Believe Me – the Story-Telling Manifesto


Walter White

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One of my passions is helping B2B marketers leverage the power of great story-telling.

I posted a blog article entitled “5 Lessons for a B2B Marketer from “Breaking Bad.”

The post was very popular but controversial. Everyone except one person  said it was outstanding.  The one naysayer said the story telling was cheap and deceptive.

Here’s what he said:

“You’ve taken an epic TV show that has changed the face of television and trivialized it into a two-bit pitch to sell your B2B business. What company in their right mind would find your approach appealing or something they could trust or entertain. You’re virtually trying to convince companies to learn how to distort the truth, embellish the facts and concoct personnel falsehoods all in an attempt to keep prospective customers on the hook – when the bottom line is basically smoke and mirrors and a ‘carnie’ scheme to get them to buy your service and/or product? Pathetic try. No cigar… that is, unless your line of business is drugs!!!”

I wish to respond to the negative comment by sharing the insights of an expert. I don’t sell drugs, distort truth, embellish the facts or concoct personal falsehoods. Let’s turn to an independent expert.

I stand by my contention that businesses need to learn to tell great stories.

Michael Margolis published a document entitled “Believe Me – a Story-Telling Manifesto.”  Michael says “To change the world, change your story. ” What does he mean?

If you are to be successful in B2B marketing and drive sales leads, you simply must be believed. Story-telling in business is not “Once upon a time.” But anthropologists have learned the 70% of knowledge is learned from stories.

In business, to get your products and services considered, you need to change someone’s mind. But to challenge and question their beliefs, they get defensive. Michael believes this is the existing “story-line.” To get your message believed, you need a great story.

The value of narrative exists far beyond just an investor pitch, illustrative vignette, or inspired speech. The stories we choose literally make our world. Our identities, our beliefs, and our values all live and breathe in the matrix of stories. It’s the prima materia of how we each perceive reality—our culture’s collective agreements. A search for answers begins to show how the dots are connected. It is hard not to see the huge implications of storytelling in an increasingly brand-driven, and experience-based economy. It’s all about the stories.”

People don’t buy a product or service, they buy the story attached to it.

Another story telling expert, Annette Simmons shares her thoughts:

“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…
Once people make your story their story, you have tapped into the powerful force of faith.”
—Annette Simmons, Author, The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling

To learn more about business story-telling, I suggest you download and read Believe Me.

What do you think? Do you agree with the man who flamed me, or do you agree on the importance of the narrative — the story, if you will.  We love comments.  We love Twitter followers. And we love our Facebook fans (okay “Likes)

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Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is the President of Find New CustomersLead Generation Made Simple.” Find New Customers is a lead generation company.

While you’ll find a plethora of demand generation experts, Find New Customers is the simple place to learn lead generation and share great content. He’s also an expert in Lead Nurturing and was a special guest on SalesBuzz Radio. “If more people listened to Jeff , a lot more would be sold.” Said Dan McDade ofPointClear.

He’s also the author of the highly acclaimed lead generation and sales white papers, How to Find New Customers and Definitive Guide to Making Quota, and a new white paper on using email to drive sales leads entitled: Moving from Transactional to Conversational Email: New Ways to Use Email to Engage Prospective Buyers and Grow Sales.

2 thoughts on “Believe Me – the Story-Telling Manifesto

  1. Hi Jeff –

    The story is important — humans have a long history of story telling. The flamer seems to miss the point that Truth is a good option in story telling, particularly when it comes to business. Consumers can smell spin.

    But, I don’t agree that people buy based on the “story.” This is another stab at suggesting the people buy only based on “content.” They don’t. People buy on emotion from other people they believe they know. And while the “story” can be a big factor, sooner or later, authentic connection comes into play via pre-sales contacts, through customer service, or in direct chat, emails, video conferencing, etc.

    The story is very important – kudos for getting that word out. But connection trumps content every time.

    – Scott

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