Storytelling – To Gain Case Acceptance
Stories have captured peoples’ attention for eons, long before the written word. Jesus used stories to illustrate his lessons, as have many other spiritual leaders. Incredibly long stories were handed down from generation to generation, long before written narration, as a means to remember that culture’s history. Stories were entertainment long before we had TV and movies. Stories have been used to illustrate and educate. Storytelling is ingrained into our DNA.
Today, storytelling is being re-vitalized as a way to make a point, persuade, and even sell. Indeed, the more technically advanced we become, the more important it is to develop this potent soft skill of storytelling. This is not just fluffy jargon. Story telling is becoming one of the most valuable 21st century business skills.
Geoff Colvin, senior editor for Fortune business magazine, tells us “why the right kind of narrative, told by a person, is mightier than logic”. Really?! Storytelling is more effective, even powerful, than rational logic? Here, again, we see that our conventional left brain logical clinical patient education pales in contrast to the more meaningful and effective persuasive results with soft skills, in this case storytelling. Why is that?
Storytelling is a co-creative process. When you hear a story (read a book, watch a movie), you mentally and emotionally put yourself in that place, and personally experience that story. You are there! You feel the same emotions, the pleasure, and the pain. That is the wonderful power of books and movies. We escape into that story. So too with everyday stories, the small stories that happen every single day to you and me. We hear a story and think, “I can relate to that”. How much more powerful for your patient to hear a real story from you, or one of your team, that illustrates a patient’s frustration or pain that was resolved with your dentistry, rather than a dry clinical explanation?
Remember, studies show that most buying decisions are made with emotion, and justified with logic! How do we appeal to that emotion? Story telling does this nicely. And anyone can tell a story! You don’t need any special training. But you do need a few guidelines, which I’ll share with you shortly.
Storytelling expert Kindra Hall teaches sales and marketing to Fortune 500 clients through the power of storytelling. According to Kindra, the easiest most effective way to build bridges that capture attention and influence behavior…is with storytelling. And what bridges we need!
Let’s face it. We have a difficult audience in our dental industry. Patients typically do not go to the dentist hoping to spend more money there. However, they do want the results of your dentistry, that is pain free, healthy beautiful smiles. Reluctant customer vs happy customer. Stories help bridge that gap.
Explaining the space maintenance clinical description of an implant is not particularly compelling to your average patient. But, tell them the story of my aged mother losing teeth and hating her bridge. She balked initially at the implant cost. But she balks at the cost of everything! I finally managed to persuade her to go for the implant and subsequent restoration. To this day she could not tell you what it is or anything about it. BUT, now she loves the fact that it is so natural she forgets it is there. For someone who lives to eat, this is critical to her happiness. I’ve repeated this story so many times to illustrate not what an implant is but what it can do and how it can change lives. A simple story with huge happy implications.
Story Selling is a powerful skill for your business, your practice and your patients. Master story telling and you will find that you will more quickly gain rapport, create relationships and increase treatment case acceptance. This is where, in the best sense, storytelling becomes story selling.