How to Connect With Customers by Telling Your Story
Your customers are far more likely to purchase from you and work with you if they can relate to you on a personal level. If you’re willing to be truly authentic in sharing who you are, their guard will drop down as well, and trust will start to build. That’s because people don’t just buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Your story is the single biggest asset your business has. No, it doesn’t have a dollar value – it’s more like a gold mine. The more you dig into it and pass on the lessons you’ve learned the more value you’ll get out of it.
Your past experiences, whether they hurt or helped you, are the platform to launch from. So how do you go from an experience you’ve had to a story that resonates with your audience? You focus on the essence. You chip away all the unnecessary parts until all that’s left is the core idea.
To find your core idea is simple, but it’s not always easy. All you have to do is ask yourself “why” over and over and over again, until there are no more layers left. I’ll use a story from my childhood as an example. Get ready for a lot of “whys”.
The past experience: playing Lego with my sister as a kid, making up crazy stories and characters (positive experience).
Why did I do that? Because I enjoyed the spontaneous collaboration of creating characters and exploring their responses to situations.
Why did I enjoy those aspects?
Because it helped me know myself and my sister better, and helped us become better friends.
Why did it help me know myself and my sister better?
Because the stories came out from inside us, it allowed us to express our thoughts and intentions in a safe environment.
Why was it a safe environment?
Because we didn’t feel as much responsibility for how the characters behaved, it was their problem if something went wrong.
Even with just those 4 “whys” I was able to discover something new – that people are craving a chance to express themselves in a safe environment, free from being judged. So that’s a good nugget, but how would you take that essence and make it an effective part of your business’ communication?
How about this: I’m going to take that nugget and translate it into each time I come into contact with my client.
- In meetings: invite their insights, consider them, and provide recommendations instead of judging whether it’s a good idea or not. Make it an open forum for ideas.
- In marketing: write copy that positions you as a guide, a mentor on your customer’s path helping them get to where they need to go. Contrast that with a “I’m the expert so listen to what I have to say” which can trigger their natural flight-or-fight response, making them feel less safe.
The essence that you pull out of your experiences can impact each part of your business – and when that essence is communicated well, it becomes something your customers keep coming back for, because it helps to fill one of their core desires.
A warning, though – be careful of both of under and over-polishing your story. It should give enough tangible, concrete detail to be memorable, but simple enough to be widely applicable. Then like gold, it will be something that can be smelted, refined, and used to add value to anything it’s laid upon.