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Adrian Archie

How Storytelling Can Lead to Loyal Customers and Increased Sales

Research shows stories stick in the brain longer than data.




I WAS ON THE SALES floor one day when a longtime customer walked in. She picked up her monthly bag of food and grabbed raw goat milk as well as a bully stick. I smiled (underneath my mask) because my staff excels at getting regular food customers to always buy something more. And to do so without using specials or promotions.

Storytelling has been the key to this success.

In my past career as a medical device salesperson, I utilized storytelling to drive customer behavior. It works well as it’s not pushy, and inexperienced team members don’t find it intimidating to try.

Consider it for your store if not already in use, keeping these elements in mind:

Make it personal. A good story has a main character, the problem the character faces, and the product that will help that character solve the problem. Sharing why I give my pets raw goat milk is one of my favorites because goat milk is a highly nutritious addition to any diet, there is low competition in my area, and it brings pet parents back more often. Tell your own stories and have staff share amongst themselves, so you have a bank of stories.

Be real. Stories heighten imagination and can influence buying behavior, but the goal should be to help. In order to do that, you must give good information, and that requires honesty. Good storytelling can help increase profits, but dishonest storytelling will come across as false and do the opposite.


Know your goal. Ours is to increase add-on sales of toppers and broths because those products pair well with food and can also become regular purchases. So our stories include why we use toppers in our own pets’ diets. For instance, I never experience picky eater problems because my pets have always been fed a high-quality diet, but I also use toppers because variety helps increase digestive health. Match stories to goals.

Keep it simple. Always be brief and use common words anyone can understand. Try to avoid giving a lot of data and numbers because most customers won’t retain them. One of my team members had a pet with severe skin issues. She relays the emotion she felt while facing and then solving the problem naturally. Any customer going through the same experience will identify with her and be influenced by the recommendation.

Encourage action. Do not waste a good story by leaving the customer to shop on their own. Solidify the story with a recommendation. If it involves goat milk, take a moment to grab a bottle out of the freezer while telling the story, so the customer can begin to associate the product with their problem and use their imagination.

Research shows that storytelling activates many more regions of the brain than data. Everybody loves a good story, and stories stick in the memory, where they can drive behavior. In sales, it’s all about making the story personal to you and ultimately your customer. Focus more on honest storytelling than selling, and watch your revenue and customer loyalty grow!



P.L.A.Y. Media Spotlight

At P.L.A.Y. — Pet Lifestyle & You — toy design is definitely a team effort! Watch PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita and P.L.A.Y.’s Director of Sales Lisa Hisamune as they talk about the toy design process, the fine-tuning that makes each toy so special and why every P.L.A.Y. collection is made with independent retailers top of mind.

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