How Stories become Sales | Podcast S3E9

I get it – you have tons of stories from your life – but you see ZERO connection to them and your business. You can’t quite figure out how to leverage all your lived and learned stories to grow your revenue and attract more customers and clients. 

This episode of Permission to Leap is going to explain HOW stories work to attract and maintain clients and how they are the secret ingredient that most miss. Here I’ll talk about how to simplify your approach to storytelling and how to identify if and when ‘you’re doing it right’. 

Specifically, in this show, we will talk about: 

  • The science of storytelling and how stories activate parts of our brain that other messaging cannot reach 
  • Which forms of storytelling activate the Know-Like-Trust factor faster
  • How to overlay a story onto your launch or sales calendar so prospects and clients feel seen, supported and engaged 

The Science of Storytelling blog post

For more visit: 



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Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript is auto generated and is nowhere near perfect. There will be typos and weird words in the transcription. It will however, serve as a guide to the contents of the episode.

Welcome to. I think this is part two of a two part series. We’re digging into. How stories convert to sales. So, if you’re just jumping in on this episode, I actually recommend you pause this here and go back to the previous episode where we talk about the three stories you need to master in business. Because today we’re going to take it one step further.

And we’re going to talk about how, like actually how those stories work to turn into sales, because you know, my philosophy is I’m going to tell you the, what. To do. But also how. Because when you understand how something works, that’s where you start to develop. Flex and muscle. So today on the show, we’re going to talk about.

The science of storytelling, the know like trust factor and what that really means for you. As you head out into the world to create content.

By the way I’m Erin Trafford. And this is permission to leap the show for creative entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to understand content strategy. Learn from a pro and unlock the power of story. To fuel their growth, get ready to leap into being bold and strategic and pushing the boundaries of what you think and believe is possible for you in this.

Digital content world. Welcome. Welcome. I’m just so stinking happy you’re here. Okay. So today’s episode is loosely called how stories become sales and this, you know, I get why this is a hangup for so, so many business owners, because listen, it’s complex. It’s hard to understand. And why is it hard to understand it’s because it actually.

Calls on us to think about how we think and how we feel. And those things are not easy to do those. Aren’t the things that normal people wake up in the morning with a cup of coffee. And they’re like, I’m going to think about how I think today. I’m going to think about how I feel today. Most of us don’t want to do that work. So, you know,

I jokingly say that that’s where the philosophers came from. And, you know, I have a specialist degree in philosophy that for the longest time I thought was totally unusable and was a big waste of my time. But look where it got me, it got me to the point where. In some respects, the modern content strategist.

The modern storyteller truly is a philosopher in the sense that we sit and think about how do we think we sit and think about how do we feel and how do we best communicate that? So let me be that conduit for you today. And I’m going to open up my storytelling brain. And in part on you, some of the, how this is working right? Last episode, we talked about the three stories about you, about ware and about what.

And like I said off the top, if you haven’t listened to that yet, please. Take permission. Pause me here. Go back to the last episode and have a listen. But if you listen to that and you’re ready for more, let’s dive in today. I want to talk about the science behind storytelling, because a lot. There’s a, there’s a feared.

Majority or minority, I’m not sure. Of folks I work with who, who just want to see a visual of how a story. I told converts into a positive experience and there’s science to back it up. So, you know, I’m not a neuroscience scientist. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the podcast. No, I also don’t do that.


Here’s where I’m going to break down that science for you in case you’re really struggling to understand what this all means. And I want to also today talk about this buzz phrase. I mean, I don’t even know if we can call it a buzz phrase anymore. It’s just so ubiquitous, but. This concept of know, like, and trust, because here’s the thing is that there are types of content. There are types of storytelling that will fast track you to that know like trust factor more than others.

And I see so many business owners falling down this whole. Of just doing all of the things and not really prioritizing their energy based on their objectives. Um, which is, you know, it’s hard to do. Uh, but, but I want to talk about this and how you can kind of make things easier on yourself. Because you can make some good, better decisions so that you’re not burning out and trying to tell your story everywhere.

And then I do want to give you some actionable tips because this is what this is about. I want to give you some actionable tips or insights into how to take all of this knowledge. And quite literally, I want you to lay it over top of your launch plan or your sales plan or your quarterly objectives or whatever you do in your business.

I want to give you. Something to lay over top of that, that’s going to make it feel better. And when I say lay over top of, I literally think of, I don’t know, I’m a child of the eighties. So if you’re younger than me,

You probably don’t spend as much money on ice cream as I do. But when, when I was in school, we used to have these, um, Like acetate clear pieces of paper that we’d lay over top of things. Um, for an overhead projector. So that’s how I think about stories. Like write your launch plan on a solid piece of paper, but then take your story and lay it over top. And all of a sudden it pops off the page and all of a sudden you can add more color and dimension and even three dimension to it. So that’s the way that I think about it, which is so that’s where we want to get to today in this episode about stories becoming sales.

So let’s talk about the science first, cause this is where we can kind of nerd out and we can get into the weeds. And I promise I won’t, but I do want to give you a sense. Of how this is all working. So. There was a while there there’s this scientific experiment. And it was, it’s actually kind of sad, but it’s from the eighties and they took, this is in the states. They took a group of, of people.

Who all had brain injuries to a very specific part of their brain. And it was part of their frontal lobe. They had been in accidents or hit their head or something horribly tragic had happened. And they had surgery and all had made a full recovery from a medical standpoint. So like their body was functioning. Fine.

But what the study determined is that because this portion of their brain and the front part of their brain was impacted. They all had serious trouble making really basic decisions, such as what to eat for lunch, what to wear, um, Which route to take to work. Uh, you know, basic decisions between choice a and choice B like yes or no. Do I watch wheel of fortune or do I watch reality TV? Like they couldn’t make decisions.

And so funny it’s because it was that part of their brain that was impacted. So they made a full medical recovery, but the trauma meant that they couldn’t actually function fully in the world. So what’s interesting about that part of the brain. Which is clearly the part of the brain that allows us to freely.

And objectively make choices. Is also the part of the brain. Where our emotions are stored. Where we experience the most positive and negative emotions. Um, and that is the part of your brain. That is most activated. When you both here. And tell a story. Okay. So I’m going to thread this needle for us.

That part of the brain is where we’re most activated emotionally. When we both here and tell a story. It’s also the part of the brain that is involved. In decision-making. So here’s where I invite you to see a sale. As in, will you buy this from me as a yes or no decision? So, if you can get that part of someone’s brain activated in a positive way, which is where we talk about this, right? Like you’ve heard these sales formulas before pain agitation solution, give them pain relief, agitate that pain, and then solve that pain for them. They are in a heightened state. They are in an oxytocin bath.

Quite literally, we have measured this, not we scientists smarter than I am, have measured. What happens when you do that to someone you, you put them in pain, you make the pain worse, and then you relieve the pain. They’re brain floods with positive hormones. So when you do that with a sale, that’s why some sales feel icky, right? They bring you really low and then they spike your really high. And then you think, oh crap, I don’t want to lose this high. So you buy something you don’t really need. Right. That tends to be.

Um, the criticism of. Using pain to sell now. Do I think that using, you know, drawing attention to somebody’s problem is unethical. No, I think it’s actually quite important and quite ethical. If you see someone’s problem and identify it where they can’t. But that’s, that’s kind of where we get that whole like pain agitation solution thing from is it’s because it activates that part of your brain that brings in literal happy hormones. And when people have more happy hormones, they make quote unquote.

Happy decisions. They feel safe spending money. They feel good spending money, which is what we want. Right. When we’re selling, when we’re using our stories to sell. Now are there other ways of doing it other than just like saying, oh, pain, agitation solution. Yes. You can create the same kind of oxytocin release with happy stories. You can tell happy stories and make people feel happier.

You can tell happy stories and create empathy. What we’re really talking about is empathy, right? Where you create an emotional reaction in that person. And that can trigger a buying state faster than anything else. Because the emotion and the decision happens in the same part of the brain. So that is the science, and that is why this works. And this is why time and time again, you hear the phrase story sells because it quite literally does if done in the right way, if done effectively, if you really understand what your content is designed to do, it’s designed to create that emotional response, the emotional connection.

That over time is going to put your ideal client into the right buying state of mind. The flip side of this is that it can also allow somebody to self-select out, right? If they don’t have an emotional response to what you’re saying, they’re not your person. Okay. So that’s the science of it. And I think it’s super cool. And there’s, you can dig into it. There’s, there’s a bunch of stuff I’ve written a whole blog post on it, um, that, um, I will link to in the show notes, but.

You know, there’s lots of other stuff that you can read up on. If you want to really go into the weeds on this there’s scientific journals and all sorts of stuff. Okay. So this is why we are using stories. Now. You also hear that storytelling develops the know like, and trust factor, right? You’ve heard this K L T K L T all the way home. Right?

But, but, but, but, but, but. Some forms of storytelling. Actually we’ll activate that know, like trust factor. Better than others, or I should say faster, not better, but faster than others. Because really no leg trust is just developing an emotional connection to somebody. When we like someone we’re emotionally invested in them. When we love someone, we are emotionally invested in someone. When we go onto the internet to check on what somebody is doing.

We are emotionally invested in that person. Not only do we know them, we feel. You say this all the time, we feel like we know them. There are people I’m sure on the internet who you have never met in your life, but you feel like, you know them, there’s a reason we say that it’s because they’re doing a really great job with their content.

In activating that part of your brain. The feels something. Okay. So they feel like they know you, they feel like they like you, they feel like they can trust you. Right. They don’t just trust you. They feel like they can. There’s an really subtle nuance there, but I want you to hear it. It’s important. That’s what story does story allows them to feel the trust?

Okay. But when we’re talking about let’s, let’s do some tangibles here because I want to take us out of the abstract and into the tangible. You know, the question then I get is like, well, what do I do to create that feeling? Do I write a blog post? Do I show up on video? Do I do a podcast? Listen.

Podcasts, you know this, you know, this about me. Podcasts are the most hands down. The most effective way to get somebody to feel you. And that the science backs that up too. And I don’t mean podcast radio does the same thing. Okay. So the audio medium. Activates the brain in a way that other mediums do not because it creates a different.

Um, immersive environment for the listener. So right now, as I’m talking to you, we’re having actually a really intimate experience. It’s just you and me, I’m in your head. I’m actually in your head right now. There is no other medium. That will do that. Uh, close second would be video except what we know from, you know, and I’ve studied communications theory. So my degree is in philosophy and communications, which is why I feel totally confident telling you all of this and having this conversation with you today.

So we know this from studying communications and studying the way the human brain interprets them. Is that when you watch something on TV or on YouTube or even Instagram reels or any kind of video. That it’s actually creating a passive response in your brain. We’re audio creates an active response. Audio creates active intimacy video creates passive intimacy.

That’s why we, we, we talk all the time now about binge watching or doom scrolling. It’s because it activates a passively in us. So when we want to use those mediums to sell. Video Instagram real, so on and so forth. That’s where we have to break the barrier of our, of our ideal client being passive.

In their brain and in their consumption of that content, we have to do something that shakes them out of it, which is why every three days there’s a new trending real, that’s going to sound different and look different and be different and capture someone’s attention. Right. In the moment we talk about attention spans all the time, right?

It’s not because we have a shortened attention span it’s because on those platforms, we are in a passive consumption mode in terms of our brain. Right. That’s. That’s why we can scroll through Netflix and watch nothing for two hours. But you can’t really do that with the audio medium. You’re either in it.

Or you’re not, you’re either fully engaged from a neurological standpoint or you’re completely checked out. And that’s kind of better. Then having a whole bunch of people who are passively engaging with your message. And passively learning to feel. Then, uh, you know, a fraction of people who are actively feeling.

So there is a hierarchy of content in terms of fast tracking the know like trust factor. So it goes audio, it goes visual. And then let’s put writing and deep. Content. Into a whole other bucket. So, this is where you get into things like writing blog posts, writing newsletters. Where you are writing a book or an ebook or something in depth. And the reason that’s in its own category is because you put your person, who’s consuming your content. There.

At choice. You put them at choice right off the get-go of where they’re going to be and what they’re going to be doing as they’re consuming that. So you give them an option. They can either passively consume it or they can actively and consume it. So I always like to say that no matter what you’re doing, if you’re doing a video strategy or you’re doing a podcast strategy, or you’re doing both.

You do need that written element as a support system for your content. We talk about this in my programs, right? We develop these individually for people in my mentorship. We develop these plans. What is your core pillar going to be? Is it going to be spoken word? Is it going to be visual? Is it going to be written word? Great.

But no matter what you do need something to support it so that you are giving your ideal client choice. You want to always empower them with choice in how to interact with you and learn more about you and feel like they can trust you. Okay. So that was a very high level breakdown, but that’s the science of how it works. Okay. That’s why.

We say no lake trust. You’re trying to allow someone to feel that about you. Through the way you’re showing up online. Now, the last thing I said that I was going to talk about with you today is how we are going to overlay this onto your launch plan. So you’ve got your launch plan, all written, it’s beautiful. It’s lovely, you know exactly what you want to do and how many sales you want to make and what you’re offering to the world. And you’re really excited about it. And your content feels very formulaic. OMG, I’ve heard this all the time. Like I hear this all the time.

I took a cut and place paste template for my launch and I just cut and paste and I did what the gurus told me to do, and it doesn’t feel like me and listen, I have fallen in that trap. I’m telling you this from experience because I have tried that easy route before. And it freaking sucked and it didn’t work when I didn’t overlay my own story on top of my launch plan.

Whenever I do that. My launches. Flop. I don’t hit my goal. Okay. So I’m telling you this. The don’t do what I do, uh, as in like don’t fall in the same pitfalls that I’d have fallen, but also because this process works and it’s not as hard as you think. So. You take your launch plan. And then I want you to actually look at your ideal client. Maybe you have a few of them. You probably have a few avatars and so on and so forth, but I don’t want you to look at them as like demographic or psychographic, kind of.

Avatars like Sally is 34 years old and she’s experiencing. You know, Issues with her diet and weight loss. And she also has two kids and she lives in a major urban center LA. I don’t care about that. I don’t care about that. You shouldn’t care about that either. I want you to look at her emotional transit transformation. And I want you to look at it through the lens of how is she allowing herself to feel like she knows you to feel like she likes you and to feel like she trusts you. And that I want you to dig through your story bank and find stories that will allow her to feel those things.

And I want you to drop those into your launch plan, wherever you feel like it, wherever you feel like it. I don’t care if you’re sending nine emails on your cart close day, because somebody. Told you to do that. If you feel like you need to give Sally another reason to trust you. I tell a story that’s gonna help her trust you, that you can take her to where you want to take her. This goes back to the last episode. This is another story about where.

Okay. So you’re going to amass all of those three stories and you’re just going to overlay them into your launch plan. And you’re going to increase the frequency at which you tell them, and you’re going to increase where you’re telling them. So your podcasts, your videos, your live streams, your social media, whatever, right? That’s all you need to do. I often say this.

That your launch plan is just your content flow done more intensely. There is nothing different about being in launch mode and being not in launch mode other than the frequency and intensity of your storytelling. That is the only difference. So, all you need to do is arm yourself with these three stories. You’re about you. You’re about where you’re about what.

You need to understand how it’s working in your ideal client’s brain. To develop that feeling of know, like, and trust. And then all you need to do is drop those stories in as you feel called to do so, as you feel like your person needs to hear from you. During your launch period. Do those things and your results will change.

Do those things, and I can pretty much guarantee that your results will change.

How you feeling now?

You’ve just had like a masterclass in how stories. Becomes sales.

It’s so exciting. Right. And if you’re listening to this in March of 2022, Then head to the show notes right now. Right now, head to the show notes because. I’m going to be doing the live content strategy, unlocking about all of this.

And you can register. And it’s free. And if you’re listening to this after March, 2022. I got you.

You, you may not be in line for one of our live sessions quite yet. Although there’s probably one coming cause I’m doing them all the time.

But head down to the show notes and take the masterclass. The link is there, go take the masterclass. It’s where I go, even deeper on all this stuff. Where I make more invitations for you to allow this to be easy.

The science is there.

It’s all in the feeling. It’s all in the feeling and how you choose to activate it for your prospect. And in your business. Let it be easy.

Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of permission to leave. And please, if you like this, consider subscribing to the show feed. On your favorite podcast platform and leave us a review. Five stars would be epic. I also love when you take a screenshot and share the show with your social media networks, just make sure to tag me at it’s dot Erin Trafford.

And if you’d like to know more, of course, as I just said, check out the show notes, because that’s where you’re going to find the latest and greatest free downloads resources, masterclasses all of the things that we’re doing. Plus if you’ll want it, the application to work with me in my mentorship.

Or as a private consulting client. Shownotes also all of the info about live classes, events, programs, affiliate programs, all the things that you may want to participate in. And finally, if you have feedback for the show or if you’d like to be a guest on the show, Please reach out. and someone on my incredible team.

Or even me. Sometimes I answer the inbox. Well, we’ll get back to you. As soon as possible.

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