facts tell stories sell

Facts Tell, Stories Sell!

As a business owner, finding new customers can sometimes seem hard especially when you don’t have a marketing or sales background. I see hundreds of Facebook adverts which fail to grasp the mechanics of how to get the prospect to the next step. While they are factually and structurally sound, they lack the necessary oomph to stand out from the crowd.

One of my first mentors in marketing told me “Facts tell, stories sell!”. More crudely referenced in countless sales presentations is “Selling the sizzle, not the sausage”

As a long suffering (and long distance) Newcastle United fan, the girls and I had the pleasure of driving to see them play this week against Burnley and spotted some road signs that summed this up very well.

First came the message that the coming stretch of road was a 50mph zone. That’s the dry part, the factual part. Then a little while later it said there was an average speed check in place. More dry, factual stuff. Then came the sizzle. A fresh sign explained that 294 people on average had received speeding tickets each month! To say the traffic flowed in compliance is an understatement.

Frequent flyers among us will be familiar with the “Don’t un-buckle your seatbelt until the relevant light goes off” message. The best message I ever heard was from a Swissair pilot who said “These brakes are designed to stop the aircraft at 500mph, I’d hate to see you embarrass yourself and fall flat on your face if we tap them and you are standing up at the time” It made everyone smile…and stay seated!

Take a look at your messaging and sales materials, do you simply state the obvious or are you getting to tell a story?

Social media is a powerful tool to be able to communicate on many different levels and is a great way to help differentiate your company and services to your competition.

Start by asking what’s so special about what you do or offer? Unfortunately experience and service usually won’t cut the mustard unless you are the absolute leader or oldest in the sector. Even if you offer wonderful service, you are now probably still competing with hundreds or thousands of other great business owners.

You can ask your customers or family to help if it is a challenge defining your unique selling proposition.

The great news is that you don’t have to be an innovator or pioneer to make yourself stand out. Pimlico plumbers, a multi-million pound operation, identified early that the industry had a few challenges. Namely plumbers weren’t great timekeepers, communicators or particularly tidy in either their appearance or how they left a room having worked in it! The owner decided to guarantee on-time appearances, gave all the engineers clean and smart uniforms and ensured they always tidied the mess they’d made.

Note there was no “price promise”, no deals. Just delivering what was promised in an industry that had a poor perception problem.

What problems could you solve? Maybe it’s time to start writing a different story for your business?

Lee Kenny

Managing Director at The Snowflake Media Group, a sales and marketing consultancy for business, based in Halifax but serving clients regionally, nationally and internationally.

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