The Conversational Case: How to Script the Stories That Sell Ideas

by Henry Jones | October 13, 2021 | Content Creation

With Tamsen Webster, Author of Find the Red Thread.

In a saturated and busy marketplace, you need to make a case for your product. This afternoon’s session from Inbound 2021 was led by message strategist Tamsen Webster. Tamsen described step-by-step how to create a brand story that your potential customers can fit themselves into. As she explained, they need to see you as the right choice for them. You can do this by scripting a story about your product that they’ll tell themselves.

My take on this for the construction industry is a shift from ‘technical language’ in your messaging, to instead communicating “what your customers get” out of working with you.

1. Name The Partners

The first stage of this process is to name the partners and providers involved in the decision making. Use the phrase, ‘when I talk to architects like you...’. This lets them know you’re talking directly to them and you’ve dealt with people in their position before, creating a sense of comfort. They know they’re in safe hands.

2. Engage Curiosity

Next, you need to engage their curiosity. Tamsen explains that this is done by asking yourself, ‘what’s the current question your clients are asking.’ Then give them your company or product as the answer to that question. Put yourself in their shoes, what are they looking for, what do they need, what’s their biggest challenge today.

3. What Do You Help Them Achieve?

Why are your potential customers asking the question in the first place? If you can break it down to a more personal level and if you can communicate this to them, then it’ll help validate their questions. And therefore they’ll think to themselves, “wow, this company really get me.”

4. Produce Better Outcomes

Don’t presume why a customer is motivated, use research to find out what the motivation is. Tamsen’s insight here is that this motivation is typically a selfish one. It’s often based on looking for a promotion, impressing their boss or making their job/life easier.

5. What’s Their Current Focus?

Tamsin introduced us to the Duck-Bunny image here.Duck Bunny

We see one of these animals first. And from a messaging point of view, we first need to address the answer they are looking for to the question they’re asking. But you can’t make them feel wrong about themselves here, you must give them what they want.

6. Where Could They Focus?

Next, we notice that there are two animals in the picture. But what does that mean for messaging? Well, can you illuminate another point of view for their answer? Provide an alternative solution to their problem. One that your company can provide.

7. The Duck-Bunny

This is where the example of The Duck-Bunny comes into its own. In your messaging, you need to switch between both validating their answers and providing a new solution. In other words, validate their first take, then illuminate a new perspective but be fluid and agile. Make the new perspective impossible to ignore by offering them a shared belief between them & yourself.

8. Seeing Is Believing

This means use metrics, examples, case studies, data and stories. Anything that makes your solutions real and relatable. Address their objections by showing them that it works.

9. That’s Why Our Answer Is…

At this point, the customer has to make a choice. They either take you up on what you’re offering or they don’t. But give them your recommended approach, provide them with a clear right choice. Or as Tamsen explains, ‘make the invisible, visible… instantly.’

Put The Cherry On Top

Here we use the phrase, ‘it also…’. This means giving them the ‘free prize’ beyond their question, answering it but also offering something else. Think “our product or service can also do this….”, but it’s important to keep in mind it must be valuable & help them produce better outcomes.

10. How Do You Help Them Achieve Their Goals

This is where you position your call to action, what’s the next step you want your customer to take. Be specific, use the phrase, “so would you consider”. And be realistic, tell them exactly what you want them to do next, book a demo, pilot, or sample.

Following the above steps, you’re guaranteed to help create a stronger relationship with your customers and ensure you’re selling your product or service the best way you can.

This is a great approach to creating copy for any type of format whether it’s email, website or even traditional marketing materials. You’re putting yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, validating their concerns, providing them with a new solution and then explaining why it’s the solution they need.

If you’d like to delve into this approach in more detail check out Tamsen’s book, ‘Find the Red Thread’.

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