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Stories Captivate Prospects, Drive Home Key Points

by Trey Ryder

If your prospect's eyes glaze over when you explain the law -- or if your prospect nods off during your consultation, you can seize your prospect's attention by telling stories.

Stories hold a unique place in our lives. One of my first memories is my dad reading stories to me at bedtime. He said I knew the words so well that I would correct him when he made a mistake or skipped a few pages in hopes of making an early exit.

After childhood, everyone reads comic books, magazines and novels. We watch movies and attend plays and musicals -- all because we enjoy people.

Likewise, you enhance the power of your marketing message when you rely on stories about people to make your point.

You can use stories for positive impact, including to build your credibility, emphasize your experience, highlight results you've achieved, and identify sound reasons for urgency so your prospect acts now.

Also, you can use stories for negative impact, including to highlight risks your prospect faces, identify what can happen when your prospect doesn't act, emphasize problems your prospect might overlook, and so on.


Your story should be built on this five-part framework:

Problem: Identify the problem your client faced. Make sure it's similar or analogous to the problem your prospect faces.

Facts: Include specific facts about your client's experience so your prospect knows this is a true story about an actual client.

Action: Describe what you and your client did or didn't do.

Result: Tie your action to the result you achieved.

Advice: Then suggest to your prospect that the two of you should or should not follow the same course of action depending on how similar his situation is to your previous case -- and whether your earlier experience achieved the desired result.


  • Make sure the client in your story is similar to your current prospect. The more alike your client and prospect are, the more the story will persuade your prospect.

  • Point out similarities between your client's story and your prospect's situation. Prospects are more likely to act when they see themselves in your example.

  • Use only one story to illustrate a point. If you have two good examples that make the same point, tell the one that more clearly and understandably delivers your message.

  • When you can choose between a client's story and an explanation, the better choice is usually the story because it's much more vivid to the listener.

  • If you don't have a story that fits a particular situation, then create a hypothetical and offer it as the positive result your prospect can expect -- or the negative result that could easily happen if your prospect doesn't act.
Stories persuade because people like to hear about other people who were in situations like their own. Don't miss the opportunity to relate stories about former clients because when prospects see the results you have achieved for others, they have more confidence that you can do the same for them.

About The Author

Trey Ryder is a law firm consultant who specializes in Education-Based Marketing for attorneys. Trey Ryder offers lawyers three free articles by e-mail: 9 Smart Ways to Cut Marketing Costs and Improve Results, 11 Brochure Mistakes Lawyers Make, and Marketing Moves Most Lawyers Miss. Send your name and e-mail address to and ask for his free e-mail packet of articles.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.