Why do stories work?


It’s our brain. That’s the reason. It only works in connecting things. And it always wants to establish a connection between cause and effect. Well, if we’re being honest, then it is not the brain’s fault. Not really. It’s simply the type and manner in which we function as human beings. We are always looking for reasons. Always seeking the reason behind. Often enough we are trying to explore the reason behind the reason. And then it happens: We put connections between what we have experienced and what we therefore believe has happened. In hindsight. We tie everything that happens to us to a reason. We are connecting the dots, aren´t we?

Cause and effect. In hindsight.

That is the problem with studies, reports and books about successful people or companies. The problem with the “best practice” analysis. In hindsight, connections are found. The possible causes that, after looking at it for a while, create a reason for why this company was so successful. And because we as humans are ‘hardwired’ in such a way that we need a reason for everything, we closely believe such analyses. With that we forget the factor of coincidence. We more or less negate coincidence. Maybe it was just a coincidence? Perhaps the business leader is not at all as good as the results suggest? Perhaps he was just lucky? Luck and misfortune are also results of these causes and effects. If no other cause can be found, then it must simply have been luck. Or simply bad luck. Connecting the dots.


Luck and misfortune can also serve as causes.

If we establish these reference causes, we must give a consistent explanation with it. “They got this top manager and he changed course. He learned how things work at a fortune 500 company. Well, at THE fortune 500 company itself. His mentor was “Mr. Superstar” of that Industry. No wonder he restructured the firm and brought it to completely new heights.” The fact that the market was booming and the demand was increasing, that new regulations sparked demand even more, all this is not part of the story. Because it’s also not that sexy and that exciting. It´s simply a boring story compared to being the heritage of “Mr. Superstar”. That becomes a story that sounds good. It’s in our nature to search for, invent, and tell stories as explanations for the past. Because we put too much weight in the cause-effect principle. It’s a part of our being.

What does that mean for our sales efforts?

We can satisfy this natural need to connect cause with effect to explain why this or that happened with a well-made story right from the beginning. From the start we simply provide the later-sought explanation. If we deliver a good story right at the beginning, it is established and serves as the cause. In place of being exposed to the risk that the customer will make up something later, we immediately give them a story for it. A simple story, a story that excites, a story that sticks and is easily passed on. A story that was created with the StorySculptor recipe. You can find this recipe in the Overview.


One thing’s for sure. If you don’t deliver a story, then a customer will invent one. Because he (his brain) needs the cause-effect relationship in order to accept, learn and explain. In order to understand it. In order to calm down or to apologize. It’s simply human nature. Use it!

So what’s with misfortune or luck?

Now, those are also just explanations for a cause. I am trying to tell it like it is. Luck or misfortune are not different from uncontrollable circumstances that make the result. The more these circumstances are responsible for a result, the more luck or misfortune one has. Someone who wins the lottery had good luck. The result is pure luck, so purely a product of coincidence, where only a little bit of ability was also involved. After all, one had to have at least bought a lottery ticket. This ability is omitted when the occurrence is purely coincidental, so when someone is struck by lightning. And you can be sure than an explanation is then also found for that. A story is made up, an explanation communicated, and then at the end it was clear that he must have been struck by lightning. Just bad luck.

Create success yourself, use your luck, and immediately provide your customers a good story from the beginning. That is the best sales method in the world. Once upon a time …


I hope you enjoyed this little inside and will have a look at the presentation on SLIDESHARE where you can find some more information which can help you selling well with stories. Click here to find it.

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THANK YOU SO MUCH and please never forget: No Story. No Business.