All of us like stories. Scientific research proves our brains are wired for them. Years ago, our early ancestors passed on family history through stories. Even today, in our own families, there are stories that link us back to who we are, where we came from, and how we got here.
Stories are just as important to a business. Every company has a story to tell about its brand and its message. And that is why it’s vital for you, the B2B writer, to help your client tell their own spellbinding story.
It’s been said that whoever tells the best story wins. That’s true, because when you get engaged in a good story your rational thought is suspended and you become part of what is happening.
Have you ever watched a good movie or read a good book and found yourself physically reacting to what you were seeing or reading? That’s why story is so powerful!
The competition for your clients to get their messages out and to make sales is fierce. And it’s increasingly difficult for them to be heard above the noise. Telling a better story will set them apart from everyone else.
You can accomplish that mission by making sure these five elements are present in every story they tell. (You may recognize these elements as part of the Hero’s Journey.)
First, the customer should always be the hero.
Who the hero is matters. Most businesses or brands try to position themselves as the hero. They believe they will swoop in with their product or service and “save the day.”
It’s paramount for your client to understand that their customer and not their brand should be the hero in every marketing story they tell. This one shift in perspective can have a big impact.
Second, identify the customer’s real problem.
Knowing the real problem is often the main problem! What businesses think their customer’s problem is and what it actually is, could be worlds apart. It’s important to do the research and not make assumptions.
You should find out not only who the customer is, but also how they think. The more information that you can gather, the better you will be able to connect your client’s story to their customer’s problem. The right data can make a big difference.
Third, establish authority.
If the customer is the hero, then where does your B2B client fit in? They are Yoda from Star Wars or Haymitch from the Hunger Games — the guide who will help the customer get where they want to go.
As a guide, they must show that they understand their hero’s struggle and that they know how to help. This is where testimonials come in, but don’t overdo it. Too many testimonials can make it appear that your client is trying to assume the place of the hero in the story. Use just enough to show your client can help their customer reach their goal.
Fourth, give them a simple plan.
Notice the emphasis on the word simple. This is the point in the story at which your client (the guide) shows their customer (the hero) a plan, which is their product or service, which will help them achieve their desired result.
Make sure the plan is communicated in a clear and compelling way. It’s also important to explain the plan in manageable chunks so they can grasp it without having to work too hard.
Summarize the plan in three steps if at all possible. The brain processes information in threes — there are the three-act play, the Three Musketeers, and the Three Blind Mice. All of the most popular TED talks have three main movements. Even memorable phrases like “I came, I saw, I conquered” use this rule. You get the picture — make it simple, make it clear, and give them a path that’s easy to follow.
Finally, it’s time for your client to call their customer to action.
The call-to-action must be even clearer than the plan itself. Ask them for the order, give them a way to schedule the meeting, tell them what the next step is, and make it compelling.
The call-to-action is the climax of the process. Here is where your client tells their customer what action to take, and the triumph that will result if they follow the plan — or the tragedy that will happen if they don’t. So it’s vital to make this call-to-action crisp and to the point.
Helping your client tell their story will help them get their message out and get it heard. Storytelling is powerful, and doing it well will make all the difference for your B2B clients. Use these elements and every story you write will be a spellbinding story.