Heather Hansen

Facts Tell, Stories Sell. But Advocacy Wins

If you want to win–a client, a customer, a sale, or the attention of a student or loved one, you have to learn to advocate. Let me show you what I mean.

Imagine you’re a surgeon, and a patient lays dying on your table. As you work desperately to save her life, you look up to see another surgeon, across the table from you, trying  just as desperately–to kill your patient.

When I first became a trial attorney, that’s how an older attorney described our job to me. If you could have heard my inner voice at that moment, it was saying “Oh. Heck. No. I’m out of here.”  Fortunately, I stayed and even though in the midst of a trial it does feel that way, he was not quite right. It’s more like this. I’m given a set of facts and I have tell a story about those facts. But all the while there’s someone across the room from me using the exact same set of facts and telling an entirely different story. Ultimately, the best advocate wins.  And you’re an advocate too. 

If you’re in sales or marketing, you’re advocating for your product, while your competitor advocates for hers. When you’re an educator, your story has to beat the distraction of the phone and the other students. You’re in customer experience, healthcare, the law?  No matter what you do, if you want your story to win -be the better advocate. 

Facts tell. Stories sell. But Advocacy wins. So start thinking, and acting, like an advocate. The best way to begin is to act like a trial lawyer.  Ask questions and overcome objections. Use creativity and curiosity to make connections with the people you serve. Show compassion. And build credibility to persuade your  “jury” to choose your story. With the tools of a trial lawyer you can go beyond story telling to advocating. And that’s how you win.

Heather Hansen

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