What’s Your Story?

As entrepreneurs we often think that we have to marshal all of the facts and the evidence to support whatever we are selling. What we really need to do is tell a compelling story that gives customers a reason to join us. The facts and evidence follow.

Suggested Readings

Founders School || Entrepreneurial Selling || What’s Your Story? || Impact Guide (PDF).

Guber, P. Four Truths of the Storyteller. Harvard Business Review. 2007.

Simmons, Annette. The Story Factor. Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2001.

Smith, Paul. Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire. New York, NY: AMACON, 2012.

Olson, Randy. Don’t be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style. Washington: Island Press, 2009.

Wortmann, Craig. What’s Your Story? Evanston, IL: Sales Engine, Inc., 2006. Ch. 4-6.

Watch commencement addresses by Steve Jobs (Stanford, year), J.K. Rowling (Harvard, 2011), and Oprah Winfrey (Harvard, 2013). Observe the stories that they weave during these speeches. Can you find compelling stories in your own experiences?

Here’s a fun assignment: go to ted.com and select 10 TEDTalks to watch. Over the course of a few days, watch all 10. As you are watching them, count the number of stories that get told and note whether the stories are “success, failure, fun or legend stories.” Reflect on which stories had the most powerful effect on you. Ask yourself; Why did that story affect me the way it did? Now, in conjunction with the Story Matrix(℠) exercise in a related module, begin to build your story ‘quiver’ so that you will have more impact in your sales meetings.

Questions for You

Do you rely on facts to make your case?

Which important facts could be captured in a compelling story?

How do you capture the stories that you experience?

How do you remember them?

What is influence, and how do you influence people?

Tools and exercises

Story Matrix(℠) (PDF)

Write Your Story (PDF)