Professional Services Marketing
We know how fairy tales end: they live happily ever after.
We know murder mysteries end with “case closed.”
In romance novels, two people become a couple. Never mind political correctness. It’s what the audience wants.
These are genres.
Business stories also fit into a genre, which means they follow a structure. As with other genre stories, readers and listeners expect to find this structure, consciously or unconsciously. If you violate the structure, they complain.
Your selling story ends with a transformation. A good selling story moves FROM a starting point TO a transformation.
==> Check out the Strategic Storytelling podcast episode #99 for more examples of transformation in stories.
Start with the goal.
Look at Cinderella. I’ve talked elsewhere about how Cinderella isn’t a good marketing story. But let’s make a few revisions.
Cinderella really wants to go to the ball.
To make this a marketing story it has to be from the godmother’s perspective…She’s positioning herself as someone who helps clients reach their goals. So she would talk about how much Cinderella wanted to go to the ball. She’d talk about using her special powers to get Cinderella the horse-drawn coach, slippers, and gown.
And the story would end with her success at the ball – she made it, she caught the eye of a prince, she achieved her goal.
If her goal was to meet the prince we’d tell the story differently. We’d have more about how she went, she met the prince and she achieved her goal of marrying royalty to escape her home. She was transformed from a drudge to a princess…and a confident young woman.
More realistically, let’s consider a life coach who wants more clients. Does she want more clients or does she want to sell more products? Does she want to be more productive with her time?
Does a financial advisor want more clients? Or more clients with a certain net worth?
Does a therapist want more high-end clients who can self-pay without insurance?
Make it a TO not a FROM.
Think of the transformation as creating a vision board for the client and saying you’ll help them get there.
I hate stories about retirement…because it’s all about FROM. Leaving work. No more commuting. It’s not about what they’ve left behind.
When you tell a selling story … you don’t end with “and now they don’t have to put up with demanding clients, working late hours and loss of sleep.”
You emphasize how they’re working with good clients and the rewards…increased revenue, time with family.
Make the story come alive.
Share specific details. One business consultant set up her business to take 3 months off in summer. She shares details of her time at the beach and her playtime with the children. You can imagine yourself there, near the water, splashing away.
I’ve always been fascinated by motivation to exercise. That’s probably because I hated all my gym classes in high school and college, but became a card-carrying gym goer sometime in my twenties. A friend met me for lunch in New York. She “forgot” to tell me we were going to take an exercise class first. And after just one class, I was hooked.
Today I saw an email from Ian Brodie, another Educator Archetype marketer I’ve admired for years. He was asking about researcher Michelle Segar and her message: Don’t try to do something you’ll hate now in order to get longer-term benefits. It won’t work. Find something to enjoy about exercise now.
And that reminded me of a research project I co-authored many years ago. We found that people who exercised for their own gratification (such as feeling good afterwards) stayed with the program; those who wanted to lose ten pounds for a wedding fell by the wayside. I work out for the social component and for pure vanity .
The same principles apply to marketing. If you really detest the ‘one best way” to do something, you’ll get more results when you try the “second best way.” You’ll do it. You won’t resent doing it. There has to be a fun component of the work or the short-term reward.
Many business owners find themselves seeking motivation for content creation – anything from blog posts to sales letters to websites. We all know it’s the most critical part of our marketing but it’s also the most frustrating…and it doesn’t get easier.
One way to make a writing task more enjoyable is to combine it with storytelling. Working on a book? Find a story to open each chapter. Writing an article? See if you can come up with a story that makes the writing easier. Looking for consistency? Start with your story archetype.
Ultimately your story has to relate to your business purpose. But sometimes a story can give you inspiration so you find yourself thinking of other stories that seem even more relevant. Or you release the story did its job – you did the writing! – and you don’t need it anymore.
This approach may seem a little too simple or even hokey, but it’s actually a way of warming up your brain. “I used to dread marketing,” one of my clients wrote in a testimonial for the Strategic Intensive session.
Meanwhile, you can apply the code COACHGUIDE50 to reduce the price of the current course by 50%. Click here to learn more and apply the coupon. Good for just a few more hours this evening.