Michael Lewis has penned numerous best-selling books, including The Big Short, Flash Boys and Moneyball. In a recent interview with University of Pennsylvania Professor Adam Grant, also a best-selling author, Lewis shared several keys to exceptional story telling that can help kitchen and bath showroom professionals better connect with their clients and prospects.
Rule 1: Great storytellers understand that people will listen to those who can tell interesting stories about themselves. Lesson for kitchen and bath showrooms. You have great stories to tell. Think about the hundreds of projects that you worked on. Some are enriching. Some are hilarious and others could be sad. Your projects make for great characters. Use these stories to connect and help your clients visualize what a new kitchen or bath might look and feel like.
Rule 2: Develop your observation skills. Take the time to notice what goes on around you and your projects. Take the time to visit sites and better understand what it is like to live in a construction zone without a totally functional place to cook, eat or congregate.
Rule 3: Pay attention to the way you tell the stories of your projects. Do you always relate problems? The best story tellers, claims Lewis, are those who focus on the positives such as how much joy their clients have experienced because they have improved their homes and in doing so improved the quality of their lives.
Rule 4: Use contradictory evidence to make your stories more memorable. Lewis says don’t be afraid to see the complexity. This could involve relating stories about some of the more out- there characters who you have to work with and for. Your stories need to have characters who interest your prospective clients.
Rule 5: If you tell stories about characters that people want to follow, they will follow those characters anywhere. In Moneyball, Lewis was able to create such a compelling story about Billy Bean that even those who don’t like baseball were captivated by the game’s statistics. Lewis states that you have to be very alive to the situation in which the character finds themselves. For your clients, that should not be difficult because the situation causes a certain degree of uncomfortableness. Tell compelling stories of how your clients successfully dealt with an ongoing renovation in their home, how they ate, how they prepared meals, how they socialized, how they addressed dust, dirt and strangers in their home. There are great stories to be told.
Rule 6: Tell stories that demonstrate your passion and interest in a project. People don’t want to be sold. That’s why it is so incredibly important to find out what motivated your clients to visit the showroom to discuss a new kitchen, bath or other room in the house. Passionate people are unstoppable. When you demonstrate passion and interest, it becomes apparent to your clients that you are concerned first and foremost with their well-being.
Rule 7: Don’t try to be perfect. Your stories don’t have to be Pulitzer prize worthy. They have to be authentic and yes, they need to be rehearsed so that the message you send is consistent and natural.
Rule 8: Be yourself. Customers can spot a phony a mile away.
Rule 9: Take the time to be brief. There’s a parable from the philosopher Pascal who apologized for the length of a letter explaining he did not have time to be brief. You want to make sure that you demonstrate that you value your customers’ time. That will help you to explain the importance of upfront planning to help prevent the unexpected or mitigate consequences when surprises occur.