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What Makes a Good Story?

Of the 7 conversion triggers Story is probably the most powerful. But, what is Story? Story is the emotion we evoke in the mind of the audience.

The difference between an average and good story is 512x.

What Makes a Good Story
Good story graph

Let me illustrate with a story.

A sales guy has been working at a mattress store for 5 years. Like most brick and mortar businesses his store is facing margin pressures and diminishing foot traffic. Finally, the store closes.

This sales guy needs a new job. There aren’t too many (or any) retail businesses that are hiring so he applies to for a sales job at a local software company that’s rapidly expanding.

He can tell his story in one of two ways:

Format 1: I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I was their top salesperson.

One important aspect of storytelling is managing the narrative. In format 1 the narrative wasn’t managed well because the hiring manager is thinking, “who the hell works for a dinosaur retail store? Is this guy aware the world is rapidly changing and shoppers are buying online? His current job represents the past. Our company represents the future. Do we really want a person like this leading our sales? I’m not sure …”

If you don’t manage the narrative the reader will manage it for you. And they will always manage it in a way that doesn’t make you look good.

Format 2 (512x better):

I’ve spent the last 5 years managing sales at a local mattress store. I know what you’re thinking, “why did I work for a dying channel?” It was intentional. Yes, the online channel (where you guys excel) has all the advantages. But there is one sales skill only a retail store can offer, which is the ability to study and react to shopper facial expressions on a real-time basis. Because very few retail stores remain this aspect of sales training is a dying art. Was I a good sales student of sales? I was their top salesperson.


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