Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. -Unknown
Did you know that storytelling is one of the most effective strategies that you can use to grow your business?
I spent much of my corporate career giving presentations (also known by many as “PowerPoint hell”), and through those years of experience as well as some coaching from expert communicators and marketers in the business, I learned that nothing beats storytelling when it comes to connecting with people and making a lasting impression. I’m not talking about just any story though…I’m referring to a relevant and engaging story. I’m taking those same lessons and applying them to my real estate business today.
I think marketing expert and author Seth Godin stated it best in an interview I read about his book Tribes. He said “People buy stories, not stuff, and it’s stories that spread, not stuff. Leaders tell stories. Gandhi or King or Che or yes, Rush Limbaugh. They tell stories. The stories matter and the words matter. Of course the product has to live up to the story, the service has to be there, the story has to be true.”
How is storytelling effective for your business? First, it helps people to relate to a product or service and visualize how it might work for them. Secondly, it assures people that others have found value in a product or service (social proof). You may be thinking this is the same thing as testimonials. Yes and no. Yes, because some of the strongest testimonials are indeed stories. No, because often times stories are more engaging.
You can use storytelling on an ongoing basis in your real estate businesses in several ways:
- Marketing materials (letters, brochures, websites, videos)
- Conversations with motivated sellers (e.g. stories about sellers you worked with who were in a similar situation)
- Conversations with retail buyers (e.g. stories about the wonderful neighbors, or positive experiences from some of the awesome features you’ve added to the home)
- Conversations with investor buyers (e.g. stories about the frustrations from making offers directly on the MLS, or stories about successful wholesale deals you’ve done with other investors who went on to flip the home or make a great cashflow on a home purchased from you)
- Conversations with potential private money lenders (e.g. stories about how other private lenders you’ve worked with have been so ecstatic about their return on investment and how it compared with their returns from other investments such as CDs, mutual funds, stocks)
These are just a few examples of how storytelling can be powerful. Of course you want to be ensure that you’re telling an effective story as well, and below are some tips to help you do just that.
Elements of Effective Storytelling…the story should be:
- Short and easy to tell — not only does this make it easy for someone to remember, but it also increases the chances that the story will be retold to others (and accurately!) which is exactly what you’d want to happen.
- Memorable — there should be some highlights to the story. Providing specific results can be impressive rather than sharing vague generalities. Sometimes its the emotion (both good and bad) of the story that makes it memorable.
- Relevant – every story you tell should have a point…and a relevant one. Keep in mind that there is a distinct purpose for you sharing this story, whether its in your marketing materials or in conversation. You don’t want people to be thinking “So what’s the point?” or “Who cares?” when you’re done. You want people to be so intrigued that they ask you for more.
I hope these tips give you food for thought. In what ways have you found storytelling to be powerful in your real estate business?
Photo: Pedro Simoes