Storytelling and Sales: Apples to Apples?

In our training class we hammer home the idea that it’s important to be able to help a business owner know exactly how important it is to be truly competitive online.

Apart from digital advertising spends surpassing traditional advertising spends in 2019, the fact is this: audiences are online.

If a business is under-performing online, that means one harsh reality: their competition is winning their potential customers. 

But we all know that business owners still need to ‘see the big picture’ before their wallets open (read as: sign on the proposal’s dotted line).

And while we use relatable stories and analogies in class, we’re always looking for new ways to tell the ‘value’ story in a way that grads can use the story itself or as a way to trigger their own sales script to come up with a similar story — at the end of the day, it’s what you feel comfortable with.

Our marketing director, Joe Schaefer, thought of a new analogous story and we thought we’d share it here.

A Tale of Two Apple Stands

Let’s say you make a living selling apples at a roadside stand. Your neighbor, Jim, does the same thing. Your sales aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, but Jim is doing fantastic. In fact, he rode by on his brand new wagon this morning on his way to sell more of his popular apples.

Jim’s Apples Sell Better

Turns out, Jim’s apples sell better because he’s the first one on the road after people turn into town from the highway. Also, his customers say his apples are more attractive, juicier, taste better, and are just plain delicious.

People Are Talking

The Book Club in town is always saying great things about Jim’s apples and Mr. Howell, the town newspaper reporter, raves about them in the Town Crier almost weekly.

A Solution Arrives

One sunny day, Jerry, an award-winning apple grower, saunters into town. Jerry stops by your apple stand and he takes a close look at your apples. Jerry says, “I have a solution!” He continues, “What if I told you that with better soil, a different way of watering the apple trees, invasive worm removal from the surrounding ground, and some professional fertilizer, I can help you sell more apples, if not more than Jim?”

Please choose one reply below, because the future of your apple stand depends on it.

Do you say: 

  1. Nothing
  2. I’ll have my sister’s friend who once made an apple pie help out
  3. I accept your help! When can we get started?
  4. You tell Jerry you only want the soil and you’ll take your chances otherwise

If you chose any answer other than #3, we’d love to have you email us and tell us why!

The point is, this story helps people relate to exactly what you’re trying to do for them with your agency, but in a way that makes it so anyone can understand. I’d be surprised if any business owner chose other than #3! Do you agree?

If you need a breakdown of how this story relates, see below, otherwise this micro-lesson is over — go grow your business! Have a great day!

Breakdown: 

  • 2 competing businesses; one doing well, the other is average or below average
  • The popular stand is first off the highway (think SEO and rank)
  • The Book Club is raving and talking (think; Social Media)
  • The reporter from the Town Crier is raving and talking (think: reviews)
  • An expert has the solution that can make the less-busy apple stand finally compete!

The answers: 

Do nothing: You’ll come across those people; but telling a narrative like above will no doubt strike a cord.

I’ll have my sister’s friend who once made an apple pie help out: Wouldn’t you want an expert working on this?

You only want the soil: Uh, only using some of the puzzle pieces won’t finish the puzzle!

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