The only 4 types of sales stories you need (and why)

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Lewis Folkard

Suffolk-based conversion copywriter.

the four types of sales stories

Stories sell. Every highly persuasive long-form sales piece uses them. So you should too. But why are they so effective? Simply put, sales stories have emotion at their heart. And emotion is the crux of all persuasion.

If you’ve read this article on sales leads, you’ll know how indirect leads help you bypass the “sales defence” your prospects put up when they get a whiff of a sales message. Sales stories – like The Story Lead – help you get past it. And, as a result, let you spend more time building rapport and delivering the benefits of your product.

What makes a good sales story?

A good story has drama, suspense and relevancy. It captivates. It holds you. It makes you want to know more. And that’s exactly what good sales stories do, too. Only with a sales story, it needs to be relevant to your target audience’s wants, needs and desires. When it’s wrapped up inside an emotional plot, your reader forgets they’re being sold to – and their defences melt away. 

How do you decide what type of sales story to pick?

Like with all copywriting, you need to know what job your words are doing. Your story has to have a purpose. You need to know why this type of story is best for you.

How you decide depends on what you have available. For example, from your research, you might find you have a great backstory, loads of positive reviews, convincing transformations, gripping situations where your product is used, attention-grabbing predictions or something unique that underpins your solution’s technology. 

Use your resources to pick one of the types of sales stories below.

The four types of sales stories

Most sales stories fall into these types. Let’s have a closer look at each one.

The “Two Picture” Story

These are effectively before and after stories. Life was like this. Now it’s like this – where your product is the vehicle of transformation. They focus on what life was like before the transformation – all the pains, the people affected, etc. And then contrast that with what life is like after the transformation, pulling in all the great perks, new friends, money, freedom, status (etc) your reader gains.

If you have lots of testimonials and transformations, a “Two Picture” story is a great option. It’s one of my favourite sales stories.

The Origin Story

This kind of story is ideal if your present is a little boring or there are no engaging stories to tell. So, instead, you’re going to use the past (if you have an interesting one) to elevate the present and make it more gripping. Just remember, you need to twist the past back into the present because that’s where your reader is right now. 

The “Future Shock” Story

If you flip The Origin Story, you have The “Future Shock” Story. This uses the future to make the present more interesting. You could use a story when the future has gone bad or really good. Again, you’re going to have to twist the future back into the present to connect with your reader as they are.

This type of story is great if you have gripping predictions about your sector/product use.

The Quest Story

If you have a gripping backstory or product/creator history, this story is perfect. It’s just like a hero’s journey, where your story builds up to the introduction of your product. Everything in the quest leads to this. 

It mostly focuses on the challenges that led to the product being created. The ‘putting everything on the line’. These challenges should be the same (or very similar) to what your reader is going through now so they can see themselves in the story.

Remember, one person’s story is always more impactful than multiple.

Where should you put your sales story?

Every sales message has a story in it somewhere. But where you put it varies. For long-form sales pages, the story usually comes before the introduction of your product or offer. In social ads or emails, the story might come in the headline/subject line. It might even continue into the body copy.

There is no right or wrong place to put a story, as such. But, keep in mind, when it comes to delivering your offer and closing the deal, directness wins. So, it’s probably best to steer away from the details of your story here.

Don’t forget to colour in the details

The world is a detailed place. So, if you want your story to connect, you need details too. But keep them relevant to your reader. Confusing, pointless and distant details do not connect and push your reader away. 

Once you’ve got your plot, you can ‘back-write’ the vibrant details that win over your reader’s heart. Try one of these types of sales stories in your next piece of copywriting and see how you get on. Get writing. And sell!

If you need help writing your own sales story (or for integrating them into a sales page), you can message me here. I was trained by some of the best. Alternatively, you can use this article to help find a reliable sales page copywriter.

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