August 14, 2018

Should you bother telling stories?

Telling stories about you or your work can feel at first like a chore. ‘Do customers really want to hear all this?’ you think to yourself?

I want to address that question today, because it’s important.

The answer is that stories are inescapable, but some types of story are more relevant to your marketing than others. In total there are four types:

  1. Personal stories
  2. Product stories
  3. Customer stories
  4. Other stories

The most direct stories to tell are product and customer stories. If you explain to someone that you’ve been in business since 1982 and recently moved office for the first time; that’s a product story. Albeit a snooze-worthy one.

If you provide a ‘known’ service where most people understand what you do, you’ll mainly focus on product and customer stories. Both of these are usually done badly. We’ll explore why later this week.

If you deliver some kind of transformation that isn’t so easy to label, then personal stories are much more important.

The point of telling your own story is to illustrate the transformation you went through in building your expertise. Potential customers who are also looking for that transformation (even if they don’t yet fully know it) then ‘get’ what you are doing a lot quicker.

If you’re a coach, consultant, educator; or have some sort of personality-based business; personal stories matter a lot.

Still, you should never ignore personal stories. Many people assume they aren’t relevant to them, when in fact they’re afraid to expose their real self.

A good personal story told well always builds trust. Whatever business you are in, people still buy from people. The question really is where to tell it.

Pretend for a moment that you are browsing a local art gallery. You’re a little short on time, but one painting holds your attention. What do you look at next?

The second thing you look at is the name underneath the painting. If you’re sufficiently interested, you might also read the blurb – the painting’s personal story.

It isn’t a case of whether or not to tell stories: you can’t escape that. The question is which kind of story to lead with.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.