story sells

[Story Sells] How a “Ticking Time Bomb” Helps Capture Attention

Nothing motivates action like a time limit. It’s why sales and coupons don’t last forever. Deadlines seem to be hard-wired into our brains. It goes back to caveman days: “We get home before sun goes down, Thog. That when monster attack.” And when it comes to closing a sale, time limits create urgency to act. …

[Story Sells] How a “Ticking Time Bomb” Helps Capture Attention Read More »

[Story Sells] Use this Spider-Man ‘Twist’ to Make Your Sales Story Unforgettable

There’s one story principle that’s tough to execute, but very valuable if you do it right. This principle gives a story added depth. What does that mean? Simply, the tale penetrates deeper into the audience. The story stays with them, echoes in their minds in the days after they first see it. Instead of dissolving …

[Story Sells] Use this Spider-Man ‘Twist’ to Make Your Sales Story Unforgettable Read More »

[Story Sells] “Ice-Breakers” in Ads: How To Gradually Introduce a Radical Idea

J.R.R. Tolkien had a big problem. He loved the ancient, epic tales. He began writing his own (see The Silmarillion). But he quickly discovered that these ancient worlds of honor and vengeance, with black and white heroes with little characterization, were almost totally inaccessible to a modern audience. All that oath-swearing. And listing of lineage. …

[Story Sells] “Ice-Breakers” in Ads: How To Gradually Introduce a Radical Idea Read More »

[Story Sells] Beef Up Before and After Testimonials with this Story Technique

In Blake Snyder’s useful screenwriting how-to book, Save The Cat, he talks about two scenes you must have in your movie. An opening image. And a closing image. And one more thing: They should be OPPOSITES of each other. Why? To show how the character has changed and grown. This journey is the character’s “Arc.”. …

[Story Sells] Beef Up Before and After Testimonials with this Story Technique Read More »

[Story Sells] How to Name Your Products So They Stick

Han Solo. Gilderoy Lockhart. Benjamin Grimm. These names of fictional characters are easy to remember. Why? For one thing, they are all examples of “sympathetic naming”. That’s where you name a character after a trait they possess. So Han faces life pretty much “solo,” a lone-wolf. (Except for Chewbacca, who’s kind of like a dog.) …

[Story Sells] How to Name Your Products So They Stick Read More »

[Story Sells] How to Answer Customer Objections with the “Death Star” Solution

As I write this, San Diego’s Comic Con just wrapped up. Fans were served tasty selections of their favorite fictional universes. Predictably, some offerings unleashed a flurry of geek-citement. But others ignited a firestorm of critiques. Cause few folks are as argumentative as fanboys. As a market, they’re sophisticated and very vocal. That’s why storytellers …

[Story Sells] How to Answer Customer Objections with the “Death Star” Solution Read More »

The 1-Sentence “RAD” Trick That Transforms a Commodity into a Brand

We live in the age of Branded Characters. Leave no lunchbox unclaimed by a caped crusader or a spiffy cartoon. Thank goodness. Who wants a boring blue box when you can have a universe of possibilities unfold every time you reach for a PB&J? And every single character has a little “TM” next to it. …

The 1-Sentence “RAD” Trick That Transforms a Commodity into a Brand Read More »

How to use the “Doctors Dumbfounded” effect to Build Credibility & Desire: From Shyamalan to Schwartz

There’s a simple story technique you can use to quickly build credibility and desire for your product. The best novelists and filmmakers use it, as so do the best ad-slingers. In fact, Eugene Schwartz lists it as the 7th (out of 13) way to “strengthen desire for your product.” I recently saw this storytelling tool …

How to use the “Doctors Dumbfounded” effect to Build Credibility & Desire: From Shyamalan to Schwartz Read More »

[Story Sells] Prevent prospects from abandoning your ad by fixing the “Broken Film” mistake

I used to work at a movie theater in high school. One of my best jobs ever. I could watch any movie for free, and eat all the popcorn and drink all the soda I wanted. But some days were bad. When the film skipped — or worse — broke. (These were in the old …

[Story Sells] Prevent prospects from abandoning your ad by fixing the “Broken Film” mistake Read More »

[Story Sells] How to win the war against wandering attention with the “John Ford Maneuver”

You know when you’re sitting in a movie theater and hear all the noise before the film begins? The flash of phone screens, the chatter, the rustling in seats, the unwrapping of a big box of Red Vines licorice? But then when the movie begins with a strong scene – like the “rolling boulder” sequence …

[Story Sells] How to win the war against wandering attention with the “John Ford Maneuver” Read More »

[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode

When I feel stressed out at the end of the day, and I need to relax, I’ve got something better than single malt scotch. I tune in to an artist with a big ‘fro named Bob Ross, and step in his world of Happy Little Trees, in the Joy of Painting Series. (How’d he get …

[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode Read More »

[Story Sells] The Harry Potter trick to easier storytelling

Got a “productivity hack” for you today. Especially for all you procrastinators out there, as you sit down in consternation at your vintage Corona-Smith typewriter. (If you’re a hipster or an oldster, that is.) If you don’t know how to start your story, use a trick from Harry Potter-author J.K. Rowling. To explain: You remember …

[Story Sells] The Harry Potter trick to easier storytelling Read More »

[Story Sells] Establish Authority by Copying This Novelist Trick

  Can you establish credibility while lying your ass off? Yep. Novelists and other storytellers do it all the time. And when you tell true stories as a marketer, you can copy their technique to build trust. (Bonus: when you pull from real life, you don’t have to work as hard as professional liars.) Here’s …

[Story Sells] Establish Authority by Copying This Novelist Trick Read More »

[Story Sells] How Bush beats Obama in your sales stories

  I loved watching SNL as a kid. My favorite player? Dana Carvey. You might remember some of his best characters … The very special Church Lady. The dependable Garth. And, of course, the fake George Herbert Walker Bush. Carvey’s impression of President Bush became so widespread, that the former president himself once did a …

[Story Sells] How Bush beats Obama in your sales stories Read More »

[Story Sells] Plunder this storytelling jewel from the British Royal Family

I’m watching The Crown on Netflix. The show follows the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the 1950s. If you’re into period dramas and stuffy British manners, it might be your kind of thing. But for me, it looked like a bit of a snooze fest. Nonetheless, I’d heard it was good, so I …

[Story Sells] Plunder this storytelling jewel from the British Royal Family Read More »

[Story Sells] How to Capture Drifting Attention with the Captain “Hook” Rule

You will lose sales unless you hook your customer’s attention with the very first sentence. But what do you say? Well, to figure that out, let’s look at what not to do. And then just do the opposite. Captain Hook and his pals at Jake and the Neverland Pirates hold the treasure we seek. If …

[Story Sells] How to Capture Drifting Attention with the Captain “Hook” Rule Read More »

[Story Sells] The “Mother Rule” for Keeping Faith with your Prospect

Sell on emotion, justify with logic? Yes, but … Stories teach us that emotions have a logic of their own. We may be irrational, unknowable creatures … But at least in stories, emotions must make sense. If they don’t, then we the audience won’t believe what’s happening in the story. Like when characters do dumb …

[Story Sells] The “Mother Rule” for Keeping Faith with your Prospect Read More »

[Story Sells] How To Make Your “AHA!” Moment Believable with this “Dr. Strange” Magic Trick

The latest Marvel blockbuster ‘Dr. Strange’ makes you believe in magic. To the tune of $653 million and counting. And one of the secrets of the believability is a little storytelling magic trick you may use in your next promotion. We live in the Golden Age of Fantasy Movies. From epic fantasies like Game of …

[Story Sells] How To Make Your “AHA!” Moment Believable with this “Dr. Strange” Magic Trick Read More »

[Story Sells] Rip This Part of Your Sales Letter from Star Trek

It’s easy to bore your reader when you shift into science mode. Yeah, you often need some technical explanation to prove why your product works. But, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of jargon and research. That’s when you lose your prospect. So how do you keep it interesting? Without your techno-babble landing …

[Story Sells] Rip This Part of Your Sales Letter from Star Trek Read More »

[Story Sells] Sell On Emotion, Justify With This …

My nephew recently asked me how The Flash got his super-speed powers. My answer: “Barry Allen was struck by lightning while standing in front of a shelf of chemicals. The combination of the chemicals and the lightning gave him super speed. Lightning is very fast, after all.”* This story made sense my nephew. Lightning is fast, …

[Story Sells] Sell On Emotion, Justify With This … Read More »

[Story Sells] TESTIFY, brother: How To Tell A “Conversion Story” that turns your customers into your best promoters

A few years back I followed my buddy to a multilevel marketing event for a health supplements company. It was a big event, designed to bring curious seekers into the fold. Presenters talked up the company and the products … but what I remember most were the testimonials. And when I say testimonials, I mean ‘testimonial’ in …

[Story Sells] TESTIFY, brother: How To Tell A “Conversion Story” that turns your customers into your best promoters Read More »

[Story Sells] The Bradbury Trick for Spinning Easy Story Copy

Ray Bradbury fumbled his early stories. They took him a long time and were boring to read. Until in his twenties he stumbled upon a “trick” that gave him an endless supply of story ideas … giving us Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and creepy tales like Something Wicked This Way Comes. With this trick, he …

[Story Sells] The Bradbury Trick for Spinning Easy Story Copy Read More »