Storyselling with Michael Hauge

Which one’s more powerful way to present your product:

1) Amazing new software which builds landing pages.

2) “I’ve used this new software to create a landing page which finally allowed me to leap over the technical barriers and start building my list. I then emailed my list daily and made my first commission online!”

You guessed it…

2nd approach is 10X more powerful.

Why?

Because it does what all well-told stories do – elicits emotion.

And emotion, my little droggling, sells!

Would you like to discover how to tell emotion-eliciting stories about your product in 6 easy steps?

P.S. Claim your 6-step story selling report here.

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“One thing to realize, it doesn't matter what you're marketing. It doesn't matter what your product or service is and so on. What you primarily are is a professional problem solver. That's what everyone pays money. Every dollar that's ever been exchanged, has been money given to someone in the hopes they would solve a problem that the buyer had.”

Hi, my name is Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, the only podcast
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Igor: Welcome back to another edition of the List Building Lifestyle with your host, Igor Kheifets. Michael Hague is one of the Hollywood's top story experts script consultants and authors. He now uses the principles of blockbuster storytelling to help entrepreneurs, consultants, and business leaders with their speeches, articles, and marketing emails. Michael has presented seminars, lectures, and key notes in person and online to more than 70,000 participants worldwide. According to Will Smith, who Michael has done extensive work with, no one is better than Michael Hague at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story. Michael, thank you so much for being here today.

Michael: Oh, it's my pleasure. I'm looking forward to it.

Igor: I'm just curious. Before we dive into the whole storytelling bit, how did you end up going from working in Hollywood with Will Smith, to teaching this Hollywood blockbuster style storytelling to internet marketers like us?

Michael: Well I'd like to say I had a brilliant idea and decided to do it, but it wasn't like that. It was Russell Bronson and Daegon Smith who are two top internet marketers, many of your listeners might know of, were having a conference and Daegon in particular was interested in story and he had seen a video I did called The Hero's 2 Journeys, really liked it, contacted me and said would I be willing to come and talk to their conference. I did and that was very well received, and I started meeting and consulting with internet marketers. Then when Daegon told Andre Chaperon, another top internet marketer about working with me, then Andre brought me on board to coach him, and out of that and my saying, "We should do something together." We did a webinar together and then that led to a lot more work and a lot more involvement with people doing emails, internet marketing stories in different contexts, getting testimonials and so on. So I just sort of expanded into it accidentally, but then the more I did the more I found that what I brought to the party, what my experience in Hollywood had been proved to very helpful to internet marketers in sharpening their story skills.

Igor: Alright. Just in case anyone listening isn't as experienced in the marketing in general. Can you perhaps go into detail as far as like what does a story bring to the table when it comes to influence and sales and marketing? What is an authentic story, what can it do to your business or for your business, if you learn how to tell it right?

Michael: Yeah. I think there are several advantages to using story. One is, when you tell stories, especially if you're telling a personal story about yourself and say how you made use of the product that you're marketing how you got involved with internet marketing or how you overcame a particular problem you had, that creates a much stronger connection between you and your audience or you and your potential buyers. It's also a great way to add credibility to what you're saying, because we tend to add credence to things that we hear about that have actually happened. In fact even if they haven't, even in fictional context we might believe more strongly that something would be advantageous. In other words, if it's a choice between sayings, "Well I have this diet program and here are the calorie counts and here are the statistics and here's the data about it." If that's one option and the other option is to tell us a story about someone who used that product and actually lost weight and how that changed their life, and the lives of their family, I think the story is going to be much more powerful. But the last reason, and I think this is critical is, the primary goal of any story is to elicit emotion. This is what Hollywood knows better than anyone, because that's why they're so successful. That's why Hollywood generates about ten billion dollars a year in box office. Plus all the other money they make. It's because they know how to create an emotional experience. When you tell a good story in the internet marketing context, you are actually giving your reader the emotional experience of using your product or working with you if you're a consultant or using your system or going to your website, or membership site or whatever it is, because we identify with the character who's the hero of that story. We become them psychologically and so as they go through the process that you've outlined, we as the listener, as the reader are going through that same process. So instead of saying this is what it will be like to use this product, subconsciously they're feeling like they already have in a way they've already had the success that the character in your story has had.

Igor: Interesting. Well you know here's what I'm wondering. We've all heard all these rags to riches stories. "I've been a bum, I've been on the street, and I lived in a cardboard box near dumpster. Now I'm a billionaire. I wrote a book. I'm the bestselling author. I make millions of dollars online." Wouldn't you say that byte by now everyone sick of stories? Like everyone tells them, and it looks like everyone's got one. So wouldn't people find it boring and just unattractive at this point, listening to more of the stories?

Michael: Well it depends how good the story is because you could say the same thing about movies, let's say. How many times have we seen movies about cops who have to stop killers? How many times have we seen movies about two people in a romantic
comedy who fall in love and then end up together at the end? It's not the type of story it is that either holds our interest or loses our interest. It's the specific details and how well that story is told. But there's another element to keep in mind. You're talking about one particular kind of story. Not just rags to riches, but it's what I call a signature story, it's an autobiographical story. It's saying like you say, "I was scraping by in a horrible job. I longed to quit it. I found this system for making money on the internet. I did that and now I'm piling in the dough." Okay, that's fine. That's a good story to have in your arsenal of stories, because it is about you. It does give you credibility, etc. But the kind of story I think is not used as much as it could be in the internet world in my experience, and is a very powerful story, is what I call a success story or what some people refer to as a case study. In other words the story about someone else who used your product or worked with you or your system, and they solved whatever their problem was by using that, and you're telling the story of how they went through that experience. How they took that journey, and if that journey or that desire they had is close to the desire of your marketplace, then it's going to give them an emotional experience, as I said before. Now
you're hearing a much wider variety of stories, than just stories that are always about me, me, me if you're the market.

Igor: Interesting, but what if we don't have a success story? Because many of my listeners are getting into the home-based business space and they're just trying to get
some results, some of them do, some of them don't. So I would guess I assume the lowest common denominator is folks who started six months ago, still have had no success, generated no down line and they're kind of stumbling right now. How do I tell my story? How do I bring my message to the world?

Michael: Yeah, well my advice in that situation is don't tell your story, because you might not have had success yet as an internet marketer. But I assume you're marketing something. It's a product, let's say. Let's say you’re an affiliate for a product. Then there are people who have used that product and achieved success with it, or more to the point have solved their problem with it. See, one thing to realize it doesn't matter what you’re marketing, it doesn't matter what your product or service is, and so on. What you primarily are is a professional problem solver. That's what everyone pays money. Every dollar that's ever been exchanged has been money given to someone in the hopes they would solve a problem that the buyer had. So the problem could be anything from, "I need more money." to, "I have a medical condition that I want to get rid of." to, "I don't know how to pick up women." to, "I want to find true love." to, "I want to know how to collect valuable figurines." But they always have a problem, and you're saying, "I know how to solve your problem, with this." So don't so much worry about whether you've
been a success. Look to the people who've been successful with the product you're selling, or with the method, or with the computer program or the internet marketing program. Now, if the product you're selling has not already proven successful with other people, then the question becomes well why are you marketing it? Why is it of value to anyone you're selling to? So if you're developing a new internet marketing program that you want to sell to people, until you've used that program with enough people that you can get some case studies and get some success stories, then it isn't ready to start selling yet. But I'm assuming anybody that's listening to this who is actually trying to market something, is in good faith marketing something that you know has proven successful in the past. So just find out the stories of the people who've been successful with it and tell their story.

Igor: That's a great advice not the first time I heard it and it definitely sounded that it works for me early on, when I did not have my own success to tell people about. So let's get into specifics that. How do you tell a story? How does a newbie tell a story in a way where it lands?

Michael: Yeah, well a newbie to immensely experienced, I mean when I've coached highly successful internet marketers it's the same exact process. I've reduced the
process. I took the principles of Hollywood movies in the stories I've been working on for decades, and I sort of pared them down to their essentials and broke it into six steps.
What I call the six simple steps of success stories, and if you take the hero of your story through these six steps, then it will be a successful story and then it's just a matter of perfecting it or polishing it up in terms of style. But let's go through the six steps. The first thing before we have the six steps, is you've got to identify who is the hero of the story. Now, by hero I just mean the main character. Who is the person who had the problem that this product solved? A hero is not someone who is heroic. A hero is someone who may become heroic in the course of the story, but this is an everyday person. This is an everyday person who had a problem that is shared by your avatar, sort of speaks, shared by your potential buyer, by your marketplace. So you identify who is that specific person. It shouldn't be a group, it shouldn’t be some collective of some kind it. It should be about masses of people and giving data. It's one person. Okay, you identify that person and then you take them through these six steps. These steps are the in the order they appear in the story. So the first thing you do. Let's start out by saying the first paragraph, let's say as you start developing your story, is what I call the set up. That means at the beginning of the story you need to describe your hero and paint a
picture of your hero living his everyday life. What was his life like before anything new happened to him? What was he dealing with, how was he kind of stuck in his life? So let's take a hypothetical product. Let's say this is about someone who wants to make more money. You have a product that you think is going to help someone increase their cash flow. Okay, so the set up for this character could be someone who's struggling to pay the bills, or who is stuck in a dead end job, or who is unhappy, or the basic issue they're dealing with is that they just can't make ends meet or they want a better life for themselves and their family. But you paint that picture and you always paint that picture in some way that's going to show the character in conflict that they are either a victim in some way so we feel sorry for them, or they're in jeopardy. They're about to lose their job or they're about to lose their home, if we're talking about money and so on. Because if we feel sorry for someone, or if we worry about someone or even if they're just a very
good hearted person who's trying to help a family member get through something, or trying to raise money to put their daughter through college, then we will empathize. Then you create that psychological connection. So that's the first step. Second step is, what I call the crisis. Out of that everyday life something had to happen to this person you're writing about that got them moving that shook up their world. It could be a bad thing, like the loss of a job or a foreclosure notice, or a massive bill, past due taxes, whatever it is, but something that moves them from the stuck state into the realization. "I've got to do something. I've got to make X. amount of dollars." In response to that crisis, part of that step is to say this happened and then what they're going to do is they're going to look for some solution to that problem some method of achieving that goal. So they're looking around out. Now this if you’re, let's say you are marketing a program or a process to help them make money, the thing they will eventually find is the product that they purchase. The product you're selling. So the crisis was, I got a passed due tax bill and I've got to raise ten grand and I tried and tried to figure out how and then I discovered that here was this program where I could make $10,000 in a
reasonable amount of time by using an internet marketing technique if that's what you're selling. Okay, so then when they have found what they think is the solution to the
problem, or they found the solution that is your product. Now they move to step three, which is pursuit. They have a specific goal that you've defined very definitively, in this case I said $10,000, but it could be anything. It could be, "I want to find the man of my dreams." or, "I want to lose twenty pounds or 3% body fat." or whatever. So that specific goal is something they're going after but they're using your product to pursue it. So here you describe in a bit of detail what the process of using your product is like, and I
think this is one way that stories often come up short. Their story says person was broke. They desperately needed something, they discovered my money making program and then the story jumps too, "and six weeks later they were rich." But that doesn't give someone emotional experience of using your products, so what you say is, "So they started using the product, and they did this, and then they took this step, and then they took this." Now you don't lay out every step of the process or everything the product does, but at least a couple of instances or a couple of examples of things that the person your case study or success story had to do to get there. So the person listening to this has a sense of all what's going to happen, what do I have to do if I buy this product? Step four that goes sort of goes concurrently with that is the conflict because as they're pursuing the goal, they're going to face obstacles. This is also something a lot of storytellers or marketers think they should avoid. Like you don't want to make people think it's going to be difficult or you don’t want to make them think that there's going to be hurdles to overcome. I disagree with that because if I'm listening to an ad, and somebody says they bought my product and they sat back on their couch and six weeks later they were rich, I'm not going to believe that. I'm not going to believe anything is that easy. I want to hear what are some of the obstacles the character faced and you want to say what those are, because then you're going to say how your product help them overcome those obstacles. Now the obstacle could be part of the process, it could be somebody who's discouraging them. How do you overcome the spouse or the in-law
or the friend who says you're crazy to do this or whatever? But whatever that obstacle was, you're going to reveal that conflict and show how they were able to overcome it. Okay? Now step five is simply the climax of your story. It's that specific moment when the person has $10,000 in their bank account. It's the moment when they find true love or get a proposal or when they have lost the weight or whatever the goal is. You just have to specifically say, "At that moment this happened" so your buyer, your potential buyer gets to experience that moment of success. Then, and this is maybe of all of these steps the most important to include. Step six is what I call the aftermath, and what I mean by that is you need to paint a picture of the new life this person is living, having gone on this journey, having used your product. So it's not enough just to say, "And there was the $10,000." Then you want to say, "And six months later or four years later, he attended his daughter's graduation or three months later he was able to take his daughter for her first day at her new college." Or whatever it is. "They got a letter that everything was satisfied by the IRS and now they're able to start saving money using the same product and having more time together or able to take a vacation or whatever it might be.” But you want to show the rewards of having used the product, and here's the critical thing, whatever those rewards are, you want those to match what your potential buyer wishes for. So they wish that they could run a marathon if they could just lose enough weight. They wish that they could have a nice vacation to Disney World or whatever it might be, so paint the picture of your success story, living a life that you think will be the life that is dreamed of by your buyer that would be something that the buyer
would love to do or represents the kind of freedom or success or whatever your buyer wants. And really that's it. If you just go through those six beats with the story, you will have included all the essential elements that you need to, and then it's a process of just writing it in an effective way. The way to do that is just tell it in your own words. You're having a conversation with your potential buyer. Don't worry about making it sound formal or exotic or literary or big words or anything like that. Those all work against you. This is you telling an every day a story about an everyday person and how their life was changed. So don't get caught up in, "I don't know how to write, I was not great in school." You know how to tell a story, you've been doing it your whole life; just put it in words that work for you. If there's one added tip about that, when you're telling the story go into some detail. Give a detailed description of the character, a detailed description of what the steps were that the character took, but that's really it. It truly is that simple. It's just one, two, three, four, five, six, you outline what each of those steps are, and then you turn that into a story a flow and you've got it.

Igor: What would you say to anyone who thinks that their stories too boring to be told?

Michael: There's one of two things going on. Either you're wrong, it's not boring, but if you're worried about that or if it might be boring, it means you haven't put in enough conflict. Conflict is what elicits emotion. So that means, in your set up when you describe the character, you haven't painted a picture of them facing enough conflict. Or the crisis they faced is not big enough or does not sound difficult enough to overcome. And as they're going through the steps, when it comes to that conflict stage, you haven't put in
enough obstacles that sound difficult that the character will then overcome to hold our interest.

Igor: Are you sure it's not going to scare people off? Like telling them how difficult it was?

Michael: I didn't say how difficult. You don't want to make it sound like it's so difficult that they're not going to be able to do it. What you want to just say is, "And while they were pursuing the goal, this occurred that they didn't expect." Or "There was this one
particular hurdle that they had to overcome." Or "Someone was discouraging towards them." Or, "They didn't think they were able to do it, but then using this process or using this product, they found that they were able to do it, because of XYZ." "They never thought that they would be able to change their diet and cut meat out of their diet, but then when they started using the recipes that the diet program provides, they found that they were actually tastier than a lot of the meat dishes they used to have and the more they got into it the more they were enjoying the menus that were provided." So it's not like you want to make it sound like an ordeal to go through the process, you wanted to sound like it's something that's doable and enjoyable and you make progress with. I'm just saying don't make it sound so easy, that nobody buys your sales pitch, because in real life we know nothing comes that easy. There's always going to be some obstacles to overcome.

Igor: So don't make it sound as if it's too good to be true. Too easy.

Michael: Exactly, exactly.

Igor: Got it, alright, cool. So guys, if you want to work with Mike and have him consult you on your story go ahead and head over to storyselling.com. Did I get this right? storyselling.com?

Michael: Well that's if you want to get the webinar are that I did with Andre. Here though I have to review or see in a lot more detail what I just said. I have a free e-book I've created, and it's called Success Stories in Six Simple Steps and it talks about both the case study and the signature story, the autobiographical story. You can get that for free, just go to my website which is storymastery.com/Igor and that way you'll have a click and you can get this free, download of this is a e-book that will go into much more detail
than I was able to do here about those six steps. Then from there on then you can go on to, if you want to going to greater depth, go to the webinar I was talking about or they'll be other possibilities. What I'd encourage you to do is start with this freebie, because that will take you through this process and you'll have it right in front of you so you can
refer to it as you're creating your story.

Igor: Sweet. So, to get the guide, the free six step guide to telling your story in the Hollywood way, make sure you head over to storymastery.com/Igor. At same website
you can get more information about Mike and how you can work with him on a private level, for him to consult you on your story. I believe it could be one of the greatest investments you could make in yourself or your business; because that's the story you're going to be telling pretty much for the rest of your life as far as I'm concerned. I know
that I'm still telling stories from way, way, way back when I started, and these are the most influential storiesin my arsenal of tools. So Mike, thank you so much for sitting down with us today and it appreciate you sharing all this, I mean just gold. This is gold. I'm going to listen to the recording right now, right after we're done recording this.

Michael: And go get your free copy as well. So you can do that. I assume you're going to post somewhere on the notes what that link is, so people can go to that site.

Igor: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Michael: I will look forward to hearing everybody, and thank you so much. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Igor: Dude, I took so many notes, you have no idea. Even after studying the story selling, I still did like a full page worth of notes. So Mike, again, thank you. And until next time we talk, have a good one.

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Who Is Igor Kheifets

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Igor’s passionate about sharing up-to-date traffic & conversion strategies that work with beginners who want to make six figures while traveling the world full time.

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