My wife came across a story about a man who slipped a $1500 tip to a waitress at Denny’s. Why? He saw she was a struggling single mother. Plus he picked up the tab for 7 families to the tune of an even grand.
Maybe you’ve seen the story on Facebook.
The tagline reads “a Love What Matters original story.” So my wife thought the story might be fake.
And so did much of the internet. (Many skeptical commenters suddenly morphed into forensic tax accountants: a $1,000 combined bill for only 7 families?)
That launched me into lecture mode about the ethics of using fake stories in marketing …
But my long winded dissertation amounted to nothing, because it turns out the story was true.
With some fact correction. It turns out the bill for the other diners was a wee bit less than a grand.
Dennys lovers can sigh in relief that they won’t be fleeced next time they order Eggs over My Hammy.
Yes, this saccharine story turned out to be true.
And if you want a master class in using sentiment in storytelling, look no further than the other tales at “Love What Matters.”
The site invites readers to submit their own true stories about love. (They also republish stories from other sites.)
Like these stories …
- The widow whose dear friend made a quilt out of her late husband’s neck ties …
- The woman who gave a dollar to a boy throwing a temper tantrum, instead of giving him a dirty look (making the mother weep at the kindness, especially since her autistic son struggles with any kind of outings)
- The police officer who buys a car seat for the struggling dad he pulled over, instead of giving him a ticket
All of these show that we should “love what matters.” But when we look a little deeper, we see that many of these aren’t just about love.
These stories that yank on our heart strings are doing something else.
Call them “Good Samaritan Stories.”
A Good Samaritan Story shows people doing something good for one another.
And those kinds of tender tales open up the water works.
(Unless your heart is made of stone, Ebenezer.)
A few posts back, I wrote about the long-form Thailand commercials where the whole goal seems to break you down into tears.
Regardless of the product beings sold.
What’s the point, then? When you can make your prospects feel something, you take them out of “you’re being pitched” mode into “you’re being taken on a journey” mode. Which is what stories do.
They transport you.
(Even if it’s just a quick 30 second spot.
Despite its heavy-handedness, this Kleenex commercial strikes a chord by wrapping their pitch in a Good Samaritan Story.)
And as I wrote, these stories flood the body with oxytocin, the “trust drug.” It helps put the prospect into a more receptive state of mind. More willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
This isn’t appropriate for all stories and products, of course.
But it might be the fastest way to crawl inside someone’s heart.
So if your story has no emotion … if it doesn’t spark any sentiment …. look for ways to use this storytelling technique.
MORAL: Tune in your prospect’s emotions with a “Good Samaritan Story.”