Every successful business that exists solves someone’s problem.
Which is another way of saying that it meets their needs. It is the single reason why people purchase products and utilize services in life. A key part of helping someone solve their problems is for the person to understand and acknowledge that they have a problem to solve and that your products or business can solve it.
There are two basic approaches that can be used to help someone understand what you have available to solve the problem: Verbal persuasion and stories. I prefer to teach people how to properly tell stories, but before I explain that allow me to explain what is happening in a verbal persuasion approach.
When we attempt to convince someone through verbal persuasion we do this using factual information and logic. The challenge is that we are explaining from our point of view and our information and logic, and the other person is listening through their point of view based on their experiences and knowledge. Human beings by nature are self focused. We believe that our opinions are right, our actions are right, and what we know is right. Because we believe this we have an emotional interest in keeping things as we know them.
All people look at, and listen to, things from the perspective of “What’s in it for me?” When we try to use logic and information to get people to buy-in to our way of thinking and seeing things, we are essentially trying to convince them that we are right. The other person therefore, must agree that we are right in order to take action on what we are telling them. The problem with this is that the other person must admit to themselves and to us, that their way of thinking about the topic is wrong.
The “What’s in it for me?” thought process for the other person that we are trying to convince becomes holding onto their own beliefs. As a result they will be doing what is called “critical listening.” This means instead of listening for how you could be right, they will be listening for any error in your logic that they can find based on what they already know. Since they will be basing this on what they know, they will be able to eventually find some reason to keep you wrong and them right.
The other person is emotionally invested in remaining right about their view of things. Only the best verbal persuaders are good enough to make a living in any field through this approach. It takes years of practice and study, and you must enjoy confrontation for this to become an area of expertise. It is not enjoyable for most people, including me.
Telling a story on the other hand creates an entirely different situation. Whenever someone hears a story, they are creating their own image of the story in their mind. It is almost like they are watching a little movie in their head. By doing this the person naturally puts their favorite person, themselves, into the story. They are listening to our story as if it is happening to them.
This allows them to become emotionally involved in the story. They are not listening to the logic of the story; they are merely experiencing the story for themselves. Because they are participating emotionally in the story, they begin to think about how their life could be affected if what is going on in the story would happen to them.
Instead of thinking about how you could be wrong, they are thinking about how this story could be right for them. It allows them to ask you questions about how something could work for them instead of stating why they don’t think it could be right for them.
The bottom line is this; anyone can learn to effectively communicate the benefits of a product or a business through a story. Its fun, it’s easy, and allows others to more quickly see that what you have to offer can help them solve their problem. The key point of this is that when someone hears a story and begins to think that maybe this will solve their problem, they will pursue finding out how as if it was their idea. They will be emotionally invested in seeing how what you have to offer can help them. This is a fun way to do business and allows everyone to help more people and be more successful.