Tom “Big Al” Schreiter is one of the most skillful and revered educators in the network marketing space. Unless you are brand new to the business, you’ve probably read some of the Big Al books or his free newsletter at BigAlReport.com—and if you haven’t, we highly recommend you do so. You may have seen Tom speak at the ANMP convention, Art Jonak’s Mastermind event, at a Big Al live workshop, or at one of the numerous other events he speaks at every year.
A living legend in the profession, Tom built large distributor organizations and also founded two network marketing companies. But rather than work in the office on marketing plans and theories, Tom always preferred to be in the field, personally sponsoring and training distributors. Logging his 43rd year in network marketing, he developed a treasure chest of tips and tools which he generously shares with audiences around the world.
An engineer by training and a natural marketing genius, Tom has meticulously tested every strategy he teaches—from icebreakers to building rapport, from how to get distributors started fast to more advanced marketing lessons and case studies. We recently picked his brain about his newest book How to Prospect, Sell, and Build Your Network Marketing Business with Stories.
What led you to write a book about telling stories?
Stories are the best way to communicate with people, and that’s our job. We have to get ideas from our heads inside theirs, and the story is just the absolute best way to do it.
Before the written word, all information was passed on from generation to generation with stories, so the mind is set up to accept information, remember it, and visualize it in story format—and it does all this automatically. We can remember a story from age five, but we can’t remember dates we studied for a history exam 15 minutes later. The human mind is set up to understand and see things in story format. Think about dreaming: while we sleep, the mind takes useless bits of information it can’t file away, puts them together, and creates a story.
For most people, story is the only way to communicate directly to the subconscious mind, because it does everything automatically. When you tell a story, the subconscious mind of your prospect pops up a movie screen, pulls up a barrel of popcorn, stuffed chair, sits back, and watches the story on the screen. What’s really cool is the subconscious mind is not very smart. It says, “Wait a minute, if it’s up on the movie screen, I’ll put myself in as the main character.” That’s why we enjoy books and watching Pirates of the Caribbean, because we feel we’re one of the main characters.
Since our subconscious mind doesn’t have the thinking capacity the conscious mind does, when it sees the story up there, it’s as though that story actually happened to us, and it helps us feel and understand things and make decisions. The bottom line is: facts tell people stuff, but stories sell people stuff, and that’s why successful networkers are all great storytellers.
To read more of the in-depth interview with Big Al on the power of story telling to influence people and become better public speakers, click here to read the full interview from Networking Times May/June 2014 issue.