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Find New Customers By Telling Your Business’ Story

After reading John Jantsch’s book, The Commitment Engine, I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling. Jantsch says there are four stories every business must tell:

  1. The Passion Story: how you got started, and why you love what you do.
  2. The Purpose Story: why you do what you do in business.
  3. The Value Proposition Story: how you want the market to perceive your brand.
  4. The Personality Story: how people experience your brand.

Find New Customers By Telling Your Business' Story

It may be that I’m simply too close to my own company, but after reading this, I couldn’t think of a single story to tell. Can you relate?

But then I thought harder. I realized I had a Passion Story about working for two crazy bosses in a row, and how I wanted to help small business owners grow their businesses — on my own terms. And then I realized that when I send my clients sweet little gifts for Egg’s birthday each year…that’s my Personality Story. The name of my business is a story. How I love meeting business owners who are as passionate about what they do as I am about what I do is a story.

Suddenly, I had my stories.

Now the question is: what do I do with them?

Derbhile Graham suggests using the stories in marketing materials – Telling the Story, Selling the Story. I have the “how we came up with our name” story on our website, after so many people asked. (It’s a good story!) And I’ve talked about the gifts we give for our birthday in blog posts. So maybe I’m not too far off from where I should be in using stories.

Finding and Telling Your Own Stories

What about you? Are you working so hard in your business that you can’t see the stories? Take a step back and look at your business from someone else’s eyes. What stands out? What do people ask you about? Why are you running your business? We all stumble into entrepreneurship one way or another, so maybe that’s your story.

Realize that stories are what makes your brand unique. They make you human. Otherwise you’re just another company with no personality. Make those stories speak for you. If you’ve got employees, tell their stories. Business filing service CorpNet.com does a great job of this on their blog, where they feature different employees and share their stories.

You can even ask your customers what they see your story as being.  Another useful piece in Jantsch’s book recommended asking the following questions to customers:

  • What made you decide to hire us in the first place?
  • What’s one thing we do better than others you do business with?
  • What’s the one thing you love the most about what we do for you?
  • What’s the one thing you don’t have from any other source that you wish you could find?
  • Do you refer us to others, and how do you describe us, if so?
  • What would you Google to find a business like ours?

After asking clients these questions, I uncovered more Value Proposition Stories, and now I want to strive to deliver even better results, knowing what customers love about us.

So go out there, find your stories, and start sharing them!

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Images:  “stories, memories, histories words – collage of isolated text in letterpress wood type printing blocks  / Shutterstock.com


Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter http://www.eggmarketingpr.com

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Comments
  • I love stories and your post makes complete sense as people will always love to hear about behind the scenes or a fun story to give the business some personality

  • susanpayton

    Thanks for reading, Mark.

  • susanpayton

    I had to really think to find my own stories, but you’re right; it personalizes a company!

  • Hi Susan,

    It’s so important to think about the customer when telling your story. Sure you’re passionate about widgets or whatever you make, but why should they care? Are they passionate about widgets too? Or better yet, do they really, really need them? Perhaps part of that story should be about why they do. Thanks for sharing with the BizSugar community!

  • Susan: It is both about you, me, myself, ego (I in Latin). Without you as a producer, the consumer can’t buy anything (I have worked as a purchaser for long time, so have the right to say this! 😉 ). It is an exchange of values.

    I love your storytelling. Could have egg & bacon with that? 🙂

    I will bookmark your post and do some introspection. And I have to get John Jantsch book…




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