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At this site we deal with a variety of business, finance, marketing, sales, small business and technology topics, for both the current business owner, and  the complete beginner who wishes to improve their personal finances though starting and running their own business and marketing it successfully online. We offer practical, hands on advice about what works, and what doesn’t, to help you avoid wasting money or time  Our main goal is to give you shortcuts to success and a road map to help you steer clear of the many pitfalls in doing business online.

May 09 2012

How to Use Stories to Engage Your Customers

One of the best ways to build customer empathy is through telling stories. Stories suck people in, keep people entertained and can help get your message across in a much more heartfelt way.

When people listen to a story, they immediately put their guards down. People aren’t looking out for a sales pitch. Instead, they relax and let you take the lead.

When you tell a great story, your audience will not only love the experience, but also understand your point and connect with your brand more.

So how do you tell a great story?

==> Focus on the Opening and Closing

The two most important parts of the story are the beginning and the end.

The beginning of the story needs to catch people’s attention so they pay attention to the whole thing. You need to set up the “what’s in it for me” right from the get go. Let your audience know that an essential lesson is buried in the story and that they need to listen closely.

The end is equally important. This is where you reveal the moral of the story and tie it back to your audience’s real life. The end of your story should feel like an eye-opening experience to your audience.

==> Trim the Fat

Beginning storytellers often try to tell the story as completely and accurately as possible. Unfortunately, that often results in rambling and overly long stories.

Trim out as much of the story as you can, without losing the core of the story and without losing any of the punch.

Don’t worry about getting all the details in. It’s okay if the story is just slightly different than what happened, as long as you’re abbreviating and not lying.

Keep it simple and to the point.

==> Make the Characters Come Alive

One of the biggest things to pay attention to in the story is the characters, especially the main character.

The audience should be able to relate to the main character. As you’re telling the story, they should be able to vicariously experience the emotional arc that the character is going through.

Every story should have a beginning, where the problem is set up. Throughout the story, some sort of tension arises. The character battles through the story and eventually comes out victorious or defeated.

Throughout the story, the audience should get to know the character more and more until they feel like they somehow know this person.

==> Use Stories from Everywhere

The best storytellers use stories for all over their lives. Always be on the lookout for ways you can turn experiences you’ve had in your life into stories to help hammer your message home.

Storytelling is one of the best ways to build empathy with your customers. Focus on the opening, trim the fat, emphasize the characters and look for stories from all over your life.

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