When it comes to selling, your best strategy is using Story.
People love stories – especially when they are interesting, engaging and unforgettable. This is why the people who sell with Story have so much success: They bring their sales arguments from an informational seminar to a comprehensive experience that their potential customers love.
Donald Miller, the founder and CEO of StoryBrand, is not only an expert in selling with a story, but also one of the pioneers of the strategy. As he recently discussed in his DigitalMarketer workshop, the StoryBrand method works because it engages customers in so many ways, from entertainment to understanding to survival. And in all of these different ways, the same result happens: your customer is actually listening to what you have to say.
When you’re creating a story about someone, especially someone they’re the main character, they’re more likely to listen. They tend to react. And most importantly, they tend to buy.
There is only one common problem the storytellers have with this approach, and it can be summed up in one simple question …
“Where do I go with all of this?”
Your client is undoubtedly the main character and hero of the story. They need to illustrate their narrative arc that will help them overcome adversity and achieve their goals. But if you are the hero of the story, how should you position yourself?
What role do you play in the story?
You are in your client’s story the leader.
The guide is the person who helps the main character overcome their challenges. They are characters like Yoda, Dumbledore, and Mr. Miyagi. They are the ones to be remembered fondly, but not the ones who victoriously put their hands in the air at the end of the book or movie.
The role of the guide is crucial in almost any story as it enables the hero’s transformation. Without the leader, the hero would not be able to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. Just as Luke Skywalker could not defeat the Sith without Yoda’s help, your customer cannot achieve their goals without your products and expertise.
Although you play an essential role, you are not the hero in the story. And when creating your client’s story, it’s important to remember for several reasons …
You should never position yourself as a hero because it is the hero who is ill-equipped to achieve his goals on his own. Only until the guide shows up and gives them the tools they need can they really reach greatness. You don’t want to be the character who fails to achieve their goals on their own, you want to be the one who helps the main character finally succeed.
The other reason is this: you don’t want to have two heroes in one story as that weakens the story’s impact on your customer. By introducing 2 heroes and thus 2 narrative arcs, your story and that of your customers will be completely different (and mixed up).
As much as you want to be successful, you need your customers to be even more successful. Invite your customer to a story in which you defy the odds and win the day. Talk to your customers about their goals and wishes, not your own. Put your customers first in everything you do.
Once your customer understands the path to success and begins, you will be successful in this process as well. Do not focus on your own wants and needs. Do nothing but help, and then stand back and watch the pieces collapse.
If you can do this, you will never have to worry about your personal success. It will just happen on its own.
So establish yourself as a guide
Now that you understand the role you are supposed to play, the next step is to understand how to actually play it. We’ve talked about this at length, but let’s dig deeper into it.
To truly position yourself as a guide, you need to show that you are the person who can help your customers achieve their goals. To do this, you have to exhibit empathy and authority.
With empathy, you have to show your customer that you actually care. You should make it clear to them that not only will you feel bad when they have a problem with their business, but that you think it’s borderline unfair for them to experience it in the first place. If you can show that you actually care for your customers’ problem (and help them solve it), they will be much more inclined for you to help them fix the problem.
In the case of an authority, you essentially need to demonstrate your competence. You need to prove this isn’t the first time you’ve helped a customer solve a problem and achieve their goals. By showing your customers that you are able to help them solve their problems and that you have a track record, you will sell them if you are the solution to their problems. You will build trust, which is a necessary part of any business relationship.
Create your branded script
Empathy and authority are the two parts of the equation when it comes to your specific role as a guide in your branding “script”. It’s also important to note that they are not exclusive to one another. If you can only build empathy and authority, your entire positioning plan will fall apart.
You need to build both empathy and authority, and when you are talking to your client, ideally you need to do it in a sentence or two. If you can determine both things quickly, you will have tremendous success.
So this really means you need to plan ahead. You have to try to anticipate what type of problem your customer will have. That way, you can incorporate the skeleton of your statement of authority and empathy into your branded script, and then fill it in with the details as they become known to you.
Once you have that statement plain and clear, you have effectively set the framework to position yourself as a guide. Then you can focus on making sure the rest of the pieces of your client’s story fit together. You can worry about filling out the rest of your branded script.
Remember, no matter where it matters, where you fit into your client’s story is only part of a very big puzzle. If you want to learn more about the StoryBrand process and how to end your customer story, head to Donald Miller’s workshop.
By positioning yourself as a guide in your customer story, you are playing an essential role in their success without compromising the fact that it is her Success, not yours. You want your customer to be able to contact you in time of need so that you can help them solve their problems. The best way to do this is to show him that you are not only capable, but that you care.
Once your client believes this, you can effectively help them achieve the success they envision for themselves.
This is where you get paid.
Once your customer is happy and their story is fulfilled, you can move on to the next and repeat the process. What could be better than that?