Lee Barnathan | LB Communications
Stories Over Facts When Describing
Your Product & Services
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I create or improve copy that is written factually, truthfully and guarantees your credibility and integrity. It generates and nurtures leads, and causes website visitors to do what you want. My specialties include ghostwriting, or writing in somebody else’s voice, tone and style. I also blog, or write several times about a specific idea, topic or theme. These posts are usually 500-700 words but could be any length. I also can take these posts and shorten them to just a few paragraphs so you can use them on social media sites.

 

My process requires your full participation — I can’t do my job without you. I begin by asking open-ended questions that usually start with who/what/where/when/how/why. I use critical thinking to listen and identify holes in your responses, which leads to additional questions. This process gets me the information I need to create or improve your copy so it’s free of lies, embellishments or exaggerations. A truth-based message is easier to remember, get behind and promote.

 

Clients who want this kind of copy want someone who will take the time to hear them, to intellectually and emotionally understand them. Then they want the copy written honestly, accurately and clearly, with no BS. For 31 years, I’ve been writing, editing and communicating in these unique ways. Clients benefit because their words read differently than their competition’s, which helps increase the number of leads they get from their websites.

 

Some want to hire me for just one job, no matter how long or short it takes. Others pay a retainer and contract with me over several months. My fees are fixed yet flexible.

In this episode

"When emotion comes into play, it livens up what you're watching or listening and makes it relatable. When you have emotion, it livens up the copy, it makes it more readable. It takes the audience on a journey from the time before your product and service to the promised land of a better life by using that product and service", declares Lee Barnathan of LB Communications.
 

Lee points out that businesses aren't taking advantage of storytelling when writing the copy on their websites. Copy that focuses on features and functions lacks the emotion that make them relatable. Lee cites an example of an experiment conducted on eBay where a basket of common goods described factually sold for $250. But when these same basket of goods were described using heartfelt stories, they sold for almost $8,000, over a 31X increase in revenue. Listen to the end for Lee's generous gift to our listeners.

A glimpse of what you'll hear

02:25 Businesses aren't taking advantage of the power of storytelling.

04:56 Go beyond features, functions, and benefits.

05:58 How to get a 3,100% increase in price using stories in your selling.

10:01 Don't wait to tell the story of your business.

11:01 4 step process for telling the story of your products and services.

13:55 Learn about Lee. Email Lee at lee@leebarnathan.com

Episode Transcript

Centricity Introduction  0:04

 

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

 

Jay Kingley  0:43  

 

I'm Jay Kingley, the co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target market is missing out on. I'm happy to welcome back for his second visit. Lee Barnathan, CEO of LB Communications. Lee is a one man writing and editing agency for small businesses focused on creating attention grabbing copy that converts and makes clients of remarkable. Lee is based in Los Angeles, California. Welcome back to the show. Lee.

 

Lee Barnathan  1:18  

 

It's always great to be back, Jay. Thanks for having me,

 

Jay Kingley  1:21  

 

Lee, ever since I've been a teenager, I have loves to tell stories I used to enter storytelling competitions. I've been fascinated by stories as a mechanism for human to human communications. Did you know that the first stories that we know of that humans use are over 30,000 years ago, those cave people do nice pictures, telling stories to each other? The other fascinating thing they did you know, that the University of Vermont did a research study, they analyze using artificial intelligence, over 1300 stories? And they figured out just as Kurt Vonnegut predicted, that there are only six different types of story arcs that exist for humans. And no matter how often we hear the same type of story, we just love it. It's the basis for Hollywood, which is in your neck of the woods with I always said are the world's greatest storytellers. So as much as we love stories, we pay a lot of money to hear stories to watch stories. I find it fascinating that the one area that seems to underutilized stories is the business world. Lee, what is going on?

 

Lee Barnathan  2:54  

 

To answer your first questions? Yes, I know about the cave, the caves, especially the famous ones in Lascaux that you can't even go to anymore, which is really a sad state of affairs. And secondly, no, I didn't know about Vermont. But Kurt Vonnegut was a genius. And we knew that to answer your current question. Why? Why are people missing? People have a sense that, oh, this is business. So I have to write a certain way. Well, they're right about having to write a certain way, but they've got it wrong. They're missing out on the emotion. What makes Hollywood successful, the best movies, and filmmakers and screenplay writers and script writers all know this, there is an emotional human element. It's why Pixar is so successful. When emotion comes into play, it lightens up what you're watching what you're listening to, and makes it more relatable. Well, it's the same with the copy in business, when you have emotion, it lightens up the copy, it makes it more readable, just like in Hollywood, it takes the audience on a journey from the times before in the case of business, the times before the product or service is is, you know, in your consciousness or your awareness or your usage to the promised land of a better life by using that product or service. And that promised land that's very important in business writing. So when you use the human element and the emotional components, you keep the reader engaged longer. They keep reading longer, they understand more details about what's in front of them, and they're more likely to heed your call to action.

 

Jay Kingley  4:29  

 

Lee, we in the marketing world, it's pounded into us, features, functions, benefits, dry, boring facts. Now, I'm not saying the facts aren't important. They may very well be important, but we know that importance doesn't drive action, emotion drives action. So what's your view on how you have to combine the objective elements features, functions benefits, that make up the importance with the emotion in the stories, which is what calls us to take action?

 

Lee Barnathan  5:12  

 

When you simply describe the features and benefits, you're missing out on the third element, the emotion, the profound stories behind those features and benefits that instill a sense of purpose and meaning behind whatever it is you're selling. And since a Harvard professor found that 98% of purchasing decisions are based on emotion, if you ignore that human element, which is inherent in storytelling, it severely hurts your chances and your company's chances and your business's chances of selling more. People don't want to be sold to they don't want to be pitched to, but they'll be happy to listen and read a story a logical before middle and end story about something then they are far more receptive. And you don't make it look like you're pitching to them, which they hate.

 

Jay Kingley  6:04  

 

If you're a business, what elements of your business should you be looking at to incorporate storytelling and the emotion behind facts?

 

Lee Barnathan  6:16  

 

The real place that I think people are missing is on their company websites on the product or the service pages. Those are all about you know what the product or service does. Sometimes it also mentions the benefit of using it. But what's missing is that human element to simply describe them, you miss out on that very important third element. And to give you the best illustration, I could find I found, this is just the best story I've ever come across period, you got a couple of researchers who prove the value of storytelling by listing 200 items on eBay. These are like insignificant items they are they all value a buck and a quarter each. But they got people to write these short, heartfelt stories about each item in the description section on eBay. combined. Each item buck and a quarter 200 items 250 bucks total, they sold for nearly $8,000, which is 3100 times their value. That's to me that sums it up beautifully. But if you want more, I've got more. There's a cognitive psychologist out there that showed that stories are 22 more times 22 times more memorable than facts. And here's another study I found our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than facts, the brain processes images 60 times faster. So when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brain light up, but so to the parts of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we're reading about, which is exactly why everyone in Hollywood knows you show don't tell. And in my journalism background, same thing you show don't tell because when you are showing the person's reading, and they're imagining doing it, and that's what this study says the parts of the brain that we would use if we're actually experiencing what we're reading about lights up. Which means in the grand scheme of things, it's far easier for us to remember stories than cold, hard facts.

 

Jay Kingley  8:23  

 

What I'm hearing you say which I think is very very perceptive is that people not only by stories, more than facts more than things, but they place more value on stories, they will pay more for an object that has a great story attached. And I think we all know people who buy something that is rather unremarkable. You're over visiting. And they say, take a look at this. And you're like, Okay, this is this, there's nothing special about this. And then they light up and tell you this story behind it. And that is really where the value is. And whether it's an inanimate object, or it's doing a service that makes us feel remarkable, makes us feel good about ourselves. We're buying into the story.

 

Lee Barnathan  9:19  

 

The other thing is that, and this has happened to me before I go to someone's house, and they show me this vase, and I'm thinking, so what, but then they tell the story, and I'm making this up. So this vase came from, you know, Nazi Germany, and it was virtually destroyed, but it was saved in from the camps and it's passed from generation to generation. And suddenly, you know, you think, Oh, wow, and suddenly. Now, it's a great vase. When you originally without knowing the story thought, this is junk. 

 

Jay Kingley  9:50  

 

You're a business executive, you're in charge of marketing or the business owner of a small business and you put some very compelling thoughts on the table for why your copy on your website on your brochures, PDFs on your LinkedIn profile, wherever you are communicating with your marketplace, why you need to really invest in stories. But what's the urgency? Why should someone say, you know, Lee, this is something I should be doing now, as opposed to Why don't I do it manana?

 

Lee Barnathan  10:26  

 

Oh, you so never put off today what you can do tomorrow, right? Ask yourself this question. Where's the status quos getting you? How's that going for you? If you're not getting anywhere? Why wait? The urgency is almost inherent. Because if you want to sell more, there is a way to do it. And the way to do it is to tell the story. So if you wait tomorrow, you've just lost that one day where you could start the process of starting to impress upon people, the stories behind the awesome products and services that you have. The answer to your question is Why wait? You can't afford to wait.

 

Jay Kingley  11:06  

 

I think it's that 3100%, your eBay example? That says you'd have to be insane, to say, I'll get to it down the road.

 

Lee Barnathan  11:15  

 

It's an unwritten statement. But you're absolutely right. You can't afford not to do it.

 

Jay Kingley  11:21  

 

Let's talk about the doing it. You've made your case. It's compelling. I'm sitting here saying, okay, Lee, what do I do

 

Lee Barnathan  11:29  

 

There is a four step process. Step number one, set the scene, you establish the status quo, or the way things were for your target market, explain your the person's life without the product or service that you're selling. The second point is you introduce the problem. You describe the problem that exists that calls for the need for this product or service you. The third one is you arrive at the solution. Well, the solution, of course, is the product or service. So you share details of how this product or service works, why it works, why it's gonna benefit you. This is what a lot of people do in normal writing, but they don't do parts one and two. The fourth part is envision what's next, you now paint a picture of the Promised Land, the life that the target market now is enjoying, because they're using or have used your product or service. Some people may say, Well, that's a lot, I don't have room on the page. Well, if you do one sentence per part, it's only four sentences. What people need to remember is that good storytelling can turn a product or service into a brand or a legacy. It can create a strong and effective marketing strategy. It can generate profit, and win the loyalty and affection of your audience and your target market. And all that adds up to one thing, dollar signs. How can you afford not to do it?

 

Jay Kingley  12:59  

 

We all have stories within us, our businesses, our products, our services, all have stories, just waiting to be told. So let's get to it. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to learn a bit about Lee.

 

Centricity Introduction  13:20  

 

Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, would you like clients to knock on your door so you no longer have to pitch follow up and spam decision makers. Well Centricity's The Tipping Point program uses a proven five step process that will help you get in front of the decision makers you need by spending less time on doing all of the things you hate. It's not cold, calling cold email, cold outreach on LinkedIn or any other social media platform, or spending money on ads. But it has a 35 times higher ROI than any of those things, leveraging your expertise and insights that your prospects and network value. The best part even though you'll see results in 90 days, you get to work with the Centricity team for an entire year to make sure you have all the pieces in place and working. So you can start having freedom of time and a life outside of your business. So email time@Centricityb2b.com to schedule an 18 minute call to learn more.

 

Jay Kingley  14:19  

 

Welcome back. We're talking to Lee Barnathan of LB Communications. Let's find out a little bit more about Lee. Lee let me start by asking you what are the pain points that you solve for your target market? And why do they need you to get rid of that pain?

 

Lee Barnathan  14:36  

 

Well, the pain points deal with frustration and desperation that they can't find a way to differentiate themselves from everybody else out there. You know, they they try using writers the writers let them down they don't feel like they're being heard enough like they're being understood. And they waste so much time trying to convince people that they are unique to everybody else out there. And and when they don't do they get upset, because they can't instill any trust rapport or confidence in these people that their product or service or themselves, depending on the situation works. They can't convince people that these products or services work, they can't convince people that they are the expert. So I come in, and I help them write the copy that clearly and simply explains who they are, how they're different, what they'll do and what they won't do. I help break the cycle of frustration. The copy is written simply honestly and accurately.

 

Jay Kingley  15:33  

 

Lee is a longtime client of Centricity. And I am thrilled to have the as part of our family and one of the things that Lee enjoys, and notice how I'm stating that you enjoy it. I don't want to hear on your end, we have these community meetings where we get to know all the clients of Centricity. And one of the things that we do is something called memorable moments. We have 411 questions, designed for Lee to tell us things about himself that not even his wife have how many years Lee 

 

Lee Barnathan  16:09  

 

26 and a half

 

Jay Kingley  16:11  

 

26 and a half years, not even she knows some of these deep, dark secrets, we're about to reveal them.

 

Lee Barnathan  16:19  

 

And yet Jay I always tell her that I've been asked a question and she always wants to know what it is and what I said.

 

Jay Kingley  16:27  

 

Well, this is going to be memorialized on both audio and video. So Lee, give me a number between one and 411 

 

Lee Barnathan  16:38  

 

237 

 

Jay Kingley  16:40  

 

237. All right, Lee, here is your question. If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore doesn't have to be a President. It could be someone alive or dead. Who would you add to Mount Rushmore and why?

 

Lee Barnathan  16:59  

 

I only have one person, right?

 

Jay Kingley  17:01  
Just one.

 

Lee Barnathan  17:02  

 

I can't add four right? So I can add John, Paul, George and Ringo. Okay. Then I will go the other way. And I will add Bruce Springsteen to the list.

 

Jay Kingley  17:14  

 

And why are you going to add Bruce Springsein

 

Lee Barnathan  17:17  

 

That one, the fact that I've seen him in concert 21 times his music speaks to me speaks to a lot of people. Because again, this is a great question because when I listen to his music, there is an emotional component to what he's singing about. Now, I don't always relate directly to what it's what he's singing about. But there is an emotion and I have songs of his that I equate to particular times in my life, usually my teenage or my 20s, where I first got into his music, and it makes me feel the emotion that maybe he's trying to put out there in his music. Again, some of the songs are not directly related, but it's all about the emotion. Plus, his voice is kind of gravelly and very limiting. And when I sing karaoke, so is mine.

 

Jay Kingley  18:11  

 

Well, one thing you have to give Bruce, he is an amazing singer, songwriter, and storyteller, I'm sure that you have piqued the interest of many of our listeners about how they should be incorporating storytelling as part of their marketing, and their copy on their website. And then other platforms that they use to communicate with their customers. How best for them to get in touch with you?

 

Lee Barnathan  18:40  

 

The best way is my website, LeeBarnathan.com, you can email me directly at Lee@Leebarnathan.com.

 

Jay Kingley  18:49  

 

We will put that in the show notes to make it easy for everybody to reach out.

 

Lee Barnathan  18:55  

 

And I can find me on LinkedIn too, because I'm the only Lee Barnathan out there.

Jay Kingley  19:00  

 

Alright, Lee, before we wrap up, this is not your first rodeo. One thing you know about me, you don't get on this show and think you're going to slink away without offering a gift to our listeners, you know, you should have been prepared for this. So no sympathies. I want to know, what is it this time that you can offer for our great audience?

 

Lee Barnathan  19:26  

 

It's going to be a free analysis of your website's product, or service page or pages. We're going to look at them. We're going to see how much storytelling you have on there or don't have a need. I will give a 30 minute consultation after I look at the page. So first I look at the page we set up a time to talk. Then we talk about what I see there. What works, what doesn't work, what can be done what should be done in my opinion.

 

Jay Kingley  20:00  

 

Let's take advantage of Lee's very generous offer cutting. It's something that we can all benefit from. Very good Lee, I want to thank you for being a great guest on our show and to our audience. Let's continue to crush it out there. Till next time.