Whether you are a successful business owner, an experienced marketer, an entrepreneur that’s just starting out, or just someone that is looking to develop their personal brand, Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me by Greg Koorhan is a must-read for anyone that wants to tell their story.
Whenever I read business related books, I’m very hesitant going in. I need the book to be informative but also written in a way that is very enjoyable to read. This one checked off both of those boxes!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in to my review!
Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me: How to use storytelling to connect with the hearts and wallets of a hungry audience by Greg Koorhan
I’ve been working in marketing for six years now. While that is not a ton of time, I’ve learned a lot about what customers like to see, and what is just background noise to them.
Along this journey, I always seem to come back to focusing in on telling the story of the product or company.
However, it’s the old toxic phrase, “But we’ve always just done it this way…” mindset that really bogs things down. So many people are so hesitant to show the human side of their companies. And why is that?!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pitched creating About Us pages for various clients just to have them say something like, “Let’s focus on the more important elements first.” Or “I don’t think our website needs that.” Or my recent favorite, “No one wants to see our ugly mugs! Besides, it will take too long to pull that information together.”
In a world where people are getting very weary of the cold and secretive big corporations, showing your more human side to help build trust is absolutely critical.
Reading books like this one is always so exciting to me because it helps to back up my beliefs when I start to lose faith after being brushed off so frequently.
My 3 Favorite Elements Of This Book
First, I thought that the way the chapters of this book are organized was wonderful! I loved that there was a little recap at the beginning of each new chapter. This would make this book perfect for the busy entrepreneur or business owner that can only read a chapter here and there.
Second, this book was written in a very upbeat and fun way that kept me totally engaged. It made me so happy to compare the sections that I was highlighting in the book to the way that my current company runs. I believe that my current workplace has wonderful principles and they do an awesome job telling their story. In turn, this trickles down to our members.
Third, this book was very actionable! From the things that the author prompts you to think about and list out, to the exercises and additional resources mentioned, this can be used to jump start your storytelling process!
My Favorite Passages from Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me
Speaking louder or more often is not the answer. With enough money, a business can get in front of almost any consumer. The problem has become how to get them to pay attention.
We’ve all grown weary of inauthentic marketing messages and sales hype. The majority of advertising has become noise, the majority of hype we don’t believe, most of the rest we just ignore.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably heard companies talk of their people, their process and their technology as if that’s what makes them different. News flash: every business has people, processes, and technology.
It’s not easy to do in the first place. It’s like eating right or exercising — we know what has to be done. We know it’s good for us and yet we still sneak that chocolate bar whenever we can.
The mistake — unless it’s a life or death situation — is just that, a mistake. It’s usually not a problem that cannot be overcome. It might be uncomfortable when working through it, but it can be cleaned up. The real problem is when the company or its leadership doesn’t own up to and take responsibility for the mistake. Or worse, they intentionally try to cover it up.
Infallible is not very interesting. Think about it; even Superman has kryptonite as a weakness.
Stories do what data does not.
People forget statistics and facts, but they don’t forget a good story.
In brand building: with consistency comes strength.
They may rationalize their purchase on logic, but people buy on emotion.
Just like other forms of content marketing, your story will do the selling for you.
The move visual elements you add into your story, the deeper the meaning, the more it “speaks” to the audience.
Many companies include their company story as part of their website’s About page. In most cases, the About page is the second most visited page on your website after the Home page. But if your website is like most websites, the About page currently reads like a resume. That’s such a waste, because there is little value in that. You are making the visitor do all the work of seeing if you are someone they want to learn more about. Here’s a secret: your About page should really be about them!
Once your About page story is written, I encourage you to turn it into a video. It doesn’t have to be long – a short video of you telling your story instantly allows more of a connection to be made. Your audience gets not only a feel for what working with you is like, but they also leave feeling that they “know you” a little bit more.
Emails should be very short: some experts preach no more than five sentences.
Your story will naturally evolve over time. It has to: since you cannot predict the future, there are some parts of your story that are as yet unwritten.
My Final Thoughts on Don’t Sell Me, Tell Me
An absolute must-read!
I thought this was such a well-written book filled to the brim with advice. It didn’t bog itself down with too many examples, or long drawn-out and dry passages. It kept to the point, and it moved along at a great pace.
This is a great book to add to your shelves no matter who you are:
- A successful business owner- this book could make you rethink the way that you are putting your store out there and inspire you to update it.
- An experienced marketer– this may be a great reminder of why storytelling is so important. You may even learn a few new tips.
- An entrepreneur that’s just starting out– this is a great platform to help you properly organize your thoughts and beliefs before portraying that to the public.
- Someone that is looking to develop their personal brand– while this book is geared more toward the business owner, there are many elements that can be used to help with a personal brand.
On your first read through, you will probably be like me and highlight sections left and right! This will also be a great book to revisit every few years to make sure your story is still being told effectively.
Snag a copy through your local bookstore or feel free to use my Amazon affiliate link:
Sounds really informative! And yes, I do think people want more of a personal touch these days.
Erica Robyn says
😀 Agreed! I love reading a great company story!
I’m so happy this one was a win for you! It’s not something I would personally read, but I love that we’re all fantastically different. 🙂
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬
Erica Robyn says
Olivia Roach says
I like that you are reading nonfiction and that even though you were hesitant I am glad this one was so compatible for how you need your business books to be! I recently took a dive like this and read one which was a textbook about writing.
Erica Robyn says
😀 That’s awesome! I definitely need to make the time for more digital marketing books. Things just change so quickly, it’s hard to find great books that are funny and up beat, but also current.