3 Timeless Elements of Storytelling That Will Grow Your Business

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I run a digital marketing agency. If we are able to track a client’s revenue and link it to the ads we run (an e-commerce client, for example), we can tell them – first hand – how much they make in revenue for every dollar they spend on advertisements. If that sounds like a numbers game…it is. But when I tell clients, I can’t guide with numbers.

When I refer a client, I don’t tell them we can generate $34.12 for every $1.00 they spend on ads. Surprisingly, that doesn’t seal the deal. Don’t get me wrong, the numbers are important, and I share numbers in every pitch I make, but that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is numbers, or any other data I might share, is whether or not I can tell a good story.

In fact, the number of clients attracted. They are just a box to check. If I start speaking numbers too much, the client’s eyes will glaze over, and I can see that what they want to say to me, “Yes, yes, the numbers are good enough, I see yes, check the box, move Now, tell me a story!” It’s not that they’re looking for any story, they’re looking for a story they can identify with. They want a story that shows that my agency has worked with someone like them before and we got great results. But that’s not all they want. Here are three elements that should be included in your story to convince your clients that they want to work with you:

Related: Harnessing the Power of Storytelling to Transform Your Business for the Better

Story Feature #1: Hero

In his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, author Joseph Campbell laid out what we all now call “The Hero’s Journey.” To simplify, the hero is comfortable at home, when suddenly there is a call to adventure. He leaves home, faces challenges, overcomes obstacles and returns home a changed person. This story is told over and over again in books and movies, oh The Hobbit to Star wars to Harry Potter.

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However, while every story needs a hero, the mistake many entrepreneurs make is to assume that they or their company is the hero. As Donald Miller explains in his book Building a StoryBrand“When we put our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenges.”

Your customer is Bilbo Baggins, and you are Gandalf. You are the Obi-wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker. You are Dumbledore, and your customer is Harry Potter.

This technique has helped at least one entrepreneur raise over $8 billion for her clients. “Most firms in our industry go into a meeting with all that polished pitch, me, me, me,” says Stacy Havener, CEO of Havener Capital Partners, an agency that helps investment boutiques build, launch and sell funds. to grow. “We’re flipping the script. When we help our clients raise money, we tell them to expect the hero.” Havener explained that, in one case, the strategy promised a $10 million commitment after just one initial meeting.

Related: 8 Tips to Help Deliver Your Story

Story Element #2: Challenge

There is no more boring story than, “We wanted to do XYZ, so we went to work, and we did it.” Where’s the excitement in that?!

Entrepreneurs are tempted to tell this kind of story because we don’t want to admit that we ever face challenges. We want the client to believe that if they work with us, everything will go flawlessly, without a single hitch. However, when we leave this important aspect out of our story, we are not only hiding the truth, but we are shooting ourselves in the foot because we want a great opportunity to show the client something important about ourselves – that we know how to overcome. challenges.

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Juliana Garcia has helped business coaches generate millions in income using her trademarked technique, which she calls “Elegant Vulnerability®”, to share their challenges. “You don’t have to have the perfect story or hide the parts of your story you’re embarrassed to share,” she says. “You don’t have to be perfect for your clients. When you share your own challenges, you appear as a relatable human authority. This helps clients gain a deeper sense of trust, and they are willing to pay you more.”

According to Garcia, there is an ideal ratio when you share your challenges. “A balance of 50% personal stories to be relatable and 50% business coaching to show you are a true expert. High paying clients come to you when they relate to who you are and at the same time feel you will get results.”

This is the future of online storytelling. A reasonable client expects that there will be challenges, but they want to know that when you face one, you will overcome it quickly. There’s no better way to show a client that you care about them, no matter what, than to tell them a story about when you overcame a big challenge.

Related: 5 Ways to Benefit from Sharing Your Story of Struggle

Story Feature #3: Lesson

What is the third element in crafting your winning entrepreneurial story? “Victory, of course!” I’m sorry, no. Talking about how you faced a challenge and overcame it can be helpful, but it is far less important than talking about the lesson you learned from the challenge.

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Ever heard someone ask, “What’s the moral of the story?” A person who was famous for including lessons in his stories was Aesop, a Greek slave born around 620 BC. Aesop’s fables, include “The Fox and the Grapes,” “The Hare and the Tortoise” and “The Goose and the Golden Egg.” In each story, Aesop included a lesson — something practical that the listener could easily learn and apply in their own lives.

To include a lesson in your story, it’s not designed to teach your customer a lesson they can apply so much as to show them that if something goes wrong while working with you, you’re smart enough to it is enough not only to fix it but to do it. sure it won’t happen again. Ironically, by sharing your past challenges or mistakes, you build the client’s trust in you.

My business is very personal as I sell services to clients. You can sell products and not know your customers. However, storytelling is key to fueling your growth because whether you’re working with clients or customers or selling services or products, people do business with businesses they know, like and trust them. Nothing I’ve found helps people get to know you, like you and develop trust in you more than telling stories that include the customer as a hero, an exciting challenge and a lesson learned from facing the challenge. Try incorporating this type of storytelling into your marketing and sales strategy, and see how your customers rally around you.

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