Selling, Storytelling and Magical Thinking

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“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

          –     Robert McAfee Brown, (1920 – 2001) American theologian and activist 

“Magical thinking is not to be confused with mere exaggeration. Liars and con-men exaggerate. But persuasive storytellers enchant us with magical thinking, stating the obviously impossible as though it is perfectly reasonable.  The next time you need to persuade someone, might it be useful to put them in a frame of mind to consider new and different things? Do you think it might be helpful to entice them into the realm of infinite possibilities, where anything and everything is possible?”

–     Roy H. Williams (b. 1958), “The Wizard of Ads” and one of commerce’s best-ever storytellers

“Professional selling is the passionate transference of belief.”

–     Cornerstone of The Heston Group sales training philosophy, delivered custom for your team by Steve Heston

Ideas are the currency of the difference makers.  Storytelling is their means of transacting and persuading, of passionately transferring belief.  Storytelling requires magical thinking and is “the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.”

The world today seems focused on the sound bite and the exaggeration at the expense of the idea, suspending magical thinking for hyperbole.  The world today tries to draw us to the sensational, at the expense of the important.  The world today wants us to believe that 280 characters is all we need in order to understand, and that a snippet on YouTube can stand in for storytelling.  The world today provides ample incentive to take short cuts, yet the on-ramps to difference making are rarely short-cuts.

Storytelling makes a difference, because it gives ideas sunlight, water, oxygen and good soil, so that roots can run deep and hold strong.  Storytelling sets an idea apart, because it allows the idea to become “perfectly reasonable.”  Storytelling enables difference making because it engages the audience emotionally, “puts them in a frame of mind to consider new and different things,” and helps frame the “obviously impossible as though it is perfectly reasonable.”  (That right there is some powerful stuff from The Wizard!  Just sayin’…)

The anti-storytelling movement is built on blind internet auctions; on closed envelope bids.  The anti-storytelling movement is led by procurement departments who are paid to commoditize offerings that can not and should not be commoditized.  The goal of the anti-storytellers is to minimize ideas.  They trade in the currency of fear.  Avoiding blame is their means of transacting.

Ideas are the currency of the difference makers.  And storytelling is their means of transacting.

Find a platform from which to tell your story.  And, tell it like it makes a difference.  Because it does.

 


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