How To Tell a Compelling Business Story: Part 3
Storytelling is a powerful construct for business. Stories connect us as humans. From an early age we learn to listen and share stories. We root for the heroes and remember their challenges along the way. Compelling business stories enable sales and marketing teams to relate to their customers and help them overcome obstacles and realize success.
In part 1 of How to Tell a Compelling Business Story, we established that you need to determine the Hero of your story.
- The Hero is always a human; your customer, your partner, or the end user.
- The Hero of any good story is not a concept or product.
- Your brand is not the Hero.
In part 2, we defined the 7 Elements of Great Storytelling, there needs to be a compelling story
- A Character…
- …Has a Problem…
- …And Meets a Guide…
- …Who Gives Them a Plan…
- …And Calls Them to Action…
- …That Helps Them Avoid Failure….
- …And Ends in Success.
In this last part of the series we’ll focus on one of the 7 elements, the Guide - you and your business.
“The lesson of preindustrial societies is storytelling. All our employees should be storytellers.”
— Anita Roddick, founder & CEO, The Body Shop
We’ve established that your customer is the Hero of your story, looking for a Guide to help to resolve their problem. They are not looking for another Hero, they are the Hero.
A Guide provides experience and authority. Your customer is looking for someone who can show them how to resolve their problem or dilemma.
This is why it’s critical that your messaging focuses on your customer and their experience. They need to know that you understand their particular issues and that you have a solution to resolve their issue and help them avoid failure and ultimately realize success.
As a salesperson or a brand you need to convey two key elements:
As the Guide, you can best express empathy when you understand the challenges, concern and pain the Hero is experiencing. Ask clarifying questions to better understand the project. And then you can articulate your customer’s needs and desires to support a product launch, training or event.
When we empathize with our customers, we build a bond of trust.
Think about the Discover Card television campaign. They featured people calling into a customer service center, talking to a replica of themselves. The take away, Discover Card says “We Treat You Like You'd Treat You.”
What we mean by authority, is experience and success, basically competence. This isn’t about showboating. This is a matter of providing relatable examples of your success. You can do this via:
- Testimonials – have your customers talk about their success as a result of working with you
- Statistics – people remember numbers and facts such as percentage of business growth, ROI on a campaign, reduction in turnaround time
- Awards – include logos from the awards
- Logos – showcase the businesses that you have helped by including their logos on your marketing collateral
As we outlined in part 1, review your website, brochures, direct mail pieces, blogs, and emails. Can your customers answer these three questions?
- What do you offer?
- How will it make my life easier?
- What do I need to do to buy it?
Use an outline that has been successful. The 7 elements outlined above can be found in Building a StoryBrand.
Or reach out to your internal storyteller; someone in marketing, sales or customer support who has enabled your clients to be a Hero for their company. Or engage any number industry consultants that have experience. You’ll see the results.
Wishing you much success in the coming year!
Be well. Be safe.
Kimberly Meyers is the principal at Kimberly Meyers & Associates, a marketing consulting firm. Kimberly is a Marketing VP for hire. She develops marketing solutions based on strategic assessment of her client’s business, sales and marketing requirements. She lives by the philosophy of ensuring the appropriate message and content is delivered to the target audience – always, focusing on customer needs and satisfaction. Kimberly welcomes your connection at firstname.lastname@example.org.