Tell Me a Story

October 23, 2019


Have you heard the saying, “Facts tell, stories sell?”

It’s true…and here’s why.

We’ve been hearing stories (and letting them capture our imaginations) since before we could read or write…and long before we could make “heads or tails” out of facts and statistics.

We know what to do with stories. We let them take us to new realities, better times, bigger dreams.

Isn’t that exactly what you want your marketing to do?

Stories invite your customer to be the hero of their business or their life. They can see themselves living “happily ever after” on the other side of the problem you solve.

So, how does it work?

Pretend I want to enroll you in a course about creating systems in your business.

Let me tell you a story:

Winter is coming. It does every year.

My family and I know that. Yet, somehow, it sneaks up on us all the same.

When it’s time to build the wood pile, it’s all-hands-on-deck. “Family Chris” has a plan.

We have developed a system…a firewood generating machine.

From the youngest to the oldest, everyone has a job. Grandpa finds the fallen trees and clears the path. Maybe he cuts down a dead tree that hasn’t fallen yet. Mom uses the chain saw to cut the tree into manageable chunks. Not too big, not too small. The right size for the chopping block.

Oldest child has splitting duty. She puts her whole body into the swing and gets frustrated if the log doesn’t split all the way on the first pass. Two middle children load the wheelbarrow, aiming for a perfect load…enough to make the trip worth it, but not so much the barrow becomes impossible to push. When the wheelbarrow is full, they take turns rolling it to the patio where the wood pile stands. Sometimes it takes them both, an exercise in cooperation.

At the patio, the youngest has unloading duty, taking the logs one at a time and carefully building the stack. When she gets impatient, the middle two unload and then return to build the next load.

A perfect machine.

Everyone has a job suited to their ability, and one job can’t start until the step before it is completed. To be efficient, jobs must be synchronized, or somebody stands idle for too long while someone else feels overloaded.

“Family Chris” has a pretty good estimate of how much wood we’ll need (with a little help from Farmer’s Almanac predicting how cold the winter will be). When we reach our targeted amount, we do an extra load or two, just for good measure.

When the task is finished, our little machine has done its job. We’ve worked together and have what we need to be warm all winter. A Family Machine built to keep us cozy.

This (true) story does a much better job of making our case than a list of statistics about the number of business that fail, because they don’t have a system or a long-winded description of the ideal components of a business system.

I’ll bet that, by the time we started describing the different jobs, you were making the story your own, substituting the various jobs that need to be completed to make your business a success.

This story has been a very successful part of our marketing for several years. We share it in workshops, webinars and stage presentations. It even appears in our best-selling book Customertopia: How to Create an Easier, Simpler, More Profitable Business.

We tell the story because it sells what we do. It can work for you, too.

Become a better storyteller…it will boost your business. We promise.

Go forth and do great things,

Martha Hanlon and Chris Williams

Martha & Chris