Why Successful Businesses Tell Compelling Stories

small boy bookAre you a good storyteller?  If so, you may also be a good business person – or at least skilled in attracting new clients. The ability to share a tale, spin a yarn, and connect with an audience is not only an important aspect of showmanship but of connecting with your ideal clients.

A good story is not only memorable but also exponentially increases your “Know, Like, Trust Factor.” Think about what your brain retains after you have an interaction with someone. You may not even remember their name or what they do, but if they told a great story, it may rattle in your mind for weeks to come.

A great example of a successful storyteller/businessman is Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airlines.

“I have always loved stories. Ever since I started in business with Student Magazine, I have been fascinated by the intersection between storytelling and entrepreneurship,” said Mr. Branson, an avid tweeter (following him http://www.twitter.com/@richardbranson). “Entrepreneurs who make a difference are, in effect, professional storytellers.”

The Virgin story – not to be confused with Mary and the Immaculate Conception – is so intriguing that it attracts customers as well as potential employees. “We would be nothing without our story,” says Branson.

So how good are you at sharing the story of your business? You better be good because this may, in fact, be the most powerful tool in your selling toolbox. The power of story can change minds and spark action within a client.

“Telling a story is one of the best ways we have of coming up with new ideas, and also of learning about each other and our world,” writes Branson.

And if you listen to him, now is the perfect time to strike with your tale. “Thanks to technology platforms and social media, there are so many ways to connect to people,” he says. “I used to rely on creating a splash and making the front pages to launch our companies and promotions. Now, while the written press is still important, there are a multitude of other methods for reaching potential customers.”

Storytelling is a great way to differentiate your brand and social media and blogging are two of the most valuable assets you can exploit to do so.  “Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you also have to be a storyteller. It’s one of the reasons I blog so much,” said Branson.

Think about someone in your life that tells good stories.  Was it your grandpa who sat you on his knee telling about the old days?  Or a funny friend that can leave you and your crew thinking you’ll pee your pants?  What did they have in common? Most likely it was their passion and enthusiasm that make even the most mundane story seem interesting.

Now think about that person you know who drags on and on and never gets to the point.  What makes her different?  Is it her delivery or pitch? Or is it her convoluted way to get to the moral of the story?

An anecdote can be boring and inconsequential, but the delivery of the storyteller made it feel extra special because it takes you on a mental ride.

There’s a reason why Virgin had 3.5 billion dollars in revenue last year along with a 28.3 million dollar profit. What’s your story?



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