Do We Buy Products, or Stories?
Once upon a time, Mary had to purchase wedding invitations. She was faced with three options:
- Acme Printing sells strictly on price. Their quote is the lowest.
- XYZ Printers uses better paper. Their price is slightly higher than Acme.
- Wedding Memories started by telling Mary the story of how the owners met and fell in love while working at a commercial print shop. The owners married. They founded Wedding Memories to offer so much more than paper and ink. They founded their company to share love and memories through the feel and excitement of printed invitations, guest books and table accessories. Their price was the highest.
Who did Mary choose? You already know the answer. Mary bought the story of Wedding Memories and what it stands for.
The Power of Stories to Increase Sales and Profits
The right story helps you increase sales and profits in three ways:
- Your story gives meaning to your product. Buyers choose meaning over price, if you'll give them the opportunity.
- Your story invites more buyers to choose you, sooner. Your sales increase, and it takes less time to close each sale.
- Your story gives value to your product. Value earns a higher price. That causes your profits to increase.
- Computer Products: Apple Computer tells stories about rebelling against the status quo, by offering different and better products. Apple's products cost more than than their PC counterparts. Have you ever visited an Apple retail store? It's usually the busiest store in the neighborhood. Customers gladly pay a premium price to be the heroes of Apple's stories.
- Coffee Shops: Starbucks tells stories of sustainable, fair-traded coffee beans. Pick up a bag of beans and read the unique story of each roast. You'll buy that bag because you believe the story, and you want to be part of it. In-store signage and web pages extend Starbucks' stories.
- Tires: Les Schwab Tire Centers has been called "the most respected independent tire store chain in the United States" by Modern Tire Dealer Magazine. The story of Les Schwab's life is the story of the tire chain. Customer service is legendary. His customers all believe his slogan: "If we can't guarantee it, we won't sell it."
None of these businesses are known for offering the absolute lowest price. All of them generate substantial profits. Their customers "just know" they'll get the right product at the right price.
What's Your Story?
How much could you increase your sales and profits, if only the world knew your story? You can start building your story by answering these questions:
- What was the status quo before you developed your product?
- What pain were customers experiencing before your product existed?
- What was the tipping point, the time and place that you realized you had the solution?
- What walls did you hit while you were developing your product? How did you overcome them?
- What was it like when the first customer used your product?
- How have you made the world a better place by introducing your product?
- What does the future hold for your company and your product?
When you have scribbled the answers to these questions on a note pad, you'll be well on your way to increasing your sales and profits. I wish you well on your journey. Tell me how I can help.