My friend, David Phillips, shared this story with me. Our conversation centered around how people connect and the underlying neurology that enables emotional and spiritual connection between people. As he recounted the story, I marveled at the power of story to connect strangers with one another.
That Couple Came In…
Mark manages a Tiffany’s Jewelry shop. When an elderly couple came in, Mark’s team of experienced sales people recognized the couple and scattered. The couple was there to have some jewelry cleaned, which meant little chance for commission. So Mark approached the couple.
“How may I help you today?”
“We’d like some of our pieces cleaned,” replied the wife.
She took out the first piece. Mark immediately recognized it as a limited edition necklace from a few seasons prior.
“This is a beautiful piece. Is there a story behind this?”
The couple’s faces lit up.
“This was for our 45th wedding anniversary.” replied the husband. “She loved the piece, so I had to get it for her. It reminded her of where we met.”
As they moved through each piece, they recounted the special reason they had purchased the item. Mark was caught up in the sheer delight of the couple as they told their stories.
When they finished, Mark remembered a necklace from a recently released collection related to their first piece. Mark told them about it and asked if they wanted to see the new necklace.
“Please!” the husband said.
Mark brought out the necklace and handed it to the husband, who deftly put it on his wife. They all smiled as they admired the necklace. Mark noticed that the necklace was a bit short.
“Normally, it would cost an additional $300 to add the right length to this platinum chain. Since your anniversary is next month, I’ll cover the cost of lengthening the chain if you’d like to pick this up today.”
The husband immediately reached for his wallet and handed Mark his credit card.
“Yes, please. And thank you.” He said.
Mark rang up a sale over $5,000 and they each added to their stories.
Story Connects Us
When David told this story, what struck me was how Mark and the couple connected. He simply asked if there was a story behind the necklace and they told the story of their 45th wedding anniversary.
On the surface, this was a small fact. But to the couple, the necklace held deep meaning and significance. They happily shared with Mark why it meant so much.
Furthermore, Mark’s genuine interest provided the couple an interested audience. And in their brief exchange over a few minutes, Mark and the couple connected at a personal, emotional level.
Story was literally the basis for the sale. Not Mark’s attentive service. Not features and benefits. Story.
Which is how we normally connect. It’s how we build trust with complete strangers. From hearing their story. Think about it — We connect through story when we meet someone new.
“What’s your name?”
“What do you do for a living?”
We literally ask people to tell us their stories. Because exchanging our stories provides us with a way of learning about each other. It’s how we build relationships and create friendships.
Therefore, if people connect with people through story, then it makes sense, as a business owner, to share your story. It gives potential clients – complete strangers – the opportunity to get to know you. Connect with you. Learn to trust you. It’s really that simple.
And by story, I don’t mean facts and figures, features and benefits. Like the couple, it’s about sharing your love. Sharing your why! Sharing what emotionally drives you to provide the very best product that’ll change the world, or why you started that school in the middle of the Ugandan bush.
In the end, it’s not business connecting with people. It’s people connecting with people. People connecting with you.