When your audience is bombarded with nearly 5,000 marketing messages, 250 ads and hundreds of email every day, it can feel nearly impossible to get them to pay attention to you, never mind open their wallets and buy from you.
The secret to silencing all the noise and turning yourself into client catnip?
Tell a great story. Tell your great story.
I know people are telling you that you need to tell your story to attract clients.
Maybe they’re giving you some advice. Things like:
Have a turning point.
Talk about how great everything is now and how it sucked before.
But they’re not telling you HOW
Or where to get started
Or what to say
Let’s change that today and dive into the 5 overlooked ways to get more clients with your story.
1. Be Brave: Telling your story is truly an act of courage. You’re putting yourself and your message out into the world for everyone to see. It’s a liberating and (at first) terrifying experience when you’re sharing personal details that shine a spotlight on who you are and how you’ve come to this place in your business and life. How do you bust through the fear? Write down all the times in your life that you were brave. Write down what happened. Now go look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Will telling my story kill me?” No, it won’t. Just like all those other brave things you did, what happens on the other side of the telling will surprise and delight you.
2. Be detailed: Include the details in your story. Don’t just string together a makeshift timeline of events. Pick a moment and go deep. Tell us the date, the place, the names of people, the things you saw, heard, smelled, felt. One of my clients starts her story by putting her audience in the kitchen with her as she feeding her twin babies, listening to NPR when she hears on the radio that 1 in 8 kids get cancer. Another client walks out of Trader Joe’s parking and sees a million dragonflies swarming her car just as she’s contemplating making a major life change. Do you see that? Are you in that scene? You can create the same experience in your story when you paint the picture with words.
3. Tell Your Truth: Comedian Norm MacDonald (aka Col. Sanders) says
Comedy is best when it’s truthful, but it doesn’t have to be factual.
The same can be said about your story.
Your audience cares more about the truth, than the facts. A fact from my story is that I almost died in 1998. The truth surrounding that fact is that I almost died at my own hands because I felt hopeless, worthless, invisible . . .
Most people if not all people have felt at least one of those emotions at some point in their life and, as uncomfortable as it is for me to share that truth, I know that’s the very place where my story begins to stir the emotions of my audience and mirror back something deep within them.
4. Share Your Failure & Redemption: You must have failure in order to have redemption. Be vulnerable. Get messy. Your audience is hungry to hear it all. In her latest book, Rising Strong, social work researcher, TED speaker, and author Brené Brown points out just how little time we devote to the messy parts of our stories:
Embracing failure without acknowledging the real hurt and fear that it can cause, or the complex journey that underlies rising strong, is gold-plating grit. To strip failure of its real emotional consequences is to scrub the concepts of grit and resilience of the very qualities that make them both so important–toughness, doggedness, and perseverance.
Nicola Taylor, a talented fine art photographer, says in her post about the stories of creative entrepreneurs . . .
I want to hear the stories filled with failures and missteps. I want to hear from the person who says I can’t tell you how many times I nearly gave up. I want to hear how they found courage and determination when they kept getting shut down. I want to know how they trained themselves to sleep like a baby while they were screwing up left, right and center.
You want your audience to love you? You want them to remember you? You want to matter to them? Bare your grit.
5. Rally the Audience: You’re story is about you, but it’s for your audience. When clients tell me their story isn’t working, this is the place we look at first. The job of your story is to get the audience to change their story. When you tell your story well, it will get your audience from “It won’t work for me” into “If she can do it, so can I”. That’s why I tell my clients to start with their message first. Before you even write a single word about your story, get clear on what you want people to know, feel and do after hearing your story. Because that’s where you convert stone cold listeners into followers, fans and clients.
What do you struggle with most when it comes to telling your story? Tell us in the comments!