March 27, 2017

The Six Rules of Story Selling (4 of 6)

This article is part of a series of posts I wrote about telling better stories about your work. Whether you're writing a book, an email series, or a Facebook ad, you'll find these six rules helpful...

Rule 4: Story selling is not a magic ‘silver bullet’ marketing tactic, but part of a bigger team game.

If you ask my clients what I’m good at, one of the top answers is always that I’m ‘logical’.

In many ways I guess I am. I can think through the structure of a Google AdWords campaign. I can create Infusionsoft decision diamonds that actually work. I can get to the root issue of a problem fast – a form of logical deduction. Punctuality and production are two of my highest values,

At the same time, I’m also deeply illogical.

Every once in a while I take proactive steps to better plan my days. At 4PM I’ll carefully script what activities I’ll do the following day, at what times. Then I’ll wake up the following morning with a whole NEW set of ideas! I’ll walk round the house with 12 things in my head, none of which exist on the schedule. I’ll stare out of the window for a while. I’ll watch some trams go past.

In the broad scheme of things I’ll still be on time, and I’ll still get stuff done. But the poor old schedule goes out of the window.

You see, there’s a battle raging in my head between logic and imagination. I bet the battle rages in your head too, at least some of the time. Your imagination can only run wild when you dial down your logic. This is why ideas come when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, or waiting for the shower to warm up.

Story selling is an imaginative exercise, rooted in logical structure. You can’t have one without the other.

With imagination and no structure, you get fantastical meandering stories that never sell anything. With structure and no imagination, you get well-planned but emotionally dry marketing.

Logic and imagination are different skills, best done by different people.

In my book The Marketing Nurture System, I describe four roles that have to be filled in the creation of an effective marketing system. The roles are product expert, systems expert, copywriter and implementer. Occupying more than one role at a time dramatically reduces your impact.

The work I do is most valuable when I only occupy the copywriter role. The trouble is, I’m not an ‘out and out’ copywriter. I can also act as the systems expert. I understand systems like Infusionsoft, Ontraport, Drip and so on. But over time I’ve realised I’m not a true systems person.

A true systems person hates the thought of writing, but wakes up in the night dreaming of flowcharts. The ideal meeting room for a systems person would have four whiteboards, side by side.

(Imagine the possibilities! Imagine the space!)

I can also work as the implementer. I can get things setup in whatever email system you’re using, but it isn’t the best use of my time and energy. Everybody thinks that time is the constraining factor, when the real constraint is energy.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. One of the big challenges in story selling (and in marketing generally) is the volume of work, and the trouble of getting the right people in the right roles.

You need both imagination and structure. You need left brain thinking, and right brain thinking. Normally they’re best done by different people.

Rule 4: Story selling is not a magic ‘silver bullet’ marketing tactic, but part of a bigger team game.

Doing everything yourself is not a viable long term option. You need the right people in the right roles.

To read more about the four roles, make sure you pick up a copy of the Magnetic Expertise. It’s in print and on Kindle.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.