What do you need storytelling for? What does that have to do with developing an audience and building relationships?
SO why storytelling you may be thinking and how does that relate to my target audience and building strong relationships with customers and clients.
I’m here to say it is a quintessential art that will aid and abet your goals and ambitions.
As human beings we all evolve and learn through storytelling.
It entices audiences to listen and strengthens ties by highlighting similarities to build relationships.
There is nothing like imagining our ancestors huddled around fires sharing their knowledge.
And let’s face it in the millennia before social media this was all we had to illustrate, tell, explain, describe and teach.
Hence the parables, fables, myths, legends, tragedies, comedies and dramas which form the basis of our cultural connections to one another.
Good storytelling is about empathy for your audience (you do know who they are? ).
You know how they think and feel.
You see and hear what they do.
You understand what they say and do.
You feel their pain and have insight into the benefit of what you will share with them.
So now you must think from your empathetic perspective:
- What do you want to know?
- What troubles/pains you?
Storytelling done well is also about conflict and resolution, in other words the hook.
Empathy is taught. Self-interest I believe is natural.
Therefore to move beyond that self-interest you need to ask questions of your audience, to feel as they do and have insight into their motivations.
The answers will fuel your content.
Two key methods to create that content:
Identify your audience’s problems, create a call to action then show the solution.
Alternatively a simple who, what, why, how, outcome framework is an equally effective means to create your story.
Providing a credible story that will have your audience liking, trusting and knowing you is essential.
The value you provide as part of this process is where the buying begins.
Keep top of mind this is all about developing relationships.
It’s not simply about transactions.
Help your audience to get to where they want.
Listen to their hopes, dreams and fears.
Add value to express your worth and foster connections. This is the essence of good relationship building.
It’s in this enabling that you will inspire and compel people to want to work with you.
When I think about my story I like to share my business balls, creativity and solutions driven approach.
For example I have worked as an agent.
This is not a business for the faint of heart.
While it looks glamorous in film and television the reality is long winded grinding, a bit on the flowery side and at times full of bullshit.
That said on the upside done well it can pay some good coin.
Ask Larry Gagosian.
I had one instance where I was selling to an institution.
They had come and viewed a work.
It had been discussed that before any purchase would proceed, a decision would have to be made to bring the work in for conservation purpose etc.
Then and only then was a purchase assured.
I would have to be patient and bide my time.
I waited many months, answering questions by the artist and the institution.
Grind, grind, grind.
Then came the call, the acquisition committee had made a decision to bring the work in for conservation examination.
Or so I thought.
The painting sat at the institution and I felt confident of the sale proceeding.
I waited a few months further.
Until one day the institution made contact to advise, things would not go ahead as had been assured to me and my client.
It was like a slap in the face with a wet tea towel.
Cold, unpleasant and stinging.
The disappointment then turned to irritation and annoyance.
I had gone through a long game of wait and see to be told no.
I felt deceived.
I went back through the process.
Something was missing.
And I needed to find out.
Fortunately the answer was in the institution.
Policy for purchasing was public information and after combing through acquisitions procedure I found my solution.
It had been right there all along.
My client fitted into a category of artists that was of significant importance to the institution and there was no reason for the purchase not to proceed.
This was what made a transaction more than just a purchase it was a unique point of interest.
A relationship existed.
It just had to be highlighted.
It was a matter now for me to proceed forward and follow through for a sale to be completed.
My first port of call was the institutional director’s office.
I talked first with a personal assistant to create some context, asking for some feedback as to what had gone wrong with the acquisitions process.
My follow up email reiterated my main points of contention.
The response I had back was nothing short of marvellous.
Apologetic and unequivocal in agreement that the sale should proceed.
Negotiations had been long and drawn out.
But by following through, asking the right questions and executing the day had been won.
It also underlined the importance of not giving up easily and leaving no stone unturned as the saying goes.
My point in telling this is to show how sales like storytelling is a process.
It’s something we can learn, refine and hone through repeatedly executing and examining our results.
Listen then reflect the things your audience psychologically knows and understands to boost a sense of connectedness with what you do.
Build that relationship with stories.
Then ask for the sale after providing value, knowledge, liking and trust.
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