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Module 1: How to Position Your Brand to Sell
Section 2: How to Create Messages That Sell
Post 2: The One Thing Your Customers Want to Know
A friend of ours was at a casino in Las Vegas, having a great time playing blackjack – he was winning!
Between hands, he turned in his chair to check out the casino floor. You’ll never guess who was standing right behind him?
Richard Branson, decked out with an attractive woman on each arm.
Our friend nodded and said, “Hi,” in a surprised tone and a chuckle in his voice.
Sir Richard responded, “Hello.”
“What brings you to town?”
“I’m giving a speech.”
What else would people want Richard Branson to talk about? People want to know his story!
But what does this have to do with you, your brand and your customers?
What’s the one thing your customers want to know?
Business is personal
It’s something many business people don’t get. They got away with it – when a few mass media outlets controlled communications.
Today, “few” has become “everyone.” And “mass” is deferring to “social.” Everyone creates media now.
Sure, it may just be a Facebook update. But make no mistake, any post which mentions your brand in a favorable way has tremendous potential.
After all, who do you trust more – a paid spokesperson talking on TV or one of your friends?
Unfortunately, many business owners don’t understand where the buying public is today…
People don’t do business with businesses.
People do business with people.
And people love stories!
We sometimes get an objection on this point. Someone will say, “But our business sells to other businesses.”
When we explore further, they quickly realize the transaction actually takes place between at least two people – one or more in each firm.
It’s especially true for professionals and other small businesses. You can gain a BIGG competitive advantage here because most owners don’t get it:
Business is personal these days.
Instantly get people you want on your side
People do business with people they know, like and trust. Trust is the new competitive advantage. It spawns from a relationship.
Business owners who get this can quickly create such an advantage. To capitalize on it, you need to let your customers know your story. Because when it comes to stories…
A brand that tells sells.
Storytelling is so incredibly important today. We hope you notice – we’re talking about it right after your brand name! So you know how critical we feel your stories are.
Let your competitors ignore storytelling. Let them put out messages which can cure insomnia.
People buy on emotion, not logic. So stop trying to win customers over with data. Start wooing them with stories.
Your stories will be one of your best marketing tools. There’s no better way to instantly get the people you want on your side.
They’ll help you create a lasting bond with your ideal customers – people who remain loyal to you and become your brand ambassadors. You give them a reason to care.
Stories help you get recruit and keep the employees you want. They see it’s not just a job; you’re making a difference in the world. They’ll give you their best because you’ve connected them to a cause.
You’ll connect deeply and quickly with other stakeholders as well. From allies to vendors, your stories helps win people’s heart so they give you the critical support you need.
Even hard-core investors respond to stories. They’re looking for a story which resonates with the people we just mentioned. If so, they have a reason to believe.
We tend to think of investors as incredibly rational beings. So we must confess, we didn’t fully realize the power of stories until we saw how they got investors to move.
We did a round of fundraising for a spin-off from BIGG Success. We told the story of the opportunity. We had people say they had never seen anything like it.
Since then, we’ve coached entrepreneurs who were raising money. We’ve witnessed this same phenomenon time and time again.
When they’re compelling, stories cut through the clutter. They bring down the guard, so people are less resistant to consider new ideas.
Timothy Brock and Melanie Green – authors of Persuasion: Psychological Insights and Perspectives – found that the more absorbed people are by a story, the more the story changes them.
So let’s talk about how to tell stories that sell.
5 components of a story that sells
Since people relate to people, great stories are centered around characters. As you develop your story, think about who plays the role of the…
When we talked about differentiation, we said people were looking for heroes today. Now you know why we said it! Every story needs a hero.
It may be you and/or your company. We know – you may be too humble to think about yourself as a hero. But think about how you rescue customers! We’ll talk more about this below.
Your employees may be heroes. For example, you get some feedback from a customer who was thrilled by the service of one of your people. You have a powerful story in the making – one where you build your employee up by making them the hero.
You and your employees may volunteer together for a common cause. Or you may give a percentage of your proceeds to a certain charity. These are hero stories!
Your story needs a victim – someone who is being harmed in some way. The victim should be someone your audience can relate to.
Ideally, they can empathize with them because they’ve experienced the same thing themselves. But your story should at least evoke your audience’s sympathy.
The victim may be one or more of your customers. It may even be a combination of all of them!
But don’t just think about customers. How might potential employees be a victim? Many employees don’t feel valued. Tell a story which highlights that you treat your people better than anyone else.
Your local community may be the victim may be your local community. Perhaps you compete with chains or other large companies. They take money from the community and ship it out of town. Tell a story to show how you support your hometown.
The victim in your story may even be a cause – one you care deeply about or that’s related to your firm. Tell a story about their story and how you’re helping them.
This is a great way to win people’s hearts, even if you have a basic product. For example, Dawn dishwashing liquid ran an ad called Dawn Saves Wildlife.
In just thirty seconds, they tell the story of oil-covered ducks being brought back to life thanks to Dawn. In this case, the victim’s not a person. However, the story touches people’s hearts – especially animal lovers.
Who’s the hero? At first glance, you might think it’s the product. Actually, it’s the rescuers who are smart enough to use Dawn!
You can’t be a hero unless you have a victim AND a villain. Let’s talk about two types of scoundrels:
First, your story may include an unnamed villain. You should not single out a specific competitor by name.
After all – this is business, not politics! 🙂
You often hear about “best practices.” You’ll find your villain in the “worst practices” of your industry. It’s not a single competitor per se, it’s the offending activities of the whole group.
Second, your villain may be a faceless person. Organizations don’t do bad things. People in organizations do bad things.
For example, let’s say your customers are getting choked by bureaucracy. The villain in your story is “the regulation” or “regulators” as a collective.
In the Dawn example above, the villain is “oil spills.” Now you may think of a specific oil spill, but Dawn doesn’t mention one.
The second component is the setting where the action takes place. There’s a tendency to think about this as a place. But…
When you think about the setting, focus on the conditions.
If the physical place is important, then include it. But usually the physical conditions are crucial. And the emotional conditions are even more critical.
A great story has a setting which strikes a chord with the audience. They feel the victim’s pain because they’ve lived it, are living it or know someone who is.
They cheer for the hero! They connect with the storyteller because they hope for a happy ending.
Every great story has a conflict which must be solved. It’s the central point of the plot.
The conflict builds throughout as the victim strives to find a way out of their predicament. Unfortunately – try as they might, they’re unable to do it.
The victim has struggled to free themselves from the trap they’re in. Each time it doesn’t work, they feel more discouraged.
But they muster up the courage to try something else. They keep trying and trying, getting ever more desperate.
They’re at their wit’s end – they have to find a way out. So they give it one last try…but to no avail.
Ugh, the pain! They’re beyond frustration. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. They’re ready to give up…
We call this the “BIGG moment.” (Of course, we do!) Every story is centered on a conflict which leads to the climax.
It crescendos right before the…
The hero steps in and whisks the victim away! They’re no longer trapped. The pain has ended. They live happily ever after.
All thanks to the hero!
Your hero’s journey
If your ideal customers are just like you, you may have found yourself in the same situation they’re in now.
You may have tried to find a hero. But there weren’t any.
So you found a solution which helped you escape from the dark conditions you were faced with.
You were the victim AND the hero.
Alternatively, you may have seen some injustice – a group of people with a problem who were un-served or under-served. It may have been a family member or close friend. You found the solution which freed them.
These are examples of your hero’s journey. In either case, despair turned to hope. Misery became happiness.
It’s your most important story because it helps people instantly connect with who you are, what you do and why you do it. We’ll talk more about your “what” and your “why” in the final post in this section.
For now, we’ll share an example with you – the story behind this program.
Here’s a story about why we built this program…
We started the Brand That Sells program because we were tired of seeing business owners get a raw deal.
It all came to a head when we suggested to a client that she change a picture on her website.
It should so simple to do. But it wasn’t in this case.
We’re pretty experienced with websites. But we couldn’t figure out how to do it.
So she called her developer. She asked the person on the phone to tell her how to change a picture.
Then she went quiet. She slumped, leaning on one elbow as she held the phone. She let out a deep breath. When she hung up, she was noticeably upset.
She looked at us and said, “I paid them $30,000 for my website less than six months ago. Now all I want is to change a picture – and they tell me it’ll cost $300 to get it done!”
We’d seen this time and again, but this was the final straw. We decided to help owners and professionals get a website they can work with, one which grows with them.
But we realized it wasn’t enough. Most websites don’t sell like they should because most business owners don’t have a modern brand strategy.
That was it, we’d found our idea – we would help business owners build a brand that sells. And here we are!
We’ve told this story to a lot of business owners. They get it – having seen it, felt it and/or lived it.
Notice business owners are the “victim.” We told you the story of one who represents what we’ve seen others experience.
Certain web developers are the “villain.” Note it’s not a certain web developer. We do talk about our client’s developer (not by name), but we quickly moved to “We’d seen this time and again.” It’s not all developers either.
We are the “hero.” We have to tell you – we blush a little when we say that. It seems strange to think like that. Get over it! You are the hero in the story of your business.
It’s not bragging. You’re telling people what makes you tick.
Yes, they want to know what you do. But they also want to understand why you do it.
That’s what creates loyal people who share your message. That’s why you tell stories.
You’re now ready for Part 2 of the Create Messages That Sell Guidebook or the next post. It’s your call.
And if you have any questions, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “BTS QUESTION” in the subject line.