We all love a story. Whether it’s happy or sad, dramatic or chill, shady or positive. We love being captivated. Surprisingly, stories are often thought of as personal, not business. Up and coming entrepreneurs know better. Your story is the most important part of your presentation and getting new clients. If you have a good story, you will get leads. If your story falls flat, don’t worry. Now’s the time to edit and rewrite.
Here’s what you’re going to want to include in your story:
And one more thing: their attention! Without it, your story’s going nowhere. A story carries little weight if the person telling it isn’t connecting with the audience. If you want to tell captivating stories and win people over, the first thing you need to do is get to know who you’re talking to! Speak to their hearts.
Instead of wondering “What can they do for me?”, be a good listener and find out about who they are. Focus on learning more about them, having meaningful conversations, learning about their background and talents. Then, when you have their attention and trust, tell your story!
Your story starts with a quick summary of what you do. Hopefully you can sum things up in a single sentence. For example, if you have an online shoe business, you could say “I make buying stylish shoes online fast, fun and easy.” What you wouldn’t want to do is explain how everything works and use phrases like “e-commerce” and “deluxe membership”. Ugh! Be passionate, not analytical! In the process of telling them about the process, you’ll lose them or confuse them.
What is the problem you wanted to solve? What did you do to get results and what pushed you to take action? What were your catalysts? Think about where you were when you decided to start your own business. Think about the risks you took. Were the stakes high?
Avoid turning this into a corny speech about wanting to change the world. Of course you do. Who’s like: “The world’s already wonderful and I wouldn’t change a thing!” Talk about what led you to starting your own business.
There’s usually more to it than just improving the world though. You can say you hated your ex-job. It doesn’t matter because you’re not there anymore. You can say you were broke. You can say you wanted freedom and to focus on yourself. Be unapologetic about your choices. Your sincerity makes you more charming and relatable.
Your “first client” story can really move others. Who’s the first person who gave you a shot? Whether you have thousands of clients, or just a few, it doesn’t matter. This story is about quality not quantity. Even little things like how they came to you with a frown and left with a smile can move others.
You wanted to give up but you persevered. This dramatic part of story commands attention. To elevate your status, dare to fall before you rise. Set yourself apart by showing how far you’ve come, instead of acting like just you woke up here. Share what you’re comfortable with sharing. This doesn’t have to be an over the top confessional. Only talk about what you’ve already overcome or are improving in.
Think about what cure/solution/miracles you’ve founded. Focus on how you’ve changed and impacted lives, not just profits. This also helps if you’re just getting started but aren’t known yet. Your mentality at this point is that you’re the ONLY option. You’re not competing with anybody and you are paving your own road.
Try finishing your story by telling them where you are now and what’s new. Then, reiterate how you help people and give hints to the person you’re talking to that you can help them.
Hand them your business card and suggest a way of following up, whether it’s a phone chat or meet up. Connect! Give that meeting a date and time because “next week” isn’t the new Monday and “later” isn’t on the clock.
…and just for fun, here’s some things to not include in your story. Though some of these topics may add amusement, they will not help if you want to be taken seriously.
Avoid talking about:
-How much you’ve spent on your startup or what you still owe.
-That your business partner is driving you crazy.
-Juicy gossip or unnecessary facts about your personal life.