Stories are powerful tools you can use to communicate without selling. They allow you to share useful information about your contribution without engaging in ‘sales talk’.
The aim of telling a story is to share a specific scenario in which you helped someone in their particular situation solve a specific problem, and do it in a way that demonstrates your ability and commitment.
Why do stories work as opposed to selling?
When you’re selling, you’re either talking about yourself or you are cross-examining.
Neither of these creates a safe space for relationship building and intimacy. In fact, you might be offending or boring the client or making an unattractive ‘pitch’.
Telling a client success story lets you share information about your competence without hyperbole or cliché. It gives you a chance to demonstrate how your talent and the services you offer, provides a solution to their problem.
Stories must focus on your results–not on what coaching is and how it works. Why?
Because people don’t buy definitions, labels or processes; they buy results. They don’t wake up in the middle of the night saying “I need a coach!” They stay awake thinking: “I need to make more money”, “I’m completely out of shape” , “If I don’t straighten out my team, I risk getting down-sized” , “If I don’t find a relationship, I’ll grow old alone”. You get it.
You have to be able to articulate the solution you offer to each person. That starts with knowing the top problems that motivate your ideal client into action. Practice weaving the top problems and your solution into a powerful, well-rehearsed story regarding a third party in a similar situation. Your story should demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of their challenge, have solved this challenge before and that you’re capable of doing that with/for them.
The goal of the story is to create trust and establish credibility. By establishing credibility you allow the person to identify with the story and see themselves benefiting from the results you bring. The client now knows that you understand their dreams and obstacles.
The recipe for a powerful client story? Include as much of these facts as feel relevant:
The target market: WHO were you serving?
The problem you solved: WHAT was your client’s dilemma?
The solution you delivered: HOW did you help the client overcome the dilemma?
WHAT additional VALUE did your solution bring to the client?
Why YOU? Why you are CREDIBLE to do this? What sets you apart?
Then, invite them to take a small action to test what it would be like to work with you. Your aim is to engage in a natural conversation, sprinkled with stories that allow for the client to start to know, like, and trust you. You then start to build RELATIONSHIP. This will help them see you as competent, fair, resourceful, and capable.
Once stories become a part of how you talk about what coaching can do, you will experience a new level of ease in marketing!