If you’ve been on the planet in the last few years, you probably why you need to use stories in business. Humans are hard-wired to create narratives. Stories engage your readers and keep them listening. You can’t be a business owner without telling stories.
You’ve probably also heard that the most powerful form of storytelling is the hero’s journey. In this journey, you show how you faced a problem you desperately needed to solve.
Maybe you …
… had been on a dozen diets that failed till you discovered this one.
… had lost jobs and dating opportunities until you learned how to dress for success.
… had hit bottom in your business till you discovered one strategy that brought you wealth (as well as more time to enjoy it).
These stories can be incredibly compelling, but they rarely make you sales.
For one thing, you may not have one of these stories to share.
… you just don’t have a great story or maybe a story at all. What if you’re a great cardiologist who never had a heart attack?
… you’re a coach, not a player. You coach teams to championships but you were a bench player with limited minutes.
… you can’t afford the risk of telling your story. The details might embarrass your family. Your lawyer and accountant advise you to keep quiet.
I’m in this category myself. I’m a coach rather than a player. I don’t always share the details of my life. And people rarely relate to my own life stories. Luckily, I’ve discovered they’re often the least useful type of story for your marketing strategy.
So what kinds of stories will bring you clients and sales?
Some people actually make up stories.
“Dorothy” claims she was going bankrupt three years ago–until she found the secret that turned her business around.
Alas, I remember Dorothy. I looked back in my emails and confirmed my memories: she was doing very well. She’d just sold a business for a sizeable sum. One of her big-ticket products was selling from a sales page, week after week. Dorothy loses credibility every time she shares her pseudo-journey.
There’s a better way. These 3 types of stories will build your brand, your business, and your base of clients.
Tell stories of success.
How did you help that client? How did you turn around that business? These stories focus on your client – not you. They actually help brand you by demonstrating how you work and what you deliver.
I encourage all my clients to come up with at least 3 success stories that will become the foundation of their marketing and their brand.
Show how your passion makes you uniquely qualified to help others.
You might have become extremely frustrated when you saw clients who were harmed by their experiences with more common cookie-cutter solutions. You tossed the cookie cutter and carved out a new program.
For instance, I became frustrated with stories of solopreneurs who paid large sums for “branding programs” that took three months and gave them colors and fonts.
Or you realized many people were suffering needlessly because they didn’t realize solutions were available. They lost money, time, or energy for no good reason.
For instance, a financial planner realized newly-divorced women were often clueless about money. They often signed up with sharks who were all too eager to devour every dime.
So this planner created a business specializing in meeting the needs of divorced women–a combination of sensitivity, deep knowledge of financial instruments, and ability to work with each individual’s risk tolerance and lifestyle.
Or you might have built a successful business. You focused on helping people manage their lives, not their money or business.
Soon people began asking you, “How did you build a client base in a competitive industry?” You were so passionate about helping, you began delivering help for free. Now you’re a business coach who helps others build successful practices.
Tell stories to explain what you offer.
It’s not always easy to explain what you do, especially since many services we offer simply didn’t exist ten or twenty years ago.
A web developer might tell a story of a home decorator who found new ways to show off the owner’s personality, find places to hold all the important stuff after they downsized, and knew where to go to find one-of-a-kind furnishings at a reasonable price. “That’s what I do for your home on the web,” he might say.
Or suppose you’re helping clients build marketing funnels. You tell a story of a handyman who showed up asking for work. He first hung a few pictures for a very small sum. Then he painted a room. In just a few weeks, he was building a deck. That’s how a funnel might work, you say.
Choosing a story to support your strategy isn’t always easy.
If your inbox is anything like mine, I’m betting you find many stories truly cringe-worthy.
On the other hand, every so often I hear a story that’s so spot-on, I want to learn more. I want access to whatever that business owner’s clients are enjoying.
Most importantly, I remember that business owner. Their story has become their brand, in a way that colors and fonts can never accomplish.
Learn more next Tuesday during our free webinar (recording available):
“3 Keys To Differentiate Your Services So Clients Won’t Settle For Anybody Else”
You’ve probably been advised to “be different” and “stand out from the pack.” But what does that mean in a practical sense? Learn how stories help you differentiate your business in a meaningful way that resonates with your clients. Click here to learn more and register.
Join me in a one-to-one consultation to discover the best story to simplify your marketing and get more results with less effort. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Or reach out if you’d like to explore some of the ways we can work together to build your business in a satisfying, low-pressure way. http://cathygoodwin.com/contact