David Ogilvy was one of the first big advertising guys to prove that storytelling (a full page worth of small-font text) sold extremely well.

When we think of story-based advertising, we often think of those mile-long internet sales letters, or slick ads in niche-market magazines. But these two examples show the unmatched power of storytelling even in art and flea market sales.

In this first example, Chris Tyrell tells a story about an artist who tested storytelling as a sales technique:

The artist I interviewed conducted an experiment by offering the same artwork (an etching) for sale on two different websites. She provided two dramatically different stories about the piece on each site: one story was extremely poignant while the other was mundane. The piece with the compelling emotional story attached to it sold for almost double the price of the same piece that was described in cool, unemotional and technical terms.

Chris goes on to provide other examples and the one that struck me most was an Ebay experiment, where a group took items purchased at thrift stores and flea markets and then put them up for sale on Ebay… with a good story attached.

What they discovered was that $128 worth of second-hand purchases netted them $3600 on Ebay – simply by attaching a story to each piece. Here’s an example of what they did…

The took this wooden animal figure,  purchased for 75 cents at a thrift store:

When they listed it along with this story on Ebay, it sold for $108.50!!

I must say, they also made sure that the photos of each object were good ones – presentation helps!

So how can you work more storytelling into your business, products, or service?

So many people are hesitant to tell their personal stories – either thinking they’re not that interesting, not wanting to boast, or simply not feeling comfortable sharing their private details. So if you can’t tell your own stories, find other ones to tell. Or tell a story about something you read or heard about. As long as it’s interesting, or moving, that’s all you need.

soar higher,