Your Story Cements Your Authority and Powers Your Profits… or Not!
“Those who tell the stories rule the world.”
~American Indian Proverb
Our lives are full of stories that shape our self-worth, and the opinion others have of us. This means that we all, both as individuals and business owners, need to take a careful look at the stories we tell because these will directly affect our results.
Shaping Your Inner Stories
What stories are you telling yourself about:
- What you do or don’t deserve?
- Your character and talents?
- How others do, or should, treat you?
- Your future potential and achievement?
- The environment and opportunities you enjoy?
- Your fears and dreams?
If the stories you tell yourself when you are alone position you as a victim of other people or of circumstances then the chances are that you will feel rejected, under-valued, and vulnerable no matter how well you hide this. The problem is that other people’s BS detector’s are likely to detect your underlying sense of inadequacy and avoid it.
If you want to become a leader and authority in your niche then you have to deal with these inner stories quickly and ruthlessly before they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are two sides to every coin, and there are two sides to every story: it’s up to you to choose which one you tell yourself.
What do I mean by this? I was talking with a young lady recently who graduated with honours and has been applying unsuccessfully for accounting jobs for several months. Her internal dialogue focused on how much she had to learn, how stupid she would feel when she talked to prospective employers, how bad she was at certain aspects of financial management etc. As we talked, she realised that she had a track record of learning difficult material, that she respected the expertise and experience of others, and that she wasn’t applying for positions that required the skills she wasn’t interested in etc. When she changed her internal story, she was offered positions at her next 3 interviews and she had the pleasure of choosing which she wanted.
She didn’t need to lie, she just had to adjust her internal focus to demonstrate her positioning. If you want to be perceived as an authority, make sure your own narrative genuinely supports that.
Shaping the Story of Your Business and Product
Successful selling demands that you create a distinction between your own business and product or service and every other competitor in your marketplace. At the end of the day, many businesses in any given field are similar. Your job is to find some unique attributes and craft a story that focuses on those things. There is always something… even if it is simply stating the obvious thing that your competitors ignore.
Most businesses go about this backwards. These days just about everyone understands that focusing on features is not the best approach, so they think about the benefits instead. A few businesses even focus on selling the transformation rather than the framework (which is a much better way of engaging people’s emotional buy-in)… only a handful focus on crafting a story which will engage their target market so thoroughly that they stand out head and shoulders above their competition.
Apple’s story (simplicity, elegance, performance), as well as their ecosystem, has created that kind of loyalty in the past. If they lose sight of the story, they will probably lose their dominance and price advantage. Jacques Lemans have done this with their Liverpool Chronograph, using Kevin Costner to position this relatively inexpensive high quality watch as the choice of a ‘practical man with nothing to prove’… in opposition to others who need to wear watches that cost 10 or 100 times more.
You can do it too. The right story will multiply the effectiveness of your sales process, ensure a steady stream of your ideal clients, and increase the value of your business exponentially.
Do You Think Your Business is Ordinary?
I was talking to a Real Estate Agent the other day and he said, “I don’t offer anything different to my competitors.”
After we had talked for a while I asked, “So, it’s not going to make any difference to my outcome if I work with your colleague over there?” That was when he started to deliver the gold! Ten minutes later we had his unique selling position and his ideal client mapped out. We also had a strategy for marketing to his ideal clients that has already put 3 new clients on his books in just 3 weeks.
I’m convinced that any business owner or sales person who can’t find anything unique about themselves either hasn’t asked enough questions or should be doing something different.