Whatever your business, you have a story to tell, writes Robert Clay of Marketing Wizdom. Your story is the key component in fully and deeply educating your marketplace about what you do.
It brings out the uniqueness of your business, sets you apart from your competition and dramatically increases the chances that prospects will do business with you. Your story is also one of the most important ways to outsell, outsmart and outperform your toughest competition.
If you don’t know me, I specialise in helping entrepreneurs turn any good business into a great business. And any great business into one of the leaders in its niche. And that’s why I’m often known as a business transformer.
Ultimately, my mission is to demystify marketing for you and give you insights into a series of low-risk/high-return marketing strategies. Ones that deliver your vision and the outcomes you’re seeking. And to do so more rapidly, and with less pain, so that you don’t have to figure out all the answers for yourself.
The Power of a Story
Let’s say you spot a newspaper headline on an article about a travel destination that you know nothing about. And it’s one about which you have no more than passing interest. But as you start reading the article you find you’re more and more enthralled about everything you’re reading. The place itself, its people, culture, scenery, climate and magnificent buildings.
By the time you’ve read the article you decide you want to visit the place. You may decide to book a trip right away, or within 12 months, or perhaps in the next five years. Or sometime before you die.
The point is, do you believe it’s possible in a single reading of a well-written article to go from passing interest, at the most, to actually wanting to experience what the article describes?
A single reading of a well written “behind-the-scenes” story can take your prospects several rungs up the buying ladder in a single step. And that dramatically speeds up their decision-making process.
And if mere ink on paper can have such a powerful effect, why aren’t we all using that power every day in everything we do?
Take People Behind the Scenes
Whatever your business, I guarantee your prospects and clients don’t begin to understand everything you know about your product, service, business or profession. If they did they’d either be your clients already, or they’d be doing a lot more business with you than they are.
The reason they haven’t purchased yet, or at the level they could, is because they’re unsure. They may not understand …
- how your product or service benefits them.
- all the implications.
- all the opportunities.
- The many ways to avoid problems.
- How they can get the best possible outcome by using your product or service.
They may be uncertain of the suitability of your product or service to their situation. Unaware of what performance they can expect from it. How much benefit they’ll derive from it. Or why it’s more appropriate or desirable than someone else’s.
You overcome these issues by telling your story. Take your clients and prospects behind-the-scenes in your business. Educating them better than anyone else does about what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. And tell them what makes you better and how you go the extra mile.
Your behind-the-scenes story should do all of these things. As such it can play a critical part in your marketing success. Yet less than one business in a thousand has ever developed such a story. But the ones that do are often catapulted from obscurity to market leadership in their field.
What Your Story Will Do for You
Your story, once completed, will revolutionise the way that you, your team, and your prospective clients will perceive and understand your business. It’ll dramatically speed up your prospects’ decision making processes. Your existing clients will do a lot more business with you. And it will give you a sound basis for dominating your marketplace.
Best of all, you can put your story to work in front of tens, hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of people simultaneously. Without spending a lot of money. And with far better results than you could achieve using any other method.
Putting together your story also allows everyone in your team to understand and communicate what you do from the same perspective. It allows everyone to buy into your values. And to deliver according to those values. It will often promote passion for what you do. And it should form the basis for virtually every marketing message you’ll ever need to communicate.
Your story should explicitly set out everything you do and how and why you do it. If you don’t have a compelling story to tell, your potential clients will likely get different stories from different people they speak to. This sends out an inconsistent and confused message. And when that happens, they simply go elsewhere.
Here is a story that was used by one my financial adviser clients. It helped them transform their business from a single-branch to a nationwide chain.
IFA … Behind The Scenes
If the words ‘pension’ or ‘investment’ still bring to mind things like double glazing salesmen, then it’s about time you were able to say, “I’m a client of xyz, a company I can really trust”
Before we are able to give you advice, we must have the opportunity to meet with you. You need to know how your adviser will work with you. What they can do and what they can’t. And why you won’t be asked for a cheque for your investment to be made payable to xyz.
To give you the advice you deserve we’ll also want to know as much of your financial history as possible. This is because we want to be certain that the advice you get is accurate and does not relate to only part of your financial picture. We’ll want to know what your expectations are for your future, as each and every one of us is different.
Researching the Market For You
You can be sure we’ll go to great lengths to analyse this information. We’ll research the financial services market for you, using every available means of technology linking us to the various markets. We’ll research the financial press and trade magazines. And we’ll speak with independent financial bodies to ensure you’ve a full picture of what is available for your personal needs.
Frankly, it can take days to get this information. But we’ll always negotiate the best possible terms for you with each and every provider, so you’ll benefit personally.
The information we’ve gathered to serve you will be collated. A report will be prepared for you explaining why we believe that certain products meet your requirements and why others don’t. What’s more, you’ll see the benefits this will give you. And you’ll understand how the contract actually works in plain English, and how this fits in with your future plans. We’ll also explain to you how and whether tax relief is available or payable. Or indeed whether you’re exempt from tax.
But it doesn’t end there. You’ll meet with us again (and as often as you like) to ensure that you understand why recommendations have been made. And to ensure that you are 100% delighted with the advice you’ve been given. And at this point…
…when you (and only you) are happy, we’ll put in place the recommendations you now accept and understand. You’ll also see how the contract is charged, and how we are remunerated and by how much. Nothing will be hidden from you. We want you to feel comfortable working with us, and happy to call us at any time for advice.
Liaising With Your Providers
Does this mean matters have been concluded? Far from it. Each and every form you complete will then be passed from your adviser at xyz to their administrator. They’ll deal with your paperwork and liaise with both yourself and your product providers. This is to ensure that all of the recorded information is accurate.
They’ll make up your personal file with all of your information. They’ll also liaise with your relevant providers, and continually chase to ensure that your acceptance terms, policy documents and relevant certificates are sent to you with the minimum of delay.
After this has happened, your adviser will write to you to once again confirm the recommendations that have been made to you, so you personally have written evidence on your own file. We’ll also agree a future date for a meeting, whether in 6 or 12 months, to ensure the advice you’ve been given is still relevant to your circumstances.
Why do we go to so much trouble? Because we’d like you to have an enjoyable future and for you to be able to say, “My adviser at xyz has been responsible for my financial security.
Your Story Should Be The Basis For All Your Marketing Activities
When you tell a story like this your prospects instantly understand what it’s like to do business with you. Even if everyone in your industry does these things, your prospects now KNOW that you do. But they have no idea if anyone else does the same. So many people in business just expect prospects to understand these things without ever telling them!
The more people understand what your product, service or company can do for them, the more comfortable and confident they will be about doing business with you. And the faster they’ll decide to buy.
So tell a story that takes people behind the scenes in your business. And use it as the basis for all of your marketing activities.
The sooner you do that, the sooner:
- you convert prospects into clients
- they will become advocates
- you get everyone in your team to sing from the same song sheet
- you’ll outsell, outsmart and outperform your toughest competition
There’s so much more I could say about the power of story telling; the many different types of story you can tell; and the extraordinary results that can follow. I’ll be covering these things in a lot more depth in future seminars, workshops and posts.
For now, here are a few things you should consider and build-in to your story.
- What’s the process your customers go through from A-Z, starting with the time they first contact you to the time they become a customer? How can you help them visualise the experience of dealing with your business in advance of experiencing it for real?
- What fears, frustrations, concerns and issues do your customers typically experience when deciding to buy your products or services? How can you overcome those issues before they arise?
- What do you routinely do in your business that you never tell people about? In what ways do you go the extra mile? What things really impress your customers once they’re aware of them?
If you can answer these questions and weave them into a story it will set you apart from your competition and compel many more people to buy from you.
Please share your thoughts and add your questions to the comments below. I’ll try to provide as many answers as possible in my future online videos, seminars, workshops, masterclasses and blog posts.
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