You are not judged by what you say. You are judged by what the other person hears. That’s one reason why you should become a great storyteller. Stories help you get your point across better than any other form of communication. Stories stir emotions. They resonate. They let people know who you are. As an added benefit, everybody loves a great story and everybody loves a great storyteller. 

If you patiently explain to a prospect what he or she must do to be financially successful, you are only half done. Your prospect is not as interested in your facts as you are. It doesn’t matter how right you are. People don’t want numbers. They want to know who you are. They want someone they can trust. You are not teaching night school—you are trying to forge a long-term relationship founded on trust. As you are explaining the numbers, they are deciding if they like you.  As you come to the end of your remarks, they are deciding if they trust you. If they like you and trust you and think you are smart, you get the account. Fail on any of those three fronts and you can talk all night, but you won’t get the account.  It’s not easy, but it is simple.

There are all kinds of stories you might want to learn, but none are as important as your personal story. Turn what you do and why you do it into a story. Who are you? Can I trust you? Are you from around here? If not, how long have you lived here? What are your values? Are you committed to your profession? Are you honest?

Obviously, people have to make decisions based upon what you told them. Putting your information into story form makes it easier for them to recall what you said. Our business is dry and stories put fun into what we are saying.  Nobody wants a lecture on ‘Stock Market 101’ or ‘The Inside Scoop on Variable Annuities.’ 

Good stories stir up emotions and decisions are emotional. Deciding to retain a financial advisor and embark on a long-term mission is not a practical thing. It is an emotional thing. The thought process may be a logical process 95 percent of the way, but the final act is emotional. 

As the Heath brothers say in Made to Stick, your ideas become memorable when you make them simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional and put them in story form. You want your ideas to stick. When mom and dad sit with you for the first time, it is a job interview for you. You don’t want them walking out saying to each other that you were nice enough, but they didn’t understand you very well. You want them saying to each other that they loved the story you just told them. They loved the fact that you asked them questions they could answer. They loved the fact that you made the unfamiliar and they loved the fact that you made them feel at home. You want to be the one they can’t forget. You want to be the one who makes the complicated simple.

Don Connelly is a speaker, motivator and educator for financial advisors. If you want to ignite your performance, be sure to check learning center and follow Don Connelly & Associates on twitter - @DonConnelly.