I’m currently reading and taking notes from Tell to Win (amazon affiliate link), by Peter Guber. The big premise of the book is that if you learn how to tell a better story, a compelling story, then it will get you much further than numbers alone, or the straightforward facts. As I’ve been revising how I do my professional speaking, this kind of work has been on my mind.
But it applies to you. Most companies, if they tell the story of their business, tell only the “origin” story. “Grandma had a great idea for a cookie back in 1929, and from there, we’ve built the business into a global company dedicated to bringing the best cookies ever.” Well great. Except that’s a fairly brief synopsis, and it doesn’t tell the story of now very well. So, what would it mean to tell your story?
What Story Do People Want?
Even when you’re telling the story of you, people want to see themselves in that story. When I talk about my struggles on the way to building my business, people pay attention to the parts where they can draw comfort from the fact that I wasn’t always successful. They react when I talk about how I couldn’t even pay the bills some months. They see themselves in those moments, and they see bits of hope because maybe that’s where they are in their telling of their own story: at the hard parts.
Above all, I believe people want the story that helps them relate to you and your business.
What else do they want? They want the story of how your products and services will make them the hero. When I see a car commercial and it tells me about fuel efficiency or 0% APR financing, I think of it as such a waste. I know that we want these things from the practical side, but that’s not what sells us on a car, is it? When you see the Mini Cooper, you might think, “Boop boop. I’m a kind of hip person and this is a kind of hip car.” When you see the Ford F250, you think, “I do tough work and I need a tough truck.” Whatever the story, you want to identify with that vehicle as it applies to your own story.
Other Stories to Tell
People love the “how things are made” stories. In Tallahassee, I learned about BevShots from Lester Hutt. He sells beautiful images of the crystals left by different alcoholic spirits. You’ve got to see them to get what I’m talking about. But when you hear about it, you can’t help but appreciate how cool the idea is, and learning how they came about makes it more interesting to want to own them.
People love the “rags to riches” story, especially if the “riches” part is tempered by showing off what a “regular guy” you still are. People also love the “rags to riches to charitable works” story, where you show off just how you’re giving back to the world around you, now that you’ve made it.
And there are many other stories that are useful to those who want to do business with you.
Stories Are A Learning Opportunity
Quite often, we learn through hearing a story. You can hear someone say “don’t text and drive,” but when you hear the story of a promising 17-year-old football hopeful who looked down to see who texted, only to fly off the road, hit a tree, and vanish from this earth, it changes how you consider the information. Stories can give us an emotional connection to data. Stories can compel us to reinforce our opinion, or to shift our perspective. And from that, we can then be further educated.
So, with that in mind, what stories have you told or can you tell about your business? What story would help people better understand you? What story from a movie or a book resonates strongly with what you believe in for yourself? And how will that help you?