08/06/2013 12:13 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

10 Ways That Stories Sell Businesses

Authors, filmmakers, comedians, songwriters and writers are master storytellers.

Some of the most popular blogs captivate their audience because of their personal, engaging and heartfelt stories, and YouTube videos that go viral are definitely created by master storytellers.

There's a reason why you feel compelled to pull out your credit card at 3 A.M. to buy that widget that's advertised on late night TV -- the producer weaved a master story that basically left you desperately needing a product you had never heard about a few hours before.

As humans being, we're hardwired to engage with a good story. That's how we learn as children and that's how we continue to enjoy learning as adults.

A good story can sell books, movies, music, plays and musicals. If you ask any advertising expert and they'll tell you that a good story can sell pretty much any product. Storytelling can also help a business retain clients and sell more of their products, but few businesses tap into the power of storytelling.

If you're not yet sure how storytelling can serve your business and increase loyalty among your clients, I've compiled a list of 10 reasons why storytelling can sell your business:

  1. Break free from sameness: If you're a service provider like an accountant, there's little differentiating you from your competitors. If you start sharing your story and the wins you're getting for your clients, you'll automatically stand out from the drier and more conservative approach your competitors use.
  2. Let your personality shine: You might be an accountant like all of your competitors, but if you're willing to let your personality shine through your business, you'll immediate set yourself apart. It's then a question of weaving your personality with a good story to allow people to see the "person" behind the accountant.
  3. Allow your clients to get to know you: There is a truism in marketing and that's people buy from people they know, like and trust. If you share your story in a compelling way, you allow your tribe of raving fans to get to know you and that considerably shortens the conversion cycle.
  4. Make unsexy professions sexy: A good story can make the humblest of jobs seems exciting.
  5. Being vulnerable: This is a hard one for most people, but vulnerability lets people know you're like them. Nothing creates a stronger bond than for people to come to the realization that there's little separating you from them. The reality is that no one likes an untouchable-know-it-all-guru who quintuples his or her business each year. It's far easier to relate with someone who celebrates his or her flaws. There's a reason why people LOVE Oprah; she's one of the most lucrative brands out there and she's never shied away from being publicly vulnerable.
  6. Share your mistakes: There's a fine line to this, as you still want to be seen as the professional, but there's power in sharing your mistakes or missteps. This also shows potential clients that you're willing to grow from the lessons you learn.
  7. Showcase your expertise: If you want to convert more ideal clients faster, show them why you are the only logical choice! Showcasing yourself becomes so much easier with video (and YouTube). A series of video can tell your story in a way that text can never do. The clearer it is in the mind of your clients as to why they should work with you, the less you'll have to sell them on the idea. No one likes to be "sold" to; people want to come to certain conclusions on their own (or at least feel like they did).
  8. Before and after stories are so powerful: ROI are great, but they lack a human element -- I don't know about you, but it's really hard to connect with stats. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry because they showcase their products via a short, but powerful story that speaks a thousand words- the clients' before and after photos. They only need to add a few well-chosen captions and the before and after story pretty much sells the product.
  9. Stories can charm your audience: Seduction is a powerful aphrodisiac. Seduction or stories of seduction is what sells perfumes. If you ever have a chance of watching television in Europe right before the holidays, you'll see hundreds of commercials of top perfumes and fragrances. None of them sell the product (that's far too boring) -- they sell the seductive dream of finding love thanks to aphrodisiac scents from their perfume or fragrance. The truth is that good stories disarm and charm your audience into putting down their defenses. In business, you can't argue with a good story -- it's persuasive.
  10. Your story has power: Would we have gravitated so much around Anthony Robbins had it not been for his story of being broke, living in a small apartment, washing his clothing in his bathtub, being overweight and depressed before discovering the transformative power of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming)? Would Oprah be the mega brand she is today had she kept her personal story to herself? Would we want to save Princess Diana has she never revealed the ordeal she was dealing with while she was married (and she became a brand all to her own)? Most likely not. Too often as business owners we discount our story and discount the power behind its potential influence on others. Connecting with your ideal clients means letting them connect to a certain extent to the real you.

The next time something happens (both your woos and whoas) in your business or life, use it to connect with your audience! It will create the kind of unshakable bound that is essential for you to stand out, connect and grow your business.