When I worked at the bookstore, the company was in descent. The bookstore no longer exists. It got gobbled up by another company after going bankrupt.
To try to salvage the company the company became big on selling certain books. We all had to sell them.
Even me, who worked at the cash register.
So, I chose one of the books to take and read. I had to know what it was about.
Now, to be honest, I haven’t read much fiction. Not at all. I still haven’t.
I tend to read non-fiction.
This book got my attention. It held my attention for the duration of the story.
In a word, it was marvelous.
So, the book was the one I chose to sell. I set them up at the register where we are asked to upsell them.
One thing about selling books that is good is you can talk about what you like. Thankfully, no one gave me a script to memorize.
My boss just told me to tell them what I liked about the book.
So I did. And several times, it worked.
You see the book is told about a story of a Russian soldier during World War II.
David, the writer, used his grandfather’s stories to construct the story in the book.
He prodded his grandfather for stories about his time during the war. He even used a tape recorder.
When they were through he continued to ask questions about various details. Naturally, his grandfather did not remember. It was a long time ago.
He told him he didn’t want to mess up the story.
Finally, exasperated, his grandfather said, “David. You’re a writer. Make it up.
You see, David recounts this in the intro of his book, City of Thieves.
Every time I talked about the book, I would recount that part towards the end of the Introduction. I always ended with the line,
“David. You’re a writer. Make it up.”
Then I would give the customer a big smile.
And you know what?
It worked. More times than you would imagine.
People would be so compelled by this small part of the story, that was in the Introduction, they would buy the book.
It didn’t hurt that the book wasn’t that expensive.
We live in a world of letters and acronyms like ROI, KPIs, and many other boring letters. It seems everyone wants to quantify business.
We certainly need to pay attention to numbers, but we forget the most important thing. Business is a relationship between the customer and you.
And storytelling is your secret weapon.
I’m not even kidding about this.
Features and benefits just aren’t as compelling as a good story.
What story are you telling you your customers?