“Storytelling for business” topics tend to focus on how we use stories for marketing. But stories can be even more important in understanding the direction we want our businesses to take.
Sometimes we use business storytelling to play detective before beginning the copywriting process. And we work with stories that never get shared.
When I put together my side hustle program, I interviewed Melanie Yost, a former psychotherapist who’s now a performance coach. She helps business owners grow their business by helping them overcome blocks and resistance. She also runs a horse-based personal development program, which I attended a few years ago and recommend highly.
One of Melanie’s favorite questions is, “What’s your story?”
For instance, someone says, “I never seem to get past the first meeting with a client.” Melanie says, “That’s your story.”
According to Melanie, stories are the way we put facts together, based on such experiences as the news media, social convention, or childhood upbringing. You can listen to Melanie’s story about how she’s grown her career and business.
When writing copy it’s also critical to understand the story your prospect tells himself or herself.
You can write especially strong copy when you understand the story she’s telling herself when she reads your page where you’re promoting a business system.
For instance, suppose your prospect is thinking, “I can’t be successful in business because I didn’t go to college.”
Her story is, “Only college graduates succeed in business.” So she won’t buy your product because she believes, “It won’t make a difference. I can’t be successful without a degree.”
Now she’s got a solid objection to buying your program If indeed your program helps mostly college graduates, you’d need to present the facts honestly. But if you’ve had many clients who were college dropouts, and you know this belief is holding them back, you can address the belief directly.
You might have a headline like, “Not For College Graduates Only” Or, “Build your business successfully (even if you dropped out of college and never considered yourself a student).”
In his book Tell To Win, Peter Guber shows how a customer’s story might come from a backstory. For instance, a producer needed to get Alice Walker’s approval to produce her book, The Color Purple, as a stage play. Guber coached the producer to expect resistance. Alice had gotten a negative backlash from the black community after the book was produced as a movie. The producer needed to address Alice’s backstory — not directly, but with a new story.
Business owners rarely have access to individual backstories when developing copy for websites and sales letters. But sometimes you can identify common backstories. For instance, Christina Hills targets prospects to have backstories related to building websites. Those backstories have a common theme: high expectations followed by disappointing results. You can see excellent examples on her sales page for her spring program via my affiliate link.
What are the deeply held assumptions that shape your prospects? What are their stories?
Would you like some help as you strengthen your message and get compelling copy? We’ll talk about your client’s backstory (and anything else related to your marketing) during the story version of my “borrow my brain” consultation. Click here to learn more and get started.
FREE Download: 3 Mistakes Most Business Owners Make With Storytelling. Click here for immediate access.