You’ve probably heard the classic “Tale of Two Young Men” Wall Street Journal story. Some consider it the greatest sales letter ever written. It sold $2 billion worth of WSJ subscriptions between 1975-2003. And it’s in almost everyone’s swipe file. For a good analysis, click here.
Essentially, two young men graduated from the same college with similar grades and similar demographics. They went to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company. Twenty-five years later, one managed a small department; one was company president.
The difference? One read the WSJ.
You can read more about the “two paths” format in my book on storytelling, Grow Your Business One Story At A Time. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, which many of us are.
And here’s a challenge. What would your company’s “two paths” story look like?
The template goes like this.
Two services offered X.
Service A did this.
Service B did that.
Service B delivered value far more than Service A.
People who chose. Service B are far better off, in measurable ways.
For instance, several years ago I was getting ready to buy a new home. I talked to two Realtors. Anne, the first agent, did the usual things. She came over, looked at my place, made some “fix-up-to-sell” suggestions, and then began sending me listings of properties.
But then I ran across Mark’s website. Mark didn’t have the usual photo gallery. He wrote about specific buildings where he’d sold homes. It was clear he knew the local market inside out.
After I called Mark, he said, “I’m not going to come visit your place till we’ve done some preliminary work.” He knew several of the buildings I asked about. And he didn’t send me a single listing: he wanted to meet me first.
Guess who’s probably going to be my agent, if I decide to move forward.
Another “two-paths” story comes from a client whose testimonial appears on my Story Consultation page.
To summarize: “I was looking for help with my branding. I wanted to send a consistent message. The first two consultants I hired were focused on branding in the traditional way. It took three months to get my colors.
“Then I hired Cathy. Within 3 minutes after we got on the phone, Cathy figured out the story archetype I needed to build my brand…and I got some copywriting tips for my sales page too.”
That’s my ideal “two paths” story. What’s yours?
Can you come up with two paths — one where most people end up and one where you’re the winner (or where you help someone win big)?
Reply to this message with your own story. How do you feel when you tell this story? Do you sense that you share
It’s a good way to share your story in a professional way without boasting. And it’s a good way to get a fix on the way you’d like your clients to appreciate you.