Stories that Drive Customer Commitment
Are you communicating stories that develop commitment?
“Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers or equations.”
— Yuval Noah Harari
Historian and Author
Humans have had language for more than 100,000 years, but writing has only been around for the past 5000 years. During the tens of thousands of years when we depended fully on oral communication, we relied on rich stories to capture our imaginations, form our worldviews and fuel our collective memory. We’ve learned to use powerful narratives to create the myths, legends and folklore that hold our cultures together.
This is why stories still captivate us. When was the last time you paid your full attention to one subject for two hours straight? Probably when you were watching a movie.
Since it’s true that humans think in stories rather than facts, why do companies base their marketing and sales communications on bullet points and explanatory lists of features and benefits? Why are we throwing facts at our customers when our customers think in stories?
When customers have rich stories in their minds that involve you, they are more likely to commit to you. But this doesn’t mean that you can just tell your story to customers in order for them to love you. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Recognize that your customer cares much more about their own story than they care about yours. So, instead of trying to get your customer to jump out of their own story and listen to yours, focus on bringing yourself into your customer’s story. When you can be best supporting actor in your customer’s story, your customer will value you and commit to you.
Your success depends on the commitment of your customers. Your customers will commit to you when they hold in their minds clear and compelling stories about how they are transformed by doing business with you. Everything about marketing, sales, branding, product development, customer service – actually, everything that’s really important about business – flows from this idea.
Customer commitment drives success because committed customers take actions that make you more successful. They buy more, they pay more, they refer you more (and they refer you more enthusiastically.)
But your customers have crowded lives, many choices, and many reasons not to commit to you. How can you earn their commitment? Help your customers create powerful mental narratives in which they can be certain that they are better off because of their relationship with you.