From what I can tell; most people are terrified of the concept of creating content. They clam up at the notion of writing a blog and actually publishing it. In workshops and meetings; the most common excuses are centered around perfection (their writing ability is not quite up to the same level as they might like), and not knowing what is worthy of posting.
However they have no problem reciting a story of a recent client interaction.
Everybody loves a good story. Stories have been an essential part of human life for likely as long as we have been able to communicate. The combination of words, images, and emotions does something in our brains that lets us remember large amounts of detail quickly, and for a long time.
Few people care about the latest features incorporated into your products because they have no context or frame of reference in their life. Stories help fill those gaps and connect people to products. Great sales professionals not only have hundreds of stories readily available; they know how/when to deploy them to help escort their audiences through a purchasing journey.
The one about the client who began incorporating your services and was able to cut departmental costs by 30% in just 4 months
How about the one where the location manager was very hesitant to make the commitment – after all, your proposal was nearly double what they had in the budget. After nearly 18 months of follow-up and helping combine the budgets of three locations; the deal was signed and results were so incredible that she was promoted to regional manager and was now talking about incorporating your ideas across 15 locations.
Such stories help efficiently build trust and confidence.
To match the purchasing and research patterns of today’s savvy consumers; many of these stories need to be moved from sales into marketing. With a few refinements in format and flow; these stories are ideal for blog posts, white-papers, client-endorsements, even quick social media posts, and engaging content throughout your digital presence.
It is important that you understand that your stories already exist. You don’t need to write them, per se – simply type them out. Take inventory of your stories and categorize them based on function or purpose. Some are better to gain attention or interest. Others build desire and preference. Still others are best for developing/maintaining long relationships.
Business stories are far from fairy-tales. In order to be effective and engaging they MUST be accurate, authentic, and human-centered. Stronger connections happen with less focus on perfection, formality, and ‘political-correctness’.
Some of these stories are best told in the exact words of clients. I keep a file of praise from happy clients – telling me how much working with me has impacted their life/business. They come in a variety of formats; voicemail, email, text message, written letter, personal conversation, and occasionally in video. As you find ways to share these stories, you’ll discover stronger connections and more sales.
Here is a list of important, yet often forgotten stories to share. It is just a starter. Please add more in the comments section.
- How and why the business was started
- Where the business is going
- What each employee/team member likes best about working for the company. Why they joined.
- First client; Best client; Most recent client
- Big impact clients
- Surprise impact (unexpected results from clients)
- What clients like best about working with your company
- How you have fun (or express humanity) within your business
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david r frick is a business artist and founder of SuccessVentures – a consulting
agency focused on helping owners and entrepreneurs through a holistic
approach to building sustainably-growing companies that meet the
needs of contemporary business environments.