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Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

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Promote Your Business With Stories And Anecdotes

People love to pass them on ...


Posted by Jacky Sherman on 10/01/2024 @ 8:00AM

Here's an interesting statistic: A Stanford research study showed that when briefing someone with just statistics they remember only about 5-10%, but when coupled with stories and anecdotes, the retention rate rises to 65-70% ...

Stories and anecdotes are great at promoting your business

Stories and anecdotes are great at promoting your business

copyright: rawpixel / 123rf stock photo

So a fact wrapped in a story is 22 times more memorable than a simple fact according to psychologist Jerome Bruner. What’s more, stories or anecdotes with action in them stimulate our motor brain, and people unconsciously act out the story in their heads as if they were doing it themselves.

This makes stories, and particularly anecdotes, a great way of promoting your business. People remember them and have acted out having that success for themselves, so are predisposed to buy.

These stories and anecdotes are even more compelling if told by another on your behalf as there is the added benefit of word of mouth and third-party endorsement.

"People love to pass on good stories!"

For those in your network who are already motivated to refer you, it helps them first to spot similar situations which might be opportunities for you and gives them the ammunition to share with prospects why you, in particular, are the right person to help.

What makes a great anecdote to share with your contacts?

  • Keep it simple. Remember that a third party is repeating your story and while they're not going to repeat it word for word, they need to be able to repeat the gist without losing the point of the story. Too complicated, or trying to be clever, and you’ll lose them.

  • Well structured. Have a clear beginning (the problem/challenge), middle (your intervention) and end (the outcome), and it should flow with the listener being able to follow the chain of events.

  • It’s about the client, not you. You want the end audience to be relating to the client’s situation, not yours. Remember above, they act out the part in their head. So the person they need to relate to is the person with the issue who then finds success.

  • Show the client in a good light. No one is going to identify with being a fool. They may have made mistakes but the emphasis should be on how smart they were in finding you to be their solution.

There are many good opportunities to share your stories and anecdotes with your network.

Before going into that detail, a warning to be mindful of confidentiality. Check with your client what information they are happy for you to share and whether you can do so anonymously or quote them.

A good time to share stories is in general, informal conversations. For instance, you know that half an hour or so before your network meeting starts when everyone stands around talking? What do you talk about? How about when someone asks you "how’s business?", instead of saying “busy, busy” how about “I had a great week last week, my client told me ...” instead?

More formally, you might use anecdotes to illustrate a point in a referral briefing meeting with one of your network. This is a good time to give powerful stories to back up written testimonials. Remember that you are giving your source the evidence they need to influence the third party to want to meet you.

"It’s worth checking that they have understood properly!"

Presentations and other speaking engagements, videos on your website, blog posts and other writing are all ways that you can share your stories. Make sure they illustrate the point you want to make rather than coming across as blowing your own trumpet or as a blatant sales pitch.

Stories are infectious and will encourage others to share their tales with you in return, and this will help you to make better referrals. Collect the stories of your referral sources as well as your own, and spread the word for both of you.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If you'd like to hear more about using stories and anecdotes to improve your referrals, you may feel it's a great idea to give me a call on 07970 638857, and let's see how I can help you.

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