"That's well outside my budget." "We don't want a story for this one."
When you run into common roadblocks with your clients, users, or team members, it's time consider telling an Objections Story.
Today we'll break down why you'd want to tell an Objections Story, and how to go about doing so.
The Objections Story is one of the lesser known types of stories, yet it is something that every business owner and creative should have in their back pocket.
Because I'm sure you run into the same problem with your clients time and time again. And if you're like most people, you usually resort to the facts and figures to try and argue your position.
Story allows you to speak on a more emotional level, and it allows you to bring the person who sees things differently on a journey into your world.
What is an Objections Story?
The simplest way to think of an Objection Story is that it starts with the objection and then takes the audience on a journey to a new way of thinking.
There is an age-old proven sales strategy that's known for being particularly effective at overcoming objections. This technique works so well because it leverages several storytelling principles.
The technique is called Feel, Felt, Found. The premise is to start by restating that you understand how the other person is feeling, then bring in an example of somebody else who has also felt that way, and then end with what you've found worked well for them.
For example, if your clients often have an issue with your preference to tell stories over including a ton of facts and figures, the Feel, Felt, Found strategy could sound something like this:
"I understand Mrs Client that you feel that story may not be the best way to approach this project. We did a campaign launch for a large nonprofit that really needed to ensure what we created delivered results, and they too felt that story might not be the right approach with so much riding on the piece. However, what we found was that by intentionally creating a story, we could connect their audience to the cause in a much more emotional way— and they ended up exceeding their 36-mo fundraising goal inside the first year!"
In many ways, the Objections Story works much like Feel, Felt, Found. You want to make sure you're identifying the objection, and then take them on a journey of somebody overcoming that objection to achieve great results.
Through the story itself, they feel this new way of thinking, and you've got a much greater chance that they'll change their position.
We asked Siouxsie, our director of operations, to put together an Objections Story from her own life. She chose to tell the story of the massive objections she got around dropping everything–including her long career at Disney–to find something new that challenged her.
How To Tell An Objections Story
So your first step is to identify the objection you are trying to overcome. Write that down and make sure it's super clear.
In Siouxsie's story above, the objection was that it was too late for her to make such a massive change in her life.
One of the most critical decisions when telling an Objections Story is to find the right character for the story. You're looking for somebody who once HAD the same Objections, and then went on a journey and achieved something different.
Sometimes, as is the case with Siouxsie, you can tell the Objection Story from your perspective— where you are the character. But most of the time it will be one of your clients, or somebody else you've worked with, that is your character and perspective. You can also make amazing Objections Stories by using historical references. For example, if somebody has failed and wants to give up, you could use the story of 3M's failed adhesive and how long it took for that to become what we know today as the post-it note.
So step one is to define the objection and choose a character that will be the basis of your story.
You've already got your Conflict (it's the objection you're trying to overcome), and now you have your character. The beginning of your Objection Story quite simply starts by stating the objection that you're facing, and then bringing in this other person— your character— and the moment they ran into that same conflict.
As the person you're sharing this with is already familiar with the conflict, you don't need to spend as much time here as you normally might.
The journey is the critical part with the Objections Story. You want to find 2-3 moments that happened along the way. Remember, these are points that happened in pursuit of a solution, so they shouldn't give away the answer.
In Siouxsie's story, the journey is really quite simple: she takes us into the moment she told her parents she wanted to change, she recaps everything she had at that point, and then takes us into making the actual change.
Note how Siouxsie really embraced Place in that first Plot Point.
"Sitting in the same spot on that faded maroon leather couch I’d sat for most of my 45 years.
Dad is sitting in his broken down recliner, sipping his nightly vodka tonic out of a red solo cup completely fixated on the golf tournament that’s on TV."
The humanity of your story lies in its specificity.
The last part of your story is then the Resolution and Jab. As this is an Objections Story, the Resolution has to be the solution that was found—the new way of thinking.
It's your client that went over budget and got amazing results. Or the client who embraced story and achieved a much larger return on their piece.
Having a powerful Resolution is pretty critical to the effectiveness of your entire story. So look to find the strongest Resolution possible, and also really look to amplify it in how you present the story—whether out loud or in a video.
In Siouxsie's story, she found a letter her dad had written her and chose to share that. Hearing his own words and how his opinion had changed really makes us feel the Resolution much more.
And finally, the last point in your story is the Jab— the final take-away or call to action. In this type of story, this is your opportunity to ask for whatever objection you are trying to overcome: the larger budget, the creative freedom, etc.
We all face tons of common objections with our clients. Take the time to create an Objection Story to help them see things another way.