Hey there, all you wonderful introverts, cautious optimists, and hesitant brand-builders! Do you ever find…
It isn’t a skill that I have a high proficiency in, but I find that when I include storytelling in my blog posts, videos and social media, I receive more engagement. People can relate to stories, they can empathize with the struggle, and with the successful outcome. Your personal brand becomes established through storytelling and your community is drawn closer to you. Let’s take a look at how we can tap into our own experiences to provide inspiration and encouragement to our peers through our stories.
Storytelling is the art of using words or images to weave a narrative that elicits the listener’s imagination. Stories can be rooted in fact, or rooted in fiction, and when it comes to personal branding, factual storytelling is a powerful tool to help create a bridge between a sales professional and their customer.
Storytelling is also a very powerful way to build community. You have the ability to build a strong “know, like and trust” factor with your stories, and you create a safe place for your community members to share their similar stories or struggles.
If as a sales professional you are looking for more authenticity in your content, a great place to find content is in your stories. When like-minded individuals share stories of challenge, success, struggle or perseverance, other community members find themselves reflected in the story, thus creating more trust and compatibility with the storyteller. If your story includes factual ways that our product or service has impacted someone’s life, our customers can visualize the positive impact through the story – be it yours or your other customers.
Nowadays, stories can be woven into our brand through social media posts, e-newsletters, podcasts, blogs, videos and through our in-person interactions. Stories do not necessarily need to come from business or your career; rather the lessons of transformation from any life story can be related to business.
Your story also does not need to be one of incredible magnitude and dimension. Yes, there are great examples of stories and storytellers that have climbed and conquered their “Everest”, both literally and figuratively, but often its the simple stories that people can relate to. I cannot relate to training to climb Everest, but I can easily relate to someone who has conquered their fear of running, and how they overcame that fear.
Here are 4 steps to help get you started on storytelling for sales professionals
- Look at moments that were transformational – take inventory of instances throughout your life that offered moments of transformation for you. These moments can be from your career or business, but they can also be from other areas of your life. All stories of transformation have a lesson that can be applied to your professional world.
- Example of personal moments that were transformational – learning how to ride a bike, overcoming adversity in school, youth sports analogies
- Examples of professional moments that were transformational – starting a new job, being let go from a job, re-imagining your career, etc
- Take stock of the feelings you had during the story – regardless of the story, you had a reaction to what was happening to you. You had emotions, whether good or bad. Take note of those emotions and feelings; we’ll be revisiting them in step #4.
- Example – learning how to ride a bike – feelings of anxiety, not wanting to fall off, not wanting to fail, not wanting to disappoint your parents
- Example – being let go from a job – shame, disappointment, confusion, anxiety over what to do next
- Acknowledge the outcome – every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The goal of a good story is to provide a conclusion, and your story should reveal the same. How does this transformational moment wrap up for you?
- Example – You did, indeed, learn how to ride a bike. Yes, you fell a few times, but you kept trying and you eventually did it. Your parents cheered you on through your repeated attempts
- Example – you found a job that was better suited to your strengths, and the team culture is fantastic!
- Apply the lesson to business examples – the emotions and feelings you felt as you were in the story can be parlayed into advice or a tip for your community. If your story was about perseverance, there is a lesson there. If your story is about success, there are tips you can share to fast-track your community’s success. Tie the lesson of the story back to how it can help your client to create more trust and close the sales gap.
- Example – Learning how to ride a bike has helped you overcome the fear of failure, learn from each failed attempt, and the exhilaration of finally successfully achieving your goal.
- Example – career moves and shifts lead to new connections and new ways of expanding your skillsets and strengths
Keeping these four principles in mind will help you build a bank full of stories and ideas that can help encourage and inspire your community.
What story can YOU share that will build a bridge between you and your community?
Storytelling is something we explore in Brand Plan Academy, check to see if enrollment is open for this A to Z Branding program, tailored specifically for B2B sales professionals.
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