Why and How Simple Storytelling Compels Buyers to Act – by Babette Ten Haken

Simple storytelling takes a lot of honesty: with ourselves, our employees and our clients.

In addition, crafting a simple story involves introspection as well as insight. Consequently, there’s a lot of work involved in determining the best – and most simple – way to tell your story to the world.

And it is worth it.

You see, telling a simple story about a customer’s success is far more believable – and compelling – to clients than describing an action-packed success story. For starters, the more action you cram into the story, the more the story becomes all about your company and your product’s features and benefits.

And when you go there, your client’s attention goes elsewhere.

Seriously, just how much can you promise to deliver to a client? Even if they want it all, it is up to you, as a leader of worth, to create reasonable and feasible expectations regarding the outcome of working with you.

Are you up to the challenge?

As a result, the most effective simple storytelling is told in the customer’s own voice.

Every company has its own, unique corporate anthropology, history and context. Make sure your story captures your company’s soul and your clients’ imagination.

Consider that buying decisions involve groups of people, each with different concerns, all representing a single brand and a value proposition. Utilizing a story voice incorporating Voice of the Customer, design-based insights draws current and prospective buyers into the story being told. Why? Because the story sounds familiar when it is told in their own voices.

Keep in mind that historically and anthropologically, people gathered around campfires to share stories about what they observed. First, they heard the story. Then, they discussed their perspectives. Finally, they pondered interpretations and reached a decision about the story’s significance to their own lives.

Now, today’s buyers sit around business tables, instead of camp fires. They share similar and differing views regarding whether, or not, to purchase based on that story’s implications. Simple storytelling once again easily enables today’s buyers to continuously gain insights from each other’s observations. Why? Because the story’s insights act as a guide for their conversation and deliberation.

Depending on where you sit around that business table, today’s buyers may see the same things, but in different ways. As a result, simple storytelling tells buyers the same story, using each of their distinctive voices.

  • First, does your storytelling and demand gen strategy utilize simple storytelling?
  • Then, do you weave the continuum of buyers’ voices into the story’s fabric?
  • Finally, is trust generated that catalyzes prospective clients to subsequently decide to do business with you?
Compelling, simple storytelling speaks to the clients’ hearts.

When you are in sync with the heartbeat of buyers, you showcase the reason why a decision maker reads your content, listens to your stories and, consequently, decides to engage with you in business. Success stories are not just all about data, facts and proof of concept.

Simple storytelling humanizes your technology and not only makes buyers extrapolate future outcomes. When your success story connects with end users, including the folks on the plant floor all the way to the C-Suite, you allow decision makers and influencers to see themselves within the context of the story being told.

When simple storytelling catalyzes buyers to dream, then they start to buy into your story.

What type of stories to you tell clients? Isn’t it time to improve their outcomes, for both you as well as your clients?


Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist, speaker and coach focused on customer success for customer retention in the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring, developing and implementing teams of collaborative technical, engineering, sales and business professionals. She serves manufacturing- and engineering- intensive companies, catalyzing teams to create enduring business outcomes. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and her book, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Find out more about how working with Babette can bring business and revenue to your company at http://babettetenhaken.com.


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