OK, be honest. Have you ever let these words seep out of your mouth?
- “Personal stories make me look unprofessional”
- “None of my competitors share personal stories. I’m worried I’ll look weird.”
- “My stories aren’t relevant to what I do”
Stop! Enough of the excuses. I have one word for you. Well, actually it’s more like 2 letters:
Stories sell. Regardless of industry, niche or the size of your business. Your customers can’t get enough of a compelling story.
So if you’ve caught yourself whining about why they won’t work for you, here are 4 bloody good reasons why personal stories have the power to transform your business (even if your competitors think you’re crazy):
1) Stories keep you on track
In the words of Maya Angelou:
“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”
Now you don’t have to be a bad-ass campaigner for human rights to take note.
What Maya’s trying to say to you is this. If you don’t know the stories that led you to do what you do, you have NO PURPOSE.
And a business with no purpose is like Paw Patrol without a mission. With no clear direction, you’re like an over-keen puppy running round in circles, yapping at strangers.
By understanding the key stories from your past you’ll understand WHY you do what you do. Your BIG WHY is what will help you get clear on your vision for the future.
Take Tesla, for example.
Elon Musk’s vision is to create a future where we can live an awesome life without burning fossil fuels. His fascination with big ideas around science and engineering came from his childhood and members of his family.
Everything he does moves him towards that vision. Whether its high-performance electric cars, self-driving lorries or solar sells that don’t look totally hideous stuck on your roof.
And that vision helps connect him to like-minded people who share the same sense of purpose. It’s what motivates people to pay premium prices for his cars and obsess over his genius.
Knowing your past, your why and your vision will help you define your purpose and attract your own legion of crazy-ass fans.
2) Stories build deeper connections
The days of pitching the benefits of your super awesome product or service are officially over.
Overwhelmed by the vast choices available online, customers aren’t interested in hearing straight hints and tips, or why your service will change their life.
They’re drowning in a sea of superficial interactions on social media. And crying out for real, human interaction.
I remember, as a child, trotting to the village shops with my mum. To Kevin, The butcher, Dave, the fishmonger and Angela, the hairdresser when I needed a trim.
At every shop we’d stop for a natter. We were on first name terms with the owner, their children and their pet hamster. We knew they’d just come back from a week in Filey and that their back’s knackered with the damp Yorkshire weather.
We were friends.
And those friendships drove loyalty. So when a random fishmonger from Grimsby rocked up, selling door-to-door cod for half the price, my mum said, “You’re alright, thanks” and sent him packing.
Her relationship with the local shopkeepers ran deeper than the price of fish. And even now she still chooses Our Dave’s fish to the stuff they’ve got in Sainsbury’s.
Now, I’m not saying your stories can 100% recreate the same friendships as the ones in my cheesy, picture-postcard childhood. But they’ll get you pretty damn close. If you let your audience see snippets of your real life, they’ll start to see you as a friend. And you’ll hear comments like, “I feel like we’ve been mates for ages” when you speak for the first time.
We’re bored of listening to people harping on with tips and strategies, or inspo posts. Google can get your customers that in an instant. What Google can’t give them is friendship. Or YOU
3) Stories show passion and empathy
I don’t know about you, but when I’m spoiled for choice I’ll ask myself this question: “Why you?”
Why should I put the money I sweated for in your hands, instead of someone else with a similar product?
The answer often comes down to this:
The person I buy from cares more. They get me. They know exactly what I’ve been through and the pain I’m in. So I know I’m in good hands.
It’s easy to wave your hands in the air and scream “OOH ooh me! Over here! I care! I get you!”
But no one’s going to believe you without evidence to back it up. They’ll just scroll on by and move on to someone else.
When you share real life stories about your own struggles and passions, you demonstrate to your buyers that you really do care. And that you’d walk on hot coals to get them over their pain because you know how much it sucks to have their problem.
Your empathy gives your buyers the ULTIMATE GUARANTEE that they’ll get the result they’re after.
4) Stories are your secret weapon
David, meet Goliath. Wanna take on the big boys in your niche by flipping the game in your favour?
Then your personal stories are where it’s at.
Think about it, what do you have that big business doesn’t?
You got it! Real life, all-up-in-your-face conversations with your clients. It’s what big brands are desperate to replicate with dodgy chat bots that try to fake human conversations.
Come on guys. We know we’re talking to a line of code here…
So what do you go and do? You try to make out like you’re a big brand. You say “we” instead of “I” because that totally makes you sound like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And you recreate content with no life and no soul.
That’s what your competitors are doing, so you should too, right? And trying anything else would make you stick out like Jordan’s boobs in a tank top.
But here’s the thing – Jordan’s boobs are worth a whole lotta cash so maybe she had the right idea all along.
Instead of trying to blend in with your bigger, more corporate competition, why not use the ONE THING you’ve got that they can’t ever have? Real personality.
As a small business owner, you have direct access to your customers, and the opportunity to show them who you really are. You don’t need to create a fake persona using cheesy stock photos, or rely on z-list celeb endorsements to put a face to your brand. Because your business has a face. With pimples and smile lines and too much mascara.
But it’s a face that big business can’t ever take away from you. Because it’s real.
Telling stories that demonstrate your values and show the real you, gives you a major edge over your competition. Big brands can’t to do that in a way that feels authentic. Their size means they’re too bloated to get intimate with their clients…like a hulking great whale trying to slither into bed with you. Ain’t gonna happen.
Your stories are your best shot at ninja kicking your competition straight in the cojones.
I’ve lost count of the number of business owners who’ve whined at me that personal stories won’t work for them. But no more excuses.
Because storytelling gives you an edge in building deeper relationships with your clients. They allow you to show empathy and take down clunky corporates who’ve lost touch with their buyers. When you know how to tell a good story, you can tap into a superpower that will transform your business (even if your competitors think you’ve gone crazy).
Is your messaging drowning in a sea of BORING content?
Want to find precisely the right stories to help you build an army of raving fans and obsessed buyers?
Download my Super Simple Story Marketing Framework and discover the secret to building an army of raving fans and obsessed buyers.
(I mean, if you’ve got the ammo – it totally makes sense to use it, right?)
Click the button below and download my FREE Super Simple Story Marketing Framework