Selling with Storytelling

October 19, 2020

Storytelling is the bridge between a company’s mission and the heart of their customers.

Just about a year ago, I was searching for small gifts and stumbled upon Pura Vida, an online bracelet company designed to support small artisans across the globe. The Founders discovered their purpose when coming across two craftsmen in Costa Rica who struggled to survive on their minimal artisan wages. They requested 400 bracelets from them and brought them to display at a local boutique. In a mere few days, they sold out completely and knew what they were designated to accomplish.

“These pieces were more than just simple friendship bracelets. They were a movement that celebrated the simple things in life—or ‘Pura Vida,’ as Costa Rican’s would call it.”

Now, more than 800 artisans across Costa Rica, El Salvador, India, and more can count on a steady income. Inspired by the origins of this company and their commitment to supporting artisans around the world, I developed a deeper connection to the Pura Vida brand. My purchase wasn’t simply going to friends—it was supporting a whole community of artisans.

As Pura Vida clearly demonstrates: identifying the purpose of your work can help you better understand the goals of your company and what you should be committed to.

So now that you have an idea, what’s your story? What makes your company desirable and how can your story sell?

A Personal Connection

A personal anecdote that embodies your company’s vision is the key to presenting a great story. Think back to your “why”. Why did you start this company and what is your long-term goal? Establishing an emotional connection is crucial for customers to choose you.

Every startup holds the idea that their product or service will revolutionize their entire industry. But new businesses lack the desired connection and trust that large corporations have. A well-told story fills that gap and gives meaning to a product or service that is otherwise impersonal. The key to gaining that competitive edge is by differentiating your company and making it more memorable.

Now let’s take a step back. Not everyone needs a life-changing experience or breakthrough event to prove their core values. It’s about the people and how they can contribute or resonate with your mission. Continue to think about the “why” and reiterate your story until it speaks with emotion.

In fact, personal anecdotes can even expand beyond the company’s team. The famous Nike footwear company blew up from its partnership with Michael Jordan back in 1984. Once made for a rookie basketball player, the iconic shoes spread in popularity and changed the entire perception around their sneakers. This is just one creative approach where Nike used someone else’s rise to fame as a gateway to proving value.

Forming a Structure

Your story is going to create a lasting impression on the world—but only if people see it. Keeping your stories engaging and succinct is essential for buyers to stay attentive.

Here’s some tips for forming a structure:

  1. Start with a great hook to get your reader’s attention. The last thing we need is for consumers to get bored and move on.
  2. Describe the “aha” moment where you realized that your product/service will be desired.
  3. Connect your company’s existing motives with the utility benefit for consumers. Explain how their purchase will coincide with your mission.
  4. Prove the value of your innovation with respect to competitors. Why are you better?
  5. Conclude with a tagline that will develop a connection between the consumer and company.

The end goal, of course, is to persuade customers to purchase your product or service. There’s an infinite number of ways to deliver your story. Whether it be in-person sales pitches and “about us” webpages, or social media advertising and email marketing, there’s always a way to get your point heard.

I came onto the Pura Vida site out of curiosity and walked out with $90 worth of small gifts. In retrospect, that was far more than I expected on spending, but it just felt worth it.

Understanding the importance of storytelling is a powerful skill to effectively boost business sales. Craft your story now and establish that connection. Word of mouth will do the rest.

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