In the last two days I had the opportunity to listen to 80 different business owners tell their stories in a period of 60 seconds to 3 minutes. The amount of time varied with the group but the end result was to get the other people present to visit with you after the meeting.
The story you tell, either in front of a group or on a one-on-one basis to a prospective client, determines if the listeners are receptive enough to interact with you and seek you out after the meeting or perhaps agree to consider listening to you as you present your product or service.
I am going to ignore, at least in this blog, the importance of how you dress or how you stand and concentrate on the most important part of storytelling; the content.
Winning in business is a unique proposition. Unlike sports where a final score determines the winner other factors come into play in the game of business. How many times have you lost a sale to someone whom you felt did not have the same great qualifications or product/service knowledge that you possess.
Story telling has been with us since the beginning of time. Traditions and important events were passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth. I’m sure that many stories were told, but only a few important ones survived the test of time. I believe that stories carry more weight with a listener than do a presentation of facts.
The following is a suggested outline for creating a (selling) story:
- Part one: Story should convey achievement or be about being helpful. Telling what you can do is not as powerful as sharing an example of something powerful that you have achieved. This portrays your human side and helps build confidence and trust.
- Part two: Tell your listeners what they want to hear. In the sessions I attended, the listeners wanted to learn how to grow their businesses. Your brand story should match up with what your customers want from you
- Part three: This is all about your personality. Be authentic and weave yourself into the story. Too many people try to be something that they are not.
- Part four: You are the best! Focus on some essential element of your business that differentiates you from your competition.
Write then re-write; practice and practice some more. Story selling, that’s what you do in the business world, not only in person but in all marketing media. This story you are creating serves as the foundation for all your marketing efforts.
In many situations you have only one chance to tell your story; make sure you tell it the right way.
Greatness is not defined by what a person receives, but by what that person gives.