You can sell with stories. Unless you use fake stories.

Pages from storiesA couple of weeks ago I got an email from a copywriter who wanted my take on a piece of story-based copy he had written.

It was a sales email, and it opened with a story.

Technically, the email was pretty well written.

It opened with the story, transitioned into sharing information about one of his client’s services, and then pivoted to a call to action at the end.

Quite nicely put together.

Just one problem.

The story he opened with didn’t feel right. It just felt false. Creepy. Kind of manipulative.

So I asked him about it, thinking maybe he was fed it by his client’s PR department.

Nope. Not even. He just made it up.

He thought that’s what he was meant to do. In fact, that was what he was taught to do.

Hmmm. Don’t do that.

A good story can be your best friend. It can hook your readers’ attention in a heartbeat. Or a teardrop. It can open emotional connections with your audience in ways that regular “copywriting” can never achieve.

But only if your stories are real, and true.

Instead of making up stories that nobody is going to believe, put in the hard work. Talk with your client. Get permission to talk with their employees. Talk with their customer service people. Keep talking and keep asking until you find a real story.

Here’s a hint for you. 9 times out of 10 the best stories will come from the customer service people. And 8 times out of 10, the marketing folks won’t be listening to their own customer service people. Crazy, but all too often true.

So that becomes your task.

You become the story hunter. Even if you have to be a pain, and hassle people.

It will be worth it, because when you find a real story worth telling and sharing, you’ll have found something special and very powerful.

Now you can go back and rewrite that email, or sales page, or content page, or social media update.

Now you can talk about something that really happened, with honesty and passion and enthusiasm.

Do that and you’re tapping into the true power of stories.

NOTE: If you want to know more about the power of telling stories, check out my course, Selling With Stories…
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2 thoughts on “You can sell with stories. Unless you use fake stories.”

  1. That’s right on the money, Nick! And there’s always stories deep within any company no matter how ‘boring’ you think they might be. And the best way to find stories it to talk – just like you say. I go for 3 groups – the customers, the founders and their staff. Learn to talk and encourage others to talk and you’ll never be short of material.

    Thanks for reminding me!


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