Title: Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me
Author: Greg Koorhan
Paperback: 156 pages
Publisher: Crossbow Studio; 1 edition (July 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780692748275
ISBN-13: 978-0692748275
ASIN: 069274827X

This nifty book is full of useful information that will be a blessing for all storytellers. For those who are beginners in storytelling, you’ll not make the mistakes that veteran storytellers make. For veteran storytellers, you’ll understand why your stories written for a business setting aren’t converting to sales and how to correct such mistakes. It is, essentially, an important guide for those who need to learn how to market their products more effectively.

Let’s analyse this book a little more. For one, the subtitle to this book gives a glimpse of what’s ahead in that Koorhan says that the book shows you how to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience. The focus of his audience is those involved in corporations and businesses.

An overview of the book will reveal that it consists of the following. Koorhan explains why stories are so important in business. Then, he gives a warning that you should stop spinning tales about your business and, instead, focus on telling the truth. He then identifies the link between your values and your brand and why it’s so important. You’re then shown the many types of stories available and how to use them to your advantage. Other basic elements of storytelling, such as setting a theme and characterisation are also explored. It is only then that you begin to tell your story.

The most fascinating parts of this book are the home truths he tells. For example, he highlights that when you ask business owners what’s special about their business, they’re likely to parrot the same phrase – their people, their processes and their technology. Here’s the home truth – every business out there has unique people and processes, and their up-to-date with their technology.

Have you been in a situation where you’ve spoken to a leader in the business and he spews jargon? You have no clue what he’s saying and, quite frankly, you’re bored. This is the second important message that Koorhan has – when telling the story of your business, don’t use jargon. As he says, ‘It’s called corporate speak. Don’t use it.’

Perhaps, the most important warning that Koorhan has is that if you’re going to sell something, you need to tell the truth about it and about your business. At the very least, you should tell yourself the truth. And he adds, ‘Telling the truth to ourselves requires awareness and practice.’

And what is that one element that will change everything whenever you tell a story from this moment on? Emotion. Inject emotion into your story from the very beginning and there’s no doubt that you’ll convince anyone at all about what you’re trying to share with them.

Koorhan writes from knowing how this works from the ‘inside’. In fact, in the book, he writes that he’s ‘an award-winning filmmaker and cofounder of Crossbow Studio, an independent film and video production company. His company specialises in uplifting stories that inspire, educate and entertain. He is also the founder of ProfitArcher, a digital marketing firm focused on helping you generate leads for your business by creating compelling content aimed straight at the heart of your audience.’

On a more personal note, the one thing that didn’t resonate was his advice to use ‘the short story or beginning snippet as a teaser to click through to read the full blog post.’ For years, I tried this when sending out my newsletter. Last year, I asked the subscribers to my newsletter about this and they all had the same thing to say: they’d prefer to read the whole story in the newsletter rather than click through. In light of Koorhan’s advice, though, maybe I should revisit this point because he insists that by providing a mere teaser to the newsletter, I’d succeed in getting each reader to ‘touch point to support the greater whole.’

The last word, however, belongs to Koorhan. As this website is focused entirely on the art of storytelling, it is impossible to state the benefit of storytelling any better than this: ‘A story can get a customer engaged more that any brochure, listing just features and benefits. A story can literally make someone feel the value of working with you. Stories do what data does not.’

Aneeta Sundararaj
(November 2018)

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