Most people describe "their pitch" and "their story" interchangeably. They are absolutely not the same thing.
A pitch is crafted to give information about your brand, important facts, fancy stats. The goal is to describe who you are and what you offer so that the client says, "OH MY GOD I need that!"
For easy clients this works. But when the sale is more competitive, this pitch is easily forgotten. Harvard research proves 80% of presentations are forgotten within three hours.
That's why sellers, and everyone representing a brand, need to tell a GREAT STORY.
Men, women and children all cry at Pixar movies because our brains are hard wired to engage with specific narrative structures. People wouldn't watch Pixar movies if they listed facts about why the main character is great. It's seeing him in action that makes us care.
On a neurological level, stories relax our defense mechanisms and make us lean forward thinking, "What's going to happen next?" This emotional response can be the ingredient that keeps you top of mind and drives action.
Transforming your pitch into a story can be challenging. Here are three ways to get started:
1. Cause and Effect.
Make a list of your best facts and start asking, "How did we achieve these results?" Rearrange the order of your pitch to show the cause and effect of how one fact resulted in the next fact. Add words like "so then" and "because" to clarify the causal relationship.
At UP, we recently worked with a brand who had very fancy statistics about their success. When prompted to explain "how" they earned those results, they started to describe the CEO’s thought process, step by step. From this exercise, we crafted an emotionally engaging story that resulted in a series of wins on difficult accounts.
2. Cast the Client as the Main Character
Instead of talking about yourself, tell them a story about the goals they hope to achieve and the real challenges they face. Only mention your brand through the lens of how you help companies like theirs.
3. Bring Your Cocktail Party Personality
A different part of the listener's brain lights up when they hear someone talking versus saying memorized information. Reading or reciting anything in a meeting kills the human impact. If you are boring you will be forgotten. The personal style you would use to talk to a friend is necessary for business storytelling.