The Six Magic Words
There are six magic words that will make almost anyone, almost anywhere, listen to almost anything you have to say. Want to know what they are? I’m going to tell you, but first I want you to imagine something for me.
What if you found a complete 100% guaranteed cure for the one thing in your life that causes you the most pain? You would be totally on fire to tell everyone who suffers from the same pain, everyone who has ever suffered from the same pain, and everyone who may ever suffer with the same pain. It would eat you up inside to think that there were people anywhere in the world who didn’t know about this miracle that single-handedly change your life for the better.
So how would you do it? TV? Radio? Internet? How would you get the word out to the masses? Let’s even forget about the medium for right now. What would your message be? What would you say? Better yet, how would you get people to listen?
This is the biggest challenge in marketing. Let’s assume, for a moment, that you have an amazing product, and that you believe in this product with all your heart. You have found a way to procure or manufacture it and you have supply lines in place. Let’s also assume that you have the resources, contacts, and cash to utilize any and all media to evangelize the world with this little wonder. Even after you’ve cleared all these hurdles (ones that usually derail most businesses before they get started), you still have to know what to say and how to get people to listen.
Why They Work
If I had a nickel for every client who has told me, “If I can get people through my door, I can sell them. I just have to figure out how to get them here,” I’d live next door to Warren Buffet. The key element that often gets lost is the message. This is where stories come in. I’ve written a lot about types of articles this week, stories being one of them, but this may be the most powerful information I’ve ever shared with an audience.
Now for the magic words. They are, “Can I tell you a story.” That little phrase will open more doors for you than any other collection of words in the English language. Everyone loves a story. You could call up 100 complete strangers and say, “Hello, my name is _____, can I tell you a story?” and I’ll bet more than half of them would let you do it. Stories are things that we don’t tell to people we don’t like. They are trusted bits of self-revealing information that we only share with those who mean something to us.
The Magic Words give you an instant sense of familiarity, caring, and sincerity. Advertising is throwing things at people and hoping they stick. Stories draw people in by providing valuable information and shielding them from the artillery of traditional advertisers. When you tell someone a story, you’re really saying, “Hey, I like you, so I want to help you out and give you something special.” This is why these six magic words not only open doors, but often get you invited to stay.
How To Use Them
Any story (it doesn’t matter what kind) follows the same basic pattern. It goes like this:
Before _________ I was like this or this happened. But, ___________ changed things. Because of __________ I am like this or this happens now.
Before… But… Because… These are the three stages of any story. I’ll prove it.
Before the three little pigs lived together in a brick house, they were terrorized by the big bad wolf. They lived in constant fear that he would blow their houses down and eat them. But, the third pig discovered that houses could be build out of bricks and bricks were too strong to blow down. Because the third pig built his house out of bricks, the three pigs no longer live in fear of the wolf. They enjoy the warmth and comfort of a well-built home.
Try one for yourself. Almost any good story will work. This is because at the heart of a good story is a problem, a solution, and a happy ending. Stories we use for marketing are no different. Have you ever seen this one on TV?
Before I used Pro-Active, I had terrible acne. I’m famous and famous people can’t have acne, so it was a huge problem. But I tried Pro-Active and my skin cleared up. Because of Pro-Active, I’m now free from the embarrassment, pain, and worry of acne.
Of course you’ve seen that one and 100 others just like it. Ron Popeil, Richard Simmons, and Tony Robbins have all built massively prosperous careers on these types of messages. Think about all of the infomercials that populate cable stations at all hours of the night. If we all hate infomercials, why do people pay for and produce these things? Because they work. And why do they work? Because stories are powerful.
4 Stories That Changed the World
Although nearly all stories have the same basic structure, you can tell them from a variety of viewpoints – 4 to be exact. We’ll get to those in a second. First, consider something. Historians of all faith traditions have agreed that there was, in fact, a man named Jesus who was from the town of Nazareth. He traveled throughout Bibleland, along with his 12 disciples, teaching the tenants of Christianity. It is also a historic fact that after his death (and some believe resurrection), in less time than the United States has been a nation, those 12 followers spread the message of Christianity through the entire known world. To this very day, it remains the most widely-held faith tradition on earth.
Now, how in the world did these 12 regular Joe working stiffs manage to get this done without any technology, transportation, or mass communication of any kind? The answer: They Told Their Stories. Remember they were there for the miracles. They saw the crowds come to hear him speak. They watched him every time he went to work for 3 years. They could testify (or tell stories of) stuff Jesus did from a first-hand perspective. This is why they were so successful. Let me show you what I mean in marketing terms.
Brand X Touched Someone Else
The first viewpoint is “Brand X Touched Someone Else.” This is where we simply give our account of something that happened to another person. It works like this:
Can I tell you a story? OK. There was this person I knew. Before he used Brand X, he struggled terribly with ________. But he saw an infomercial in the middle of the night for Brand X and decided to take a chance. He bought it and started to use it. It worked! Because of Brand X, he no longer struggles with _________ anymore.
This is probably the least powerful of the 4 viewpoints, because it is a third person account. But when you consider how powerful all stories are, it’s like saying that Mr. Fantastic is the least powerful member of the Fantastic Four.
Someone Used Brand X to Touch Me
The second viewpoint is “Someone Used Brand X To Touch Me.” Here we get our first taste of bona fide personal experience. This is where we credit someone else for introducing us to something that changed our lives. It works like this:
Can I tell you a story? OK. Before I used Brand X, I struggled terribly with _________. But this person I met introduced me to Brand X. She said it had worked for her and it could work for me too, so I decided to take a chance. I bought some and used it. It worked! Because of Brand X I no longer struggle with _____________ anymore.
Brand X Touched Me Directly
The third viewpoint is “Brand X Touched Me Directly.” In this version, we tell about a time that we encountered Brand X out of necessity, coincidence, or because it found us. It works like this:
Can I tell you a story? OK. Before Brand X, I struggled terribly with _________. But one day, I was in this place and I needed something. Brand X was the only one available at the time, so I tried it. It worked! Because of Brand X, I no longer struggle with _________ anymore.
I Used Brand X To Touch Someone Else
The final viewpoint is “I Used Brand X (or Brand X Used Me) to Touch Someone Else.” This is the most powerful type of story, because it tells of more then one success and implies a living personal endorsement. It works like this:
Can I tell you a story? OK. There was this person I knew who struggled terribly with ___________. Before Brand X, I did too, so I introduced him to Brand X and recommended that he give it a try. I gave him some and he used it. It worked just like it did for me! Because of Brand X he no longer struggles with __________ anymore.
Well, thanks for reading this article. If you take this information and use it properly, I know it will be powerfully effective. Good Luck!
Have you ever sold someone on something with a story? Has someone ever sold you on something with a story? Share it in the comments and let’s talk about it.