Before you can expect anyone to buy from you, particularly if you are in a service based business, it is essential to build trust. The best way to do that is to let your target audience into your world by peeling back the layers and offering a little bit of yourself at each and every contact.
Whether you’re introducing yourself before a keynote speech, conducting a workshop or meeting someone for the first time at a networking event you need to be clear on what your story is and be able to tell it succinctly. The same goes for when you’re writing your website About page, a bio for a collaboration, or social media posts – you need to share your story in a way that resonates and demonstrates your expertise.
People buy people. It’s plain, it’s simple, it’s true.
How many personal trainers are there out there, all promising to help you lose weight and keep it off, the easy and fun way? So why would I use one of those trainers over another? Because I know them, like them, trust them. But how do I get to know them? Through social media, their website, their blog, their newsletter…
How many life coaches are there out there, all promising to help you feel better, become more YOU, live the life of your dreams? One may use EFT, one may use NLP, but they’re all promising the same end result using one coaching or healing method or another. So why would I choose one of those practitioners over another? Because I feel comfortable with them, I feel like they have empathy for my situation and therefore I trust them with my stuff. And how do I know they’re a bit like me and therefore ‘get’ where I’m coming from? Because I know their story, I know enough about them to have built rapport before engaging them in a professional sense.
People learn from stories
It’s not for nothing that we teach young children how to speak, count, make sense of the world, understand their feelings, by telling them stories. If we put step by step instructions on a card and simply read them out, they wouldn’t retain the information half as well. Stories help people remember information because the key points come to life in colour, picture and character. The lessons become real and relatable, and in turn, the storyteller does too.
By sharing your story on how you got to where you are, why you made the decisions you made, who were the people who influenced you (for better or worse), you become real to your potential customers. You are not a faceless name behind a brand, behind the marketing speak. Humans crave authenticity and connection and storytelling is a wonderful way to demonstrate these qualities.
Where do you start?
Think back to where it all began for you. What were your thoughts? Who were you with? What did you learn? Was there a particular defining moment for you? Was there something obvious that happened to you either personally or professionally that shifted your course or encouraged a particularly big decision? Why are you the expert? What have you learnt from your experiences? These are the questions you need to ask yourself; by answering them honestly you’ll begin to see how and why you are on the trajectory you are. And that is a huge step on the path to being able to articulate your value and purpose. Once you can articulate those things, you become the teacher or expert. And when you become the teacher, you draw the right people towards your business.
Making your story relevant
Take a look through both your personal and professional experiences and ask yourself ‘when did I, or someone I know, step up and do something special?’ What were the circumstances around the experience? What were the fears? When you find a moment, have a think about what the message behind that moment is. The objective is to find the truth of each story and convey this message to your audience in a way that is relevant to them. Don’t use jargon, don’t talk about multiple stories and messages, just tackle one at a time. Ask yourself: ‘what do I want people to do differently than they are currently doing? Can I demonstrate that message through this story?’
It stands to reason of course that you actually KNOW what your audience wants. You need to understand their desires, fears, drivers and passions before you can make your stories relevant. Once you know these things, you need to look carefully at you stories and see what part will work for them. Your message should hit on one of their touch points so that you can motivate them to take action. Always be asking yourself: ‘what can they learn from my story?’
The next steps
You need to have absolute clarity around your own story before you can use it in your marketing or present it as part of a keynote speech. Without it, you will ramble. Craft your story, refine it, speak it out, write it out, then do it again. Each revision will bring clarity. Writing as you speak will help your story flow – it will remove the academic nature of your language that can make a story sound stilted or forced. Keep it short – just a couple of minutes is enough – as this will create the most impact. Then practise saying it over and over again.
We all have our own story. In fact, it is the only unique thing that sets us apart from another person and sets our business apart from one in the same niche. Uncover yours, understand the lessons, make it relevant to your audience, then unleash it upon the world.