A couple of years ago, I was consulting with a business owner recently who has a gift for seeing the story, the message in everything that his business does. You might find that hard to believe if you knew his business. He cleans. You know, offices, homes, dorms, new construction. Bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, toilets. Where’s the vision in that, right? It’s nicer to have clean than dirty but how on earth do you engage people with a story about a clean bathroom or dormitory room?
Here’s the secret; you get inside the skin and the heart of the people who are going to experience your product and imagine what would make them feel happy, comforted and special. Then you position your product in such a way that your client knows that you care about them. When he has a job cleaning 2,000 (yes you read that right, two thousand) dorm rooms for a local university prior to students arriving on the first week of school, he doesn’t just have his techs clean the rooms, he leaves behind in each room, a roll of toilet paper, a couple of mints and a card welcoming them to school. “Think about it,” he tells me. “Many of those students are freshmen and they are arriving with their parents for their first time experience of living away from home. Many have been traveling a distance to get there. How do you think they feel? Do they want to come into a room that is clean but sterile? Or do they want to feel like they’ve arrived home?” Brilliant. See what I mean about finding the story?
Here’s how to tell an engaging story or create an inspirational vision around your business:
Identify the villain– Is it clutter? Misunderstanding? Lack of time? Feeling like an outsider? Ask: what is the challenge that your ideal customer faces?
Create tension- Don’t just identify the villain. Express the tension and give voice to the pain that it creates. I recently listened to an organizational coach give a talk on her business and she was a master at creating a story with tension. Her slide show about her business not only had pictures of offices and what they looked like when she arrived, she also described the panic, the frustration, the hopelessness of the client. There was nervous laughter in the room as people recognized themselves in her story.
End the story with a solution: Be sure to provide closure in the end that leaves the listener reassured and comforted. They should feel hopeful and energized about their future and how your product or service will change their life.
Now its your turn. What is the story that you can create around your business? Let me know in the comment section below.
Wow! Lynne’s expertise in personality styles, mindset and priority management is a powerful combination. The interactive and personalized format was engaging and gave me tools I can use and actions I can take right away. I am able to more clearly articulate what my business is (What do you do?) and who it serves (Who is your ideal client?), and I have come away with a system for building my business (How do I do it?) ~Erin Shaw
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