“Your Story” Can Be A Powerful Marketing Persuasion Tool

One of the master storytellers of the last century, Walt Disney, talked many a reluctant banker into providing him with funding for his next theme park attraction or movie.

And how did he do this?

Through the tactic of imaginative storytelling.

When asked how the Disney company raised so much capital, Walt’s brother, Roy (who was the Chief Financial Officer and responsible for getting the banks onside), said “don’t credit me, it was mainly through Walt’s incredible storytelling.”

When Walt would run out of money for a movie project or theme park attraction, Roy would put him in front of the banks and Walt would take them on a magical journey, explaining where the project was up to and how some extra funding would magnify the likely profits beyond what they first imagined.

Each and every time, Walt and Roy would walk out of the bank building with the money!

image002What was Walt doing?

He was cleverly marketing his products –

through creative storytelling.

So no matter what your offer or product benefits are, make sure you build a story around them.

Just like a children’s storybook, give your customers

a compelling story about your products or services,

using a lot of convincing rationale.

  • So if you market the best lawnmowers around, tell the story of “why” they are better than your competitors.
  • If you have the freshest fruit and vegies in town, explain the reasons why! Eg. You buy only from the very best farms, which have won awards for quality control. Or you get to the markets earlier than anyone and get the freshest produce each day.
  • If your facial cream reduces fine lines quicker than any others, tell the story of how this is the case. Eg: A very special formula from the jungles of the Amazon etc.
  • And if your guest house or hotel has the most comfortable beds around, explain the whole story about the mattress, who makes it and why it’s so delightful to sleep on.

You see, “Wow Factors” don’t necessarily have to be “free things”.

Your Wow Factor can be the unique benefit which your product or service offers – a benefit that your competitors simply cannot match.

How’s this for a story about a hotel bed!

Lets take hotel beds for example.

I’m always intrigued why hotels don’t make a big deal out of the comfort level of their beds, because after all, that’s the main feature of a hotel room that we are all interested in.

If I owned a hotel, you can bet your life that I would make sure the beds were absolutely divine to sleep in – because it’s the bed that is going to largely determine the chances of me getting repetitive trade from that guest.

I stayed at the Westin Hotel in San Diego some years back and have never stopped raving about the bed I slept in that night.

The beds brand name was “Heavenly Beds” and it was the most comfortable nights sleep I have ever enjoyed.

The Westin Hotel chain have used its brand of Heavenly Beds as a major marketing message for years and because of the attraction of those beds, actually started retailing them would you believe!


Talk about “brand extension!”

However, this particular hotel chain is one of only a few who have recognised the potency of marketing the comfort of their incredible beds.

Telling your story helps validate your authenticity

It goes without saying that your story helps promote your “authenticity”.

How did your business come about, where has it been, what products and great benefits does it deliver and where is it heading in the future?

After all, it’s only when you know similar sort of background details of colleagues or acquaintances that they become truly trusted friends and people you believe you can rely on.

Generally, a company’s brand is founded on its history, so why not tell your story whenever you can?

I still maintain that you need to give priority to your unique benefits, but after doing so, there’s nothing wrong with telling “the story” of your background.

You should be telling your story across all channels of communications, including your website, direct mail, public relations, catalogues and blogs.

People relate to stories that have an emotional appeal, ones that truly demonstrate the personality or brand that your business has.

For example, if you support community or charitable projects, make sure you are communicating this on a regular basis.

It’s important to communicate how you have historically “over-delivered” to your customers and how you treat your staff.

You may care to even comment on why customers keep coming back to purchase your products or services – after all, this is part of your story.

Everyone loves a good story, so why not give them one?

And in the instance of validating your company’s brand message, there’s nothing better to do it than give your message of authenticity via a great story about your business, values and history.

The Tea Centre Where You Can’t Get A Cuppa!

In the world of marketing, there’s a lot to be said for exploiting “obvious synergies.”
It makes sense for a surf board shop to sell board shorts and bikinis.

Likewise, it makes sense for a Garden Centre to sell wheel burrows and hoses.

This is why I find it intriguing that The Tea Centre chain of retail stores doesn’t sell cups of hot tea in their shops!

You’ve possibly seen one of these stores in the big shopping malls and they boast hundreds of tea pots, accessories and of course, brands of tea.

They boast teas from around the world and highlight that their teas are air freighted to Australia every 6 to 8 weeks to maintain the finest quality and freshness.

They have morning teas, afternoon teas, aromatic teas, evening teas, light teas, low caffeine teas, medium teas, strong teas and lots more!

If you’re a tea drinker, your mouth is probably watering by now.

But guess what?

You’ll never get the chance to taste any of these fabulous teas when you visit The Tea Centre, as it doesn’t sell any cups of tea!

Yet, let me repeat that.

The Tea Centre doesn’t sell any hot cups of tea!

Nor does it provide any “taste-testing.”

Yes, I’m sure you’re shaking your head from left to right questioning the logic in all of this.

Surely if it’s The Tea Centre, it realises the most powerful form of selling such a beverage is “taste-testing.”

Having had Madura Tea as a client, I know that a consumer’s decision to buy can be hugely influenced by having a taste of the beverage.

So it amazes me that this retail outlet doesn’t have any taste-testing of its magnificent range of teas.

Can you imagine the huge marketing opportunity which is being missed by this company?

Of course, they’re not alone.

I’ve seen lots of ice cream shops not offering samples of their ice cream to passers-by.

And when was the last time you saw a fish and chips shop handing out samples of their calamari at lunch or dinner time?

And I bet you’ve never seen a fruit shop providing small sample tubs of fruit salad.

My suggestion to The Tea Centre would be to take a leaf out of the main street butchery (excuse the pun when I say “leaf!”) and provide sample tastings to visitors to their shops.

At least they are some entrepreneurial butchers who have a sausage sizzle or barbecue outside their shop during busy periods – and I take my hat off to them for doing so.

It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’ve seen a number or butchers stage such barbecues outside their store, giving prospects the opportunity to “taste” a bite-sized portion of their meat products with various sources.

It’s just hard to believe that a product which relies heavily on the persuasive power of “tasting,” doesn’t exploit the opportunity that’s so obvious.

John Dwyer, CEO
Phone: 07 55 919 566
Email: john@theinstituteofwow.com

Ten Ingredients Of A Powerful Marketing Recipe That Attracts New Clients!

No matter what industry you’re in, when creating your marketing plan, make sure you position your business as “the UN” of your industry - “UNlike” any of your competitors.

You know that the vast majority of players in your industry look the same.

Their marketing is in “a sea of sameness” and most of them are invisible.

Having provided marketing “wow factor” marketing advice to over 27,000 businesses, I’ve written quite a few marketing plans in my time – and all of them have contained ten important ingredients which I have termed my “Wow Manifesto.”

So here’s the recipe:

  1. Determine your target audience very clearly.

    Sounds like a pretty obvious first step, doesn’t it?Why then, do so many businesses spray bullets with their advertising money and spend a fortune communicating to everyone?

    That’s right, determine who are your most profitable customers and what they look like – and then go looking for more people who look like them!

  2. Be the expert!

    We all want to deal with person who is seen to be the foremost exponent of their industry, whether they be a chiropractor, lawyer, accountant, landscaper or hairdresser.

    So if you believe you’re the best in town at what you do, then make sure you position yourself as “the expert.”

    Just like Steve Irwin, Don Burke and the MasterChefs, you need to position yourself as the go-to-person in your industry.

  3. You need to create a wow!

    As consumers, we are reportedly exposed to over 3,000 advertising messages a day.So this is why you need to inject some “wow factor” into your marketing recipe.

    So just like McDonald’s created the toy in its Happy Meal product, you need your own “wow factor” to distinguish you from your competitors.

    Woolworth’s and Coles have their “fuel discount program” driving repetitive trade for them every day of the year, a hugely popular “wow factor.”

    I’ve just launched a fuel discount program on steroids, one which blitzes the supermarket versions.

    It’s at www.fuelyoursales.com.au and businesses that are using this “wow factor program” are quickly reaping the benefits.

    If you’re a hair salon, why not give a free 10 minutes scalp message.

    If you’re a car mechanic, why don’t you wash and vacuum your clients’ cars.

  4. Use the problem/solution formula.

    One of the most powerful ways to solicit an instant response from prospects is to highlight their problem and show how you are providing the solution.

    I’ve nicknamed this strategy as the “Panadol formula” for obvious reasons.

    If your client has a headache, give them the quick solution!

    The weight loss industry uses this formula exceptionally well, but sadly, not many other businesses follow suit.

  5. Dump your boring website as quickly as possible!

    The vast majority of business websites are just woeful.

    Most business owners had their website created by a “tech-head” who didn’t have an ounce of marketing skill in his or her body.

    Your homepage is the most important section of your website and yet for most businesses, this page lacks theatre, content and sales language.

    Grab a popular women’s magazine and compare the vibrancy and attention-getting devices on the front of the magazine to the homepage of your website.

    Your website is simply an electronic sales catalogue or magazine for your business.

    If you don’t capture them on the homepage, they’re not going to look further into your website!

    Your homepage needs a:

    • Solution headline
    • Compelling graphics
    •  A Free Report to capture data
    •  A welcome video
    •  Client video testimonials
  6. Do events!

    Start holding seminars, expos, cocktail parties, breakfasts and lunches.

    Look around you and you’ll see the likes of gardening expos, travel shows and pet forums happening every week.

    The great thing about holding such events is that you get to sell once in front of a larger number of prospects.

    Tupperware and Nutrimetics are not so silly, are they?
  7. Use video testimonials!

    Despite the fact that it has been proven that video is the most powerful form of communication on websites, hardly any businesses feature videos on their sites!

  8. Get free publicity.

    Forward media releases regularly to online and offline publishers, targeting the media which captures a good portion of your target audience.I believe you need to have one or both of the following components:

    • You need to be provocative – in other words, “shake the cage” a little … or perhaps “lot!”
    • An announcement of a breakthrough or invention!
  9. Deliver extraordinary customer service!

    If you’ve been to Disneyland, you would have experienced “knock your socks off” customer service.

    Disney highlight that they’re not satisfied with delivering great customer service.
    Their aim is to deliver an extraordinary, unforgettable experience! Do the Same!
  10. Build repetitive trade.

    You don’t want one customer and one sale.

    You want multiples of each and the way to do this is to create an incentive for clients to return over and over again, becoming loyal advocates.

    So why not consider creating a simple Loyalty Scheme for your own business?
    The simplest one I’ve seen is where cafés give you a Loyalty Card – and after 9 coffees, you get the 10th one for free.

    People are naturally “creatures of habit” and once you get them into a repetitive visitation pattern, there’s a good chance they will simply continue coming back regularly.

John Dwyer, CEO
Phone: 07 55 919 566
Email: john@theinstituteofwow.com





You don’t want this real estate agent selling your house!

I snapped this photo last weekend outside a house and land development on the Gold Coast – it’s 2013 and this is the best that this agent can come up with?

They’ve got to be kidding!

Do they really think that in the age of iPads, Million Dollar Giveaways, Big Festivals and Expos, that a lame burger sizzle is going to attract prospective real estate buyers to this weekend offer!!!

Unfortunately this lack of marketing savvy is right across the real estate industry, as 90% of agents don’t have any marketing skills at all. They tell you that they “market homes” – but ask anyone of them for evidence of the marketing qualifications and you’ll hear the crickets in the background!

Next time you’re choosing a real estate agent to sell your home, ask them that very question – “Show me your marketing qualifications.”

Pretty fair question when these days most of them insist upon you giving them thousands of dollars for advertising.

For the record, I drove into this estate in the middle of the day to see how many people had rushed in there for the free burger – and surprise, surprise – all I saw were tumbleweeds on the street.

I know I am biased because I preach “wow factor marketing,” but this really is kid’s stuff – and they are advertising it on Gold Coast radio would you believe!

Real Estate Agents continue to promote themselves as marketing experts, yet they show photographs of empty homes without any images of their target audience.

The first rule for any advertisement is to show images of your target audience in order to increase the magnetism of your message.

If a burger sizzle and a slippery dip is the best that this agent can do, I’m glad he’s not marketing my home!


Watch This Video! Apple Customer Service Is All About “Problem Solving and Delivering The Unexpected!”

Play the video above and put a smile on your face – because this short video of my 15 year old son in an Apple Store is pure "customer service magic!"

Young Shane had convinced my wife and I to shout him a new computer, so before we knew it, we found ourselves in an Apple Store.

When he chose his computer, Shane was asked by the Apple assistant if this was his first purchase from an Apple Store?

Shane's answer was 'yes' – therefore activating the "over-the-top standing ovation celebration ritual" that all virgin customers receive!

I knew what was coming and therefore captured it on video!

(See Shane's somewhat embarrassed face as he leaves the store!!)

Now THIS is what I call "WOW!"

Take some lessons from this for your business.

More people visit Apple's stores than the Walt Disney Theme Parks!
How do they do it?

Obviously great products, but also great training for staff, as they are told that they must provide great customer experiences.

My teenage son's unforgettable experience is an example!

Their employees are trained not to sell, but rather to help customers solve their problems!

They have no sales commissions and no targets!

Apple's guidelines are:

• Approach customers with a personalised warm greeting
• Probe politely to find out customers' needs
• Present a solution for the customer to take home today
• Listen for and resolve any issues
• End with a friendly farewell and an invitation to return

Hey – and how's this for a wow?

Apple stores have a Genius bar, where you can make an appointment with a Genius, who will work with you to fix your problem.

During your session, your Genius will gather information about your problem and answer your questions.

If your product requires repairs, the Genius will discuss repair options, explain any charges and prepare your equipment for repair.

Most sessions last about 15 minutes, but some may take longer, depending on the issue.

Now THAT'S what I call VIP "wow" customer service that knocks your socks off!

And that's the type of "wow" you need to consider for your business, so that your extraordinary service becomes water cooler conversation tomorrow!


Like Disney, Apple Stores aim to deliver a stunning "customer experience" – not just good customer service.
There is a big difference!

We all expect "good customer service."

In my Marketing Coaching Programs (http://www.theinstituteofwow.com/products/), I teach businesses to "deliver the unexpected."

Can you imagine how you'd feel when you put your vehicle in for service, if the car mechanic actually went the extra mile and washed and vacuumed your car before you picked it up!?

Or just imagine if he went one step further and put a surprise gift of a box of Cadbury chocolates on the passenger seat!

Now THIS is delivering an unexpected "customer experience!"

Think about how YOU can do the same for your clients.

…..And if you need help, check out http://www.theinstituteofwow.com/products/


An Extraordinary Customer Experience

A colleague of mine had purchased a new vehicle only 12months before his starter motor decided to pack it in.

Well of course, it would be covered in the 12 month warrantywouldn’t it?

Yep, it would, except the starter motor decided to collapse just 2 days after the warranty had finished.

He decided to try his luck and take it back to the dealer who had sold him the car, fully expecting that he would cop the standard response of “Sorry Sir, it’s out of warranty.”

The dealer was a reputable business entity and here’s what happened:

The salesman who sold my colleague the car was no longer at the dealership, but his replacement completely understood the frustration of my friend.

So he offered my pal a coffee whilst he spoke to the principal of the dealership and five minutes later, gave my friend the good news that they would honour the spirit of the warranty, regardless of the fact that legally they didn’t have to.

My colleague was understandably elated and thanked them for their “fair play attitude.”

It gets better. Because they needed the vehicle for a couple of days to fix the problem, they provided my colleague with a courtesy car with a full tank.

The salesman constantly left my friend voicemails throughout the two days updating him on the status of the vehicle repairs.

When my friend picked up his vehicle a couple of days later, it had been washed, polished and the interior vacuumed.

My colleague’s reaction was“Wow I cannot believe this!”

When my friend decides to purchase a new car, probably sometime in the next year or two, where do you think he might go?

And aside from that, hemust have told 50 different people already about hisextraordinary customer service over-delivery.

When he picked up his vehicle after the repairs, the principal of the dealership asked if they had exceeded his expectations.

His reply was of course“Yes,” to which the dealership principal responded,“Well, we have successfully done our job then.”

I must confess the only cardinal sin that was committed bythe vehicle dealership was that they didn’t capture a videotestimonial from my friend at this moment of gratification.

Imagine how powerful a video testimonial would have beenon their website, when they had just knocked the socks offa customer by delivering the unexpected.

This dealership had certainly gone the extra mile to createan extremely happy client, but unfortunately had not fullyexploited the opportunity by being able to theatricallycommunicate that wonderful gesture to a wider audience.

And whilst the cheapest form of advertising is a satisfiedcustomer, don’t rely on that client telling all of his/her familyand friends about the experience.

Rather, capture on video his/her elation at the time of the nicesurprise, so you can then feature that on your website andother marketing collateral that reaches a larger audienceof prospects.

Everyone Loves Wow Events!

For years, I have been recommending to clients that they consider holding “events.”

No matter what our age or demographic profile, we all love going to expos, dinner parties, theatre opening nights, breakfasts and special lunches.

So why not take advantage of this for your business and stage an event or two, where you invite lots of “bees to your honeypot?”

I present at many seminars these days and the great thing about such events is that I am “selling once” to multiples of people – rather than selling “one to one.”

Anthony Robbins worked this out many years ago and has been drawing crowds of thousands to each of his seminars across 3 decades.

Think about what he does.

He sells “once” to thousands of people in his audience.

Can you imagine how tiring it would be if he had to knock on the door of every single person in that convention hall?

So think about this “event mentality” for your business.

Imagine if you were in front of dozens of warm prospects for a number of hours.

When the term “events” comes up, many think of the World’s Fair or perhaps big Agricultural Shows.

Short for “exposition,” the term expo conjures up images of exotic displays, live demonstrations, samplings and even ferris wheels.

However, there’s a whole other world of expos out there, ones that can instantly draw attention to one’s industry or business.

Examples are:

  • home and lifestyle expo
  • gardening expo
  • travel expo
  • jewellry expo
  • pet expo
  • food and wine expo
  • relaxation expo
  • sexpo (no need to explain this one I’m sure!)
  • boat and marine expo
  • prestige motor vehicle expo

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the drift.

The point I’m making is that there are major events for just about every subject you can think of.

And people love going to events.

One of my clients, a bamboo flooring and furniture company in regional Australia, held a “Bamboo Flooring and Furniture Expo” over a Friday and Saturday.

They booked numerous 60 second radio commercials on the local station and ran these from Wednesday through to the weekend event – and at the event catered for their visitors with snacks, wine and coffee.

The expo was an unbelievable success, with the business showcasing its flooring and furniture products to hundreds of new prospects, with sales exceeding their wildest expectations.

The expo was an incredible lead generator and because they captured the contact details of all attendees, they had the opportunity to sell to these people during the months thereafter.

It doesn’t always have to be a one, two or three day event.

You may choose to have an evening cocktail party where you’ll deliver an informative 20 minute presentation of new products and services and maybe interview the designer or inventor of the latest widget you are selling.

Or you may hold a Garden Party to create a more relaxed environment for your product launch?

At one of my seminars, I had a husband and wife speak to me about their upmarket shoe store.

They sold reasonably expensive Italian shoes for both men and women and were looking for ideas to stimulate trade.

I recommended that they consider holding a cocktail evening for the launch of their new shoe designs, providing drinks, canapés and tapers to attendees.

I suggested they feature a presentation or interview involving the designer or representative of the footwear supplier, concentrating on female shoes, which was the bulk of their sales.

The evening could take place in their store, but as space was limited, I said they should probably hire a function room at a nearby upmarket hotel or function centre.

The event could be marketed via direct mail to their databaseand to upmarket women’s business and social groups, as well as targeting surrounding upmarket suburbs with a classy invitation via letterbox distribution.

I’ve had clients who have staged a two-day weekend expo and have been blown away by the fact that they took one month’s worth of sales in just two days!

How about a Wow Dinner Event?

One of my clients namely Adphence, produces cloth mesh signage that goes around the fencing outside construction sites.

You’ve probably seen a lot ofthis signage on the fence that surrounds building sites.

The company is based on the Gold Coast in Queensland and was finding it almost impossible to get to the decision makers and major builders.

So I suggested that the company hold a “Wow Dinner Event” where prospects would be invited to a 5 star dinner at the Palazzo Versace Hotel on the Gold Coast.

Keep in mind that this invitation was laser-targeted to builders who enjoyed a large volume of construction work.

So Adphence was chasing the big end of town.

The invitation were printed on parchment paper and looked so classy, it could’ve been from Buckingham Palace!

The logic was that such an upmarket dinner event would be an irresistible drawcard to building managers -  and we were right.

The very same guys who wouldn’t take calls from Adphence were super prompt with their RSVP to this exclusive dinner invitation.

We disguised the event as one which Adphence was sponsoring as a brand building exercise and the invitation highlighted that “I” was going to be the guest presenter and would provide attendees with an insightful talk on Wow Factor Marketing.

In reality, this dinner was all about holding a Tupperware Party for Adphence and selling their products.

The evening attracted 17 businesses and resulted in record sales of cloth mesh signage!