Tell stories: write more business

Alex Hammond - Also Communications
9th February 2018
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In the last 60 seconds nearly 156 million emails were sent, more than 480,000 tweets were tweeted and over 4.3 million videos were viewed on YouTube.

The accumulation of so much information all of the time means that, of all the data that has ever existed in the world, 90% has been generated in the past two years alone.

That’s an awful lot of clutter.

Successful businesses need to find a way to cut through this clutter and, one way to stand out from the crowd is by telling compelling stories.

The concept of storytelling can be traced back 27,000 years to first cave paintings and it is generally accepted that evolution has hardwired our brains to be more responsive to stories than raw data.

We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others, and it is thought that personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.

Research shows that a good story can make a quantifiable financial difference to a transaction. A joint study by an advertising agency and a data science firm in the US, amongst 3,000 participants, found that an accompanying narrative increased the perceived value of a number of items.

For example, the participants said they would pay $126 for a hotel room when shown a photo and description, but when these identical details were paired with a story from someone who had stayed at the hotel, the perceived value of the room increased by 5% to $133.

Similarly, the participants were shown two identical paintings. One was accompanied by the title of the painting, the artist’s name and the year it was painted and was valued at $99.53. But when the same painting was accompanied by the artist’s personal story, it was deemed to be worth $109.98 – the story effectively added 11% to the value of the painting.

So, what does this mean for you?

First, finding a way to communicate your story could help you to stand out from the competition and win more business. Think about your website, emails and social media posts – what story do they tell about your firm? This content should clearly say what type of clients you can help, how you can help them and why. And, ideally, it should do it in an interesting way.

Even if you are not involved in the marketing, telling effective stories can help you to place more business on a daily basis.

I have spent more than a decade working at specialist mortgage lenders and a consistent theme from every underwriting team I’ve worked with has been the importance of accompanying an application with a coherent story that explains the customer’s circumstances.

It’s amazing how many brokers don’t do this but, from my experience, a plausible story can sometimes make the difference between the case being accepted or declined, and that makes it a very powerful tool for a mortgage adviser.

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