The Art of Storytelling and Creating a Community

If you follow my personal Instagram, you'd have seen that I was a guest on Rob Elliot's Podcast 'The Real Journey's of Success', where we talked about how Danny and I built Few & Far to become what it is today. 

Rob recently asked me to be a contributor in his new book  “The Sales Chain” Tips, Tools and an insider’s guide to the Business of Sales, in which I talked about The Art of Storytelling and Creating a Community, you can read it below!


Creative to her core and entrepreneurial in spirit, Tara Solberg is the founder and owner of both Few and Far and Indigo Love, two halves of one thriving business based on the beautiful South Coast of New South Wales. Tara has built a multi-layered business comprising retail, wholesale and online offerings of one-of-a-kind treasures from around the globe and thoughtful homewares for which the brand is known.  

Along with her business, Tara is equally passionate about education and equipping fellow entrepreneurial women with the tools they need to thrive in business, which has led to the launch of TRADE WINS, a collection of online courses and an accompanying podcast series.

There is so much more to selling than exchanging goods or services for money. In fact, this should be the result of the engaging process that comes before this. I genuinely believe that the most important part of building a business and in turn achieving sales is not only creating a memorable brand, but creating an immersive and creative experience for your customer to enjoy and to participate in. No one wants to be sold to, but they will willingly participate if they are entertained and engaged. And if we are successful in our ability to invite them into our world, our own unique story, then sales will naturally follow. I’d go as far as to say that I can guarantee that the customer will not want to leave empty handed, and more importantly, they will want to visit again and again and invite others to do so too. 

When Danny and I opened our first store in Huskisson NSW, we had a strong vision for the type of product we wanted to sell, the environment we wanted to create and more importantly, the experience we aimed to offer our customers. Fast forward to now, and we have carried this brand vision through everything we do, from product and branding, packaging, store fit outs, merchandising, marketing and our online experience. From the moment our customers are lured into our stores through the act of enticing their sensory curiosity, they are immediately transported to another time and place, another world, where they can get lost in time and enjoy the magical journey of discovery our stores have to offer. 

In order to engage that sense of curiosity though, this journey of discovery needs to start before they enter the front door and is one of the most important elements of every touch point of our brand. What has brought them to visit you in the first place? How have you captured their attention? 

This is where the art of storytelling or ‘surprise and delight’ is so important to playing a crucial role in customer acquisition. By thinking creatively and considering all touch points, be it the user experience when they sign up to our newsletter and receive a thoughtfully written welcome note or the moment they receive a delivery of our product and take note of the considered details on how it comes packaged, you have the ability to create a customer for life. Invite them into your world and make them feel like they never want to leave, by enchanting them at every opportunity and strengthening the connection between the customer and your brand.

When it comes to designing and arranging any of our Few and Far stores, I always consider all of the senses – beautiful visuals, intoxicating aromas, relaxing music and luxurious textures. All of these elements become an extension of our brand story and work together to create a memorable experience. Our layered and plentiful merchandising displays portray confidence in the product we sell and present ideas or occasions for a product's use by inviting our customers into the story. The concept of ‘upselling’ works beautifully here, solely through the presentation and thought behind the merchandising layout, which removes the need for an awkward ‘push’ from a sales assistant, allowing customers to remain ‘in the moment’ and continue to enjoy their experience.

Our motto ‘Bringing The World Home’ illustrates the passion and dedication we have to creating spaces with meaning. We introduce pieces that have had a previous life or have their own stories to tell which can then be intricately woven throughout our own homes for the next chapter of its life. As important as these stories are though, they are lost without their storyteller. It is our responsibility to continue this story and to pass it on to our customers, who then share their appreciation of these unique pieces with their friends and family.

Ultimately though, the act of creating a personal connection with your customers will always have the biggest impact when it comes to driving sales and building brand loyalty. People affiliate with brands that reflect their own values, beliefs and aspirations. Through all of my 12 years of experience, I have learnt that taking the time to understand and nurture these relationships is key to achieving the successful outcomes you desire. Humans yearn for personal connection and the feeling that they belong to something bigger, a feeling of community. The customer and their experience should always come first, and when this happens, and we do our job well, we aren’t having to hustle for sales or hard sell, but we will see a return on the generosity we have shared.

 

SUMMARY:

  • The most important part of building a business and in turn achieving sales is not only creating a memorable brand, but creating an immersive and creative experience for your customer to enjoy and to participate in. Achieving the sale is the end result of this process. 
  • Focus on creating customer engagement through a journey of discovery.
  • The art of storytelling or ‘surprise and delight’ is so important to playing a crucial role in customer acquisition. Enchant them at every opportunity which in turn will strengthen the connection between the customer and your brand. 
  • Consider appealing to the senses for a memorable experience
  • Build the feeling of community and nurture these relationships through personal connection based on your values, beliefs and aspirations. Nobody wants to be sold to.