A well-written sales or product demo is an essential piece of your marketing strategy to generate revenue. Launching a successful demo, however, requires deft and subtle salesmanship in order to win over consumers, who have developed extreme distaste and awareness for overly salesy tactics. The key to a winning product demonstration therefore lies in the persuasive power of storytelling.

by Jason Beever

As author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, says: “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

When the time comes to finally reveal your product or offering to the public, don’t expect the sales to come pouring in unless you’ve first crafted an intriguing story for audiences to latch onto. It’s psychologically proven that customers make buying decisions based primarily on emotions; logical reasoning comes second. The ultimate invoker of emotion is, of course, storytelling—so let’s look at how just two important principles of story design can greatly improve your product demo’s success in the market.

Start With The “Why?”

You might not want to admit it, but chances are your product isn’t something completely never-before-seen. In fact, there’s probably even dozens of competing, similar products out there on the market (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; consumers buy into ideas they’re already familiar with).

However, what is unique about your product is the personal reasoning, motivation and cause behind it that no other company can share. To quickly incite interest and generate a personal connection with audiences, try associating your product with its much grander purpose for existing—or, in other words, answer the “Why?”

A mistake many companies make with their marketing is to only focus on the “What?” or “How?” Answering these questions only satisfies the exhausted advertising tactics of features and benefits—a strategy that has little effect on an audience’s emotional response. Consumers are instead influenced by what we can identify with on a human level: the motivations behind our actions. By revealing your key purpose, values, and beliefs—the driving force of your company—audiences will see you as more than a logo or a website; they will consider you a friend.

Everyone loves an underdog. Did a series of hardships propel you to create your product, so that others wouldn’t need to suffer the same pain? Is your brand working against the forces of greed and corruption in order to make the world a better place for all? Whatever your convictions, sharing them with like-minded audiences will instantly establish an emotional bond of trust.

We zealously follow the brands that best seem to “get us”. These companies capture our hearts because they’ve shown that their desires and actions are rooted in the same causes that concern us as well. Just like friendships, we surround ourselves with those who share similar values. Ultimately, the products that earn our trust also earn our money.

Focus On The Hero: Your Customer

As we’ve shown previously, the key to invoking a personal connection with audiences is to frame them as the hero of your story. The general idea works like this: First, trigger a relatable pain point that the audience currently feels. Second, lead them on a journey to discover what will resolve this conflict. Finally, allow them to obtain the solution (your product) that will transform their situation into the desired state.

Desire is a powerful force in storytelling; without it, a story’s hero will sit idly and fail to take reasonable action, resulting in an underwhelming narrative. An urgent object of desire—and, more importantly, a relatable object of desire—bluntly reveals the pain of its absence so strongly that life seems unbearable until the void is filled.

To fulfill this tall order of dramatic tension, you must uncover the deepest emotional need of your ideal consumer. Notice that emotional, internal needs are not the same as physical, external needs. On a core level, your product is not what consumers most desire; rather, it is the emotional status change your product brings. Confused? Consider this:

Why are we so emotionally invested in the heroes we see onscreen at the movies? How can such wildly exotic and foreign characters (aliens, assassins, star athletes, talking bugs) who chase similarly unfamiliar goals (destroy the Death Star, become heavyweight champion, escape from prison) manage to form such a strong bond in our hearts and minds? The reason is due to what’s at stake for these characters’ emotional status.

Determining what the character needs correlates to their external desire, yet understanding why they need it relates to their much stronger, internal need. This internal desire always comes down to a fundamental truth that every person on earth can relate to: Love. Self-worth. A sense of belonging. Accomplishment. Freedom. Happiness. These values are what make us human. Without them, we are incomplete. By obtaining them, our dreams are realized.

This is the magic that people chase and open their wallets for. It is the persuasive power that only storytelling can provide. If you can manage to frame your product as the one thing that will bring this emotional status change in a consumer’s life, then the sales will undoubtedly come pouring in for your business.   

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