Susan: “I got stuck in traffic for three hours last night and thought I’d go crazy.”

Kevin: “Me too, but it gave me a chance to catch up on my training CDs. And you won’t believe what happened when I...”

Susan and Kevin are storytellers. So is everyone—including you. If you master the art of storytelling, you’ll be unstoppable in network marketing.

Telling people something about yourself and hearing them mirror their similar experiences is such a normal part of everyday conversation that most people hardly realize they’re expert storytellers. Think about what’s happening: what I tell you about myself triggers something in your mind about yourself. You open up, you identify with my experience, you resonate, and you remember my story. We’re connecting at an emotional level, heart to heart—and you momentarily set aside the usual defenses.

This same process unfolds when you tell your network marketing story to a prospect or a group. If you’re the slightest bit uncomfortable with this basic practice of our profession, relax! You’re highly experienced. Now make it work for your business. Consciously craft your story, find ways to keep it fresh, and stay on the lookout for new stories to add as you go.

Many people feel their story isn’t enough unless it’s an amazing rags-to-riches drama. Here’s what I know: no matter what your story is, it’s enough. If you already have a success record, and you present the what, when, why, and how of it as examples others can follow, that’s enough.

Or, if you’re just getting started, your story is your current life situation, your why for choosing this business. It’s about the benefits you’re receiving or expecting. You have intent and vision. This attracts likeminded people to you. And that’s enough.

The point is, no matter where you are on your network marketing journey, your story provides the personal connection, the hope, and the real-life inspiration people want, need, and even yearn for.

The components of any story are exposition, conflict, decision, and resolution. What was your situation? What caused you to make such-and-such decision? What was the result or what outcome do you expect? This doesn’t have to be rocket science. Keep it simple.

Think problem-solution. Your story inherently contains solutions and lessons for your audience. It also contains opportunities to overcome objections, and ways to allay fears. “I was afraid of talking to people until I realized I’m offering them a gift.” “I never would have considered this type of business until I fell in love with the product and couldn’t stop talking about it everywhere.” “I could see that my financial outlook was improving.”

Think fresh. Be a gatherer of stories. Look for new stories all the time. What’s happening to you or a team member right now that could benefit your audience? What stories can you gather from seasoned networkers, including those at the top? What wealth of stories can you uncover from people of wide-ranging backgrounds who have recently entered the profession? Look for the real-life examples that can inspire your prospects about getting started right, about how network marketing has changed lives, and about the potential rewards of persistence and determination. Build an archive of stories to draw on.

Think analogies. They’re the magic that makes a story or a key point memorable. Look for analogies in nature. My favorite analogy about prospecting, recruiting, persistence, and patience is: “There is a sowing season and a reaping season—and they are not the same season. You never know when the harvest will come. You just need to keep planting.”

The best way to start? Just do it! Be willing to begin imperfectly. Infuse your story with passion. How? Simply relive it every time you tell it. The more you speak it, the more effective you and your story will become.

Stay alert to how your audience responds and what causes their responses. When people become emotional, you know you’re communicating. Being aware of how your stories land will help you gain valuable insights about your marketplace, your performance, and the effectiveness of your story.

People may question company facts, but they can’t refute your heartfelt story. All of this marks the differences between a story and a pitch. You can pitch the company and product head to head, or you can weave some of that data into your personal story and make the heart and mind connection that so often results in prospects closing themselves.

MARGIE ALIPRANDI is a 26-year network marketing veteran with a team of over 250,000 people spanning 29 countries. She is an international speaker/trainer, bestselling author of How to Get Absolutely Anything You Want, and coauthor with Martha Finney of the bestselling Best Worst First.