What are your stories, and how can you use them to build your business?
We all have stories. You have your successes and the abysmal failures, your origin stories and funny anecdotes. Stories are the vehicles of emotion – joy, sorrow, anger, commitment and more.
Emotion builds connection, connection builds relationships and relationships can build your business.
There are four basic rules for business stories.
Rule One: Tell the truth. This is not the place for inventive fantasies or tall tales elaborations. The purpose of business stories is to build connection and trust. Be honest. You have ample engaging stories to choose from, without resorting to subterfuge.
Rule Two: Keep it positive. Even if it was the worst disaster ever, find and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Listeners don’t want to hear you complaints and whining.
Rule Three: It’s not about you. The stories may include you, but they’re not about you. The stories should instead draw in the listener, who should be thinking, “This could have been me.”
Rule Four: Know your purpose. You’re telling a story to build your business. The story should reveal something about you or your capabilities. But remember Rule Three – it’s not about you. You are the agent and the catalyst, but the hero of the story is your customer or client.
Topics to Build Your Business:
Share stories about your personal interests, purpose, professional background, successes, or potential services.
Personal Interests: Share just a bit of your non-business interests or passions. If you know you share an interest or experience with your listener, you can use a personal interest story to further connect. Pets, hobbies, kids, previous occupations, sports, favorite places, home towns, and nostalgic “do you remember” topics fall into this category.
Purpose: Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose in business? What is your passion? What are your goals? What inspires you? Share your enthusiasm and demonstrate your commitment.
Professional background: You know what you’ve done and what you know; your new acquaintance does not. Mention relevant experiences and training, in the context of how you’ve helped customers or clients.
Successes: Success is golden. Share stories of how you’ve helped others succeed, and how this might relate to your audience. Let them see the possibilities.
Potential services: Once you have an idea of your listener’s needs, share an exploratory story or two. Tell how you how you helped someone in a similar situation. Your story can highlight your expertise, and encourage dialogue to help you zero in on the individual’s specific needs.
Use Your Stories:
Stories carry power. They evoke emotion and stay in your listeners’ memories. Know your stories and use them to effectively build your business.