In his book, Return on Influence, Mark Schaefer shares an interesting fact. He says most people abandon a business book after reading only one-third of the book. When you consider the fact that these people believed in the idea, the title, or liked the author enough to purchase the book, only to abandon it just as they were getting into the book, brings us to a stark reality. That reality is that we all have so many choices and all the information we could ever want, that we have the luxury of abandoning even the things we choose.
Story teller, Annette Simmons says, “People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith. Faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.”³
What story are you telling?
Does the world really need another real estate agent, designer, hair stylist, salesperson, marketer, and you can add your profession to this list? No, I don’t think so. The world wants a cause, something to believe in, someone worth following, someone who cares. A good example is my friend, AJ Leon. Watch him tell his story:
Faith in you, your goals, your success, your story
The key to AJ’s success isn’t the book he is selling or the humanitarian projects he promotes. The key is his story. It’s captivating, personal, and he weaves it through everything writes, says, or does. His story captivates you because it’s personal and you feel it. There is no way you are not going to finish watching that video, am I right?
There are many other stories and types of stories that are just as engaging.
Start reading the story Chip Heath and Dan Heath tell in their bestselling book, Made to Stick and it doesn’t take long to be hooked. In the opening lines of the introduction they tell a riveting story about the Kidney Heist mystery. This story is about a businessman who has a few hours to kill time before his flight back home. He decides to go to a local bar for a drink. Upon finishing his drink, an attractive woman approaches him and asks if she can buy him another drink. Surprised and flattered, he says, “Sure.” The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks — one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered, that is until he woke up disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice. At this point you are hooked and there is no way you are going to stop reading.
The Heaths made their point stick in your mind by painting a vivid picture with a compelling story.
Could it be that books that are abandoned after being read only a third of the way through lose their story and appeal to the reader? Thereby making it easy for the reader to abandon the book.
Business is the Stage
Consider the story you tell
– about you, your business, your services, your cause. In their book, The Experience Economy, Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore describe work as theatre and business as a stage. They show how customers buy experiences and are willing to pay a premium to spend time enjoying a series of memorable events that a company stages (just like a theatrical play) that engages them in a winsome and personal way.
Experiences have always been at the heart of entertainment. We see it in movies, concerts, shows, plays, dining, books
– and now more than ever we see experiences are at the heart of engaging in business.
Do you stage an experience, each time you engage a customer or guest? Do you connect your story with them in a personal and memorable way? Do your customers enjoy your show? If not don’t be surprised when (not if) you are abandoned.
Following are some thoughts to consider:
- “Sell dreams, not products.” — Steve Jobs
- “Companies that stage experiences, increase the price of their offerings much faster than the rate of inflation simply because consumers value experiences more highly.”²
- The best things in life are not things.
- People like to have a reason for what they do. This well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason.¹
- People prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like. Do you nurture your customers on a regular basis to where they feel you and your message?
Resources and References
Robert B. Cialdini, Influence – Allyn and Bacon, 2001 ¹
B. Joseph Pine II, James H. Gilmore, The Experience Economy – Harvard Business School Press, 1999 ²
Scott Belsky, Making Ideas Happen – The Penguin Group, 2010
Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick – Random House, 2007
Bernadette Jiwa, Make Your Idea Matter – The Story of Telling Press, 2012 ³
James Altucher, Choose Yourself — Yes Life Media, LLC, May 21, 2014