Ok, well, it is not really a secret, but it is EXTREMELY powerful. It is not 100% my idea. It is a marketing tip I stole/borrowed/took/hijacked/learned from others who are smarter than I am. I then morphed it into my own version of their idea and morphed my version of it into my marketing plan. This next statement is kind of sad, but it still not widely used by many sales people in today's world. It is the one thing I can do to get my telephone to ring EVERY time I implement this little marketing gem. It is what I like to call my "Story of Success". So, what exactly is it, you ask?
Well, "it" is the lost art of storytelling in business. "WHOA! WHOA! WHOA!" you say. "The lost art of storytelling?"
Yep, the truly lost art of storytelling. We (you and me) get so wrapped up in the rapidity of today's society that we often don't pay any attention to what it is that our clients want and need. We've got to have everything at the speed of light or we move on to some other place, store, or website where we can get what we need as quickly as we want it. We think that because WE want that information or product right now that everyone else does as well, including our clients. Well, there is truth to that. We do live in a world of instant gratification (I like to call it the www.itsallaboutme.com world). Our clients live in that world too, but in order to truly do our job and serve our clients well we must take them out of that world as frequently as we can.
We can take our clients out of that world by practicing and mastering the art of storytelling again. Storytelling has become a lost art in our world of 140 characters and text messages. Here is an example of how you can bring storytelling back into your marketing plan and watch your sales rise in the process…
John and Mary called me last week because they need to sell their house, and they asked for my assistance. You see, John and Mary have an issue. Their issue is that they are expecting again. Well, that's more of a blessing than an issue. But, #4 is on the way, and John and Mary's beautiful 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom full brick starter home that they purchased 2 months after they got married will soon be busting at the seams. Because both John and Mary's families live out of town, they often have family staying with them to visit for holidays and birthdays. John and Mary just don't have enough room to accommodate their growing family AND their family visitors. So, John and Mary's issue is that they've got to sell this beautiful home that they have loved and cared for all of these years and buy a larger home.
While she was sitting on the sofa in the living room looking out of the windows to the backyard, Mary almost came to tears when she started talking about bringing Elizabeth (their first child) in the front door from the hospital and how Elizabeth has enjoyed playing in their huge backyard. Elizabeth has also grown to love gardening and spends a great deal of time with Mary in the yard making sure the beautiful azaleas that line the back of the fenced in yard are full of blooms in the spring time. You see, Mary has not just grown a garden full of beautiful flowers and trees at this home, she has grown…
Storytelling in real estate can be a beautiful thing. Our industry lends itself to storytelling. All buyers and sellers have one! So, instead of giving me just the facts or features of the new listing that you have, why don't you tell me the story of the house and the owners in your newsletter? While you are telling me the story of the house and the owners, you are also mixing the features of the house into the story, as well. You've given me so much more than, "I just listed a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath in XYZ neighborhood. Let me know if any of your friends or family are interested in seeing it." You've tied me emotionally to the house and the owners.
Try this tactic also. Present your prospects with a "Story of Success." Tell them the story of "Steve" the extremely busy young professional whom you helped negotiate the deal of a lifetime on his first home purchase (the story of Steve's success). Tell them how you had 5 of the PERFECT homes picked out for Steve to view the morning before he left for a 1 month business trip to China, tell them how Steve fell in love with the modern downtown loft with no yard and little to no upkeep, give them all of the details of the tough negotiation process while Steve was 1/2 way around the world, how you kept the deal together after the home inspection through your persuasive suggestion that the seller provide Steve a home warranty for the first year, tell them how Steve's family loves you and invited you to Steve's welcome home/house warming party they threw for Steve at his new loft when he got back from China.
The benefits of getting your buyer and seller prospects emotionally committed are many:
Fewer Lowball Offers on Your Listings – After reading John and Mary's story above, the human side of me is much less likely to offer John and Mary 50% of the asking price of their house because I now "know" John and Mary. I now know that they have loved, cared for, and started their beautiful family in that house, and it is just not in my nature to offer them less than something reasonable on the house. I am not going to insult my new friends John and Mary now!
No More Lost Listings – Present the owner's of the home you have a listing appointment with tomorrow their story as part of your listing presentation. If you can spark emotion in those potential clients with THEIR story, then you will get the listing. 100% GUARANTEED! I don't care if you tell them they need to list the house 10% below market. You will get that listing!
Your Prospects Become Those Stories - Any prospect, buyer or seller, who reads a story that they relate to emotionally will put themselves in the leading role of that story. If they are not in the position to be the lead character of your story themselves, they start to look for others in their lives who are (friends, family, coworkers, church friends, etc). Today, I could have told a story about a Realtor who over the past 4 years has struggled tremendously to make ends meet during these tough times. How she had to take her children out of the private school they have been in for the past 6 years and put them in public schools. How she had to sell much of her jewelry and sentimental possessions to make the mortgage payment during the winter of 2010/2011, and then how she used storytelling techniques in her marketing plan a few months ago and is now the #3 producing agent in her office. If I had done that, and you could relate to her story, it then becomes your story. You would become the lead character in that story, and my story would be on your mind for the rest of the day, week, month, and/or year. No, I'm not claiming to be all that and a bag of chips too. It is not me. It is the power of storytelling!
Clients for Life and More Referrals – Emotionally touching your clients with a story will get you clients for life. A buyer you helped will remember how powerful your sales (storytelling) technique is; and, when that buyer is ready to sell, you will list that home. Sellers will remember how your telling of their story helped sell their house quicker and for more money, and they will list with you again. You will earn your buyers and sellers referral business, and you will dominate your market. That means, you win!
I could have written today's post with one sentence. That sentence is "If you touch prospects, seller, and buyers emotionally with their own story or any story they can relate to, you win!" But had I done that my point would have been lost. Perhaps I'll turn that sentence into my Tweet for today, and wait on my phone to ring…
I hope my very wordy "get to the point" blog post about storytelling really hit home with you, so that you can see the importance of this ultra powerful lost art. Hopefully, you will now agree with me that you should implement this powerful tool into your marketing plan. I'm really excited about reminding you of the power of storytelling today. Please come back to my blog tomorrow, and I will I tell you MY "Story of Success."