The scientific connection of how stories sell

Ever wonder how a client makes the decision to hire a financial advisor? You might think they decide based on experience, reputation, advertising or cost. Those sound logical. What if there is more to the story, though, and it has to do with science?

As it turns out, a client chooses a financial advisor for reasons more chemical than logical. They choose, studies have shown, based on who triggers the release of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, which ignites a rush of all the happy chemicals in the brain. People are 76% more likely to demonstrate cooperative behavior when under the influence of oxytocin.

The million-dollar question

If you knew that your client was 76% more likely to buy from you if you engaged them in a certain way, would you do it? Of course you would! So, here’s the million-dollar question: How do you tell a story that causes the release of oxytocin? The answer is persuasive storytelling. Once you implement storytelling into your marketing plan, you will never go back to traditional marketing practices. Persuasive storytelling engages the audience, deepens the relationship and seals the deal.

What the research says

One of the biggest challenges facing the financial community today is how to create content that stands out in a media-saturated world. The Harvard Business Review tackled that challenge by putting together a case study to reinforce the message that storytelling triggers oxytocin, and consequently, motivates cooperative behavior. To prove their point, the researchers showed a group of people a short film with a clear storyline. They found that character-driven stories with emotionally driven content consistently cause oxytocin to synthesize. This study was one of many that illuminated storytelling as a branding superpower, designed to elicit an emotional response from the audience.

Outside of the lab, you can get those oxytocin feel-good cooperative results by applying a three-step storytelling formula designed to target your content in a storytelling fashion. These steps will leave your audience craving more from you:

  1. Tell a story that is personal to you and relevant to them.
  2. Tell a story (as if it’s happening in real time) vs. a narrative (talking about the story).
  3. Tell a story that makes your audience the hero.

It’s that simple to turn storytelling into story selling!

To find stories, think about what’s happened in your life or any client stories you could tell, without specifically identifying the client, of course. You can also find client stories in MDRT’s Round the Table magazine or other publications.

In these MDRT member exclusives, read a few client stories, or True Tales, about how insurance made an unforgettable difference:

Find more True Tales.

Dawn Herscher is an award-winning speechwriter, speaker and storyteller. You can email her or visit her website to learn more.

Verified by ExactMetrics