How to tell a short story and use it to sell
One of the best ways to sell anything is by sharing a story. And the truth is, you can almost use any kind of story to sell any kind of product or service. The story itself doesn’t necessarily have to be relevant to what you’re selling — only the human interest component of your story does.
The sales letter goes something like this: the human interest component… the mechanics of the story (what actually happened and how it resolved)… and the moral or the outcome — which is ultimately geared toward “ordering your product.”
And how do you use this information?
The answer is simple. Let’s look at something like raising money for a local firehouse.
Now you and I both know the conventional way of fundraising. It goes something like this: “Well, it’s that time of the year again where we need to raise some money to keep the firehouse going. Trucks need repairs and the city is reducing their funding again. Wont’ you please support our cause by becoming a member and completing the enclosed donation form. We really appreciate it and your community firefighters thank you sincerely.”
O.K. then. Now what if, instead… you said something like this:
“I never had a dog when I was growing up, even though I desperately wanted one. Mom had allergies and dad always said there was ‘too much work involved to take care of them.’ So it was something I missed out on.
Which makes it even more ironic that my own wife and children are alive today, solely because of my neighbor’s quick-thinking chubby brown labrador retriever…”
You then go into the story about how you were out of town on business, when your house caught on fire one evening in the winter time. Apparently there were still some live embers flaring out of your fireplace and they caught the rug after everyone went to bed.
Your neighbor noticed the fire and called the fire department right away. And apparently, if it wasn’t for your neighbor’s dog, who smelled the fire and woke up everyone in the house, this story wouldn’t have had such a happy ending.
Then, of course, you explain how important the local firehouse is, and why donations are so critical.
Do you think you’re going to have a dramatic difference in response between this second scenario, where you’re using a human-interest story, and the first scenario, where you’re basically “begging” for money?
Of course there is. And what makes this story so effective are the human elements of saving lives, family, dogs, and the good guys winning in the end.
Use this formula to sell – in your e-mails and in your sales letters and display ads… and you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your responses.
And by the way, here’s one of my own sales letters with a very effective human-interest story woven throughout, especially in the beginning and the ending.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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