How do you make sure your seminar, prospect, whoever, stays with you right to the end? It’s too easy for them to drift off and losing your audience is costly. Missed that order? Ouch. Not making it memorable so they didn’t phone you, but called your competitor? Double ouch.

When you’re gone, how do you know they’ve remembered your deal and that they want to know more?

You don’t want to leave anything out

You want to give a complete presentation of your idea or product, there and then, deal with questions and objections and then leave triumphantly with an order. But it doesn’t always work out that way. You can do all of that, and still not get the order.

Perhaps some counterintuitive thinking may help.

5 steps to build a story

Stories are always more memorable, so build a good story.

First, create a mystery. What odd aspect of your service or product would make your audience pause, as you illustrate an unusual application of your offering? Create it as if it were a question. “Did you expect that this material for drying your car can be used in the home?”

Then, deepen the mystery. Give some more information on your odd fact, showing its unusual application. “It is often used in place of a towel, to dry yourself.”

Next, start describing the proper explanation by considering alternatives, and discounting them. “My customer could have used a normal solution, but she didn’t because…..she wanted to get the moisture out of the bathroom and a wet towel doesn’t do that” That leaves a question in the listener’s mind – why did she want the moisture out?

Pause – I’ll explain why later.

Resolve the mystery. “She used it like that because it was the only solution that ensures excess water gets drained away so mould production in the bathroom is minimised ”

Show the implications, which may involve some customer benefits, for example. “Other people have used it in different ways, (show case studies) so it is flexible to fit your needs, and we can help you get the result you need. Which is another good time to ask about their needs, and show how you can help them.

Why it works

This approach gets your audience involved in the fine points, because, like a good detective story, to understand the climax, they must know the details.

That helps you to keep attention and gets more of your story remembered than your competitors.

Keep them wanting more

But there’s more, and it relies on the Zeigarnik effect. It means ending your story too soon. This works because we seek closure and then move on, scrubbing our short-term memory for the next task.

Use with care – don’t leave important points out. It needs practice. Maybe use it as you resolve the mystery. Wait until you know you’ve got someone’s full attention before you give them the resolution, then wait a bit longer for them to absorb it before you share the implications with them, which will naturally fit with their situation.