Thursday, September 1, 2016

Involve the Shopper in Your Story

A good story beats out bare numbers in making the sale. The magic of stories is called “transportation” by consumer psychologists. The shopper is transported into the tale. But a set of researchers at Hofstra University and Virginia Tech caution that you must be sure to include the shopper in the trip. Give listeners ample opportunity for retrospective reflection, in which they can think and maybe talk about how their own experiences resemble those in the tale the retailer is telling.
     This means you shouldn’t rush the narrative. Still, keep the story concise. Otherwise, you’ll irritate busy shoppers and lose the attention of others.
     A concise story is easier for the shopper to appreciate when it follows a familiar trajectory. That lets the listener fill in missing parts. The process stimulates retrospective reflection.
     Author Christopher Booker contended every compelling story is a variation on one or more of seven familiar trajectories:
  • Overcoming the monster. In this plot the underdog prevails because fate favors them. 
  • Rebirth. What has been lost is ultimately regained. 
  • Quest. Retailers who talk about continuous improvement are telling consumers of a journey which could easily go on forever. Quest plots grab the attention of people who put top priority on products and services which help them achieve more than they have now. The never-ending quest intrigues those seeking never-ending gains. 
  • Journey & return. The characters in the story end their expedition rather than going on forever, and they come back changed. This plot line combines escape with magic. Special promotions and events in your store can cast magic spells for escape benefits. 
  • Rags to riches. This plot line celebrates perseverance, which fits well for retailers who profit by having customers save money instead of spending money. These are the insurance agents, CPAs, attorneys, banks, and others who provide financial planning services. 
  • Tragedy. So much can go wrong in life, your tale warns the consumer. Tragic stories can grab attention. Research at Universidad Pùblica de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain concludes that for certain shoppers in the world, fear sells, but for others, it’s a turnoff. How to tell which is which? Monitor the extent to which your shopper uses fear words themselves. 
  • Comedy. Humor heads off mental counterarguments. The shopper is too busy chuckling to challenge the sales pitch. A common rhetorical device for humor is incongruity: A single element is way out of place in an otherwise sensible story. 

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Craft Powerful Stories
Post Dramatic Tales for Post-Experience Goods
Plot Your Way to Profitability

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