase 2 - Internal belief: I believe that that product has the potential to actually do what it says it can (phase 1), AND I believe that I could actually do it too (phase 2).

    The questions your brain processes at this stage are "Does it work for me? Can I do it? Am I able to do it?"
  • Phase 3 - External belief: I believe that that product can actually do what it says it wants to do (phase 1), I believe that I can do it as well (phase 2), AND that I have the resources capable to do it (phase 3).

    The questions your brain processes at this stage are "Do I have the time, the resources, the support from my spouse, my friends to do that?"

Let's illustrate that with an example. You want to buy a new laptop.

  • Phase 1 - Vehicle-based belief: "Hmm, I'm not sure, does this laptop really deliver what it says? Is it really that fast? Is the screen really that great?" --- "Well, I've done some research and read many testimonials from other people, and I really believe that that's a great laptop."
  • Phase 2 - Internal belief: "But, can I really use it? There are so many new features, it's completely different from my current, old and slow laptop. Will I know how to use all the new stuff, the new technologies?" --- "Ok, I definitely believe that that laptop is great and can do everything I want, and I believe I can definitely use it and get my work done faster. I'm confident that I'm able to figure out all the new exciting things that the laptop offers."
  • Phase 3 - External belief: "But, do I really have the money to buy a new laptop right now? It's really expensive. What will my spouse say that I spend so much money on a new laptop?" --- "No problem, I have the money available. I've had my current laptop for many years already, and recently I didn't eat out often, didn't buy a lot of new clothes, so that's ok when I buy that laptop now."

We always go through the same phases, and this is all entirely emotional, but the brain thinks it's logical. Think about it, how many times were you sold something, then you walk out of the store and think "oh shoot, why did I buy that?!".

That's when your emotions fade and your logical part of the brain takes over again. Logic doesn't sell. Emotions sell.

The Art Of Selling Without Selling

All your belief patterns, the way you see the world, what you think about a product, or about anything for that matter, is upheld by story.

Before people will want to purchase from you, their brain goes through the internal conversation in the three phases. Does it work? Will it work for me? Do I have time for that and can I afford it?

Now, if you just shout at them "buy my product, it's the best and cheapest you can find anywhere!", you probably won't make any sales because their story is holding up their beliefs (that doesn't work, it's useless, I don't need it, I can't even afford it).

But, by telling them stories that address each one of their current false beliefs (I'm not sure if that works, I don't know if I can do it, it's too expensive, ...), you replace their story.

What you are doing is figuring out how far down that belief progression they have already come and joining them there, breaking and rebuilding that belief.

And at that moment when the story is shifted, their belief changes. Their false beliefs crumble and fall. They now see the world with different eyes.

If you want to change belief, change the story. This is the key of not only storytelling, but it is the key to the art of selling without selling.

You want to cause an emotional response and the realization in someone's head that they need your product, without you saying "you need my product".

Once you understand that, you can turn levers in the brain on decision making and literally cause belief - and you will realize the power you have attained. It goes without saying that this comes with an ethical and moral obligation. Be upfront and deliver what you promise.

Like any art there is, your storytelling requires practice. Start telling stories and see which ones cause the strongest response in your audience. Those are the stories you need to remember, tweak, improve, and elaborate on to sell your product.

Like a comedian on stage constantly evaluates which stories and punchlines have the biggest effect on people, you need to constantly check whether your stories trigger the desired emotions in your audience.

Once you have your growing collection of stories, you can easily tell a condensed 2-minute story to someone over a coffee or if you need to, lengthen it to a 20-minute story or a 60-minute presentation by simply adding more details.

That's why this whole framework is so important. Your stories can lengthen or shorten depending on the situation you're in and who you talk to.

This is it. This is what the essence of marketing is.

"Marketing is the act of changing beliefs with the intent of a sale. Selling is telling stories. Story is what's causing the purchase to happen. Money is the byproduct of marketing."

(Steve Larsen)

Understandably, this is just an abstract. The fascinating world of "story selling" and marketing goes much, much deeper.

Your business is your calling. People come to you looking for a solution to their problems.

By learning the secrets and mastering the art of finding your voice and creating a message that will connect with your audience, you can convert more visitors into buyers.

You are able to give them the results they are looking for and change their lives.

This is how you grow your company. And this is why you want to claim your free copy of the Expert Secrets book that reveals how you turn your online visitors into lifelong customers.


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© 2019-2024 Niavimi OÜ - All Rights Reserved

Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy


Affiliate T&C

This website was built using systeme.io.

Niavimi OÜ is the private limited company owned and run by Sascha Meier.

Made possible by the e-Residency program of Estonia and supported by Xolo.