How Service Professionals Can Market Themselves Effectively Through Storytelling

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured Articles, Wright Ideas

How Service Professionals Can Market Themselves Effectively Through Storytelling

By Cathy Goodwin Platinum Quality Author

Online business owners increasingly realize the power of storytelling for website content, blogs and even teleseminars. Storytelling for business has become a hot topic.

Independent professionals increasingly use stories to promote their services. They realize that readers relate to narratives rather than straightforward essay type content because

– stories create suspense, compelling readers’ attention

– when readers pay attention and hang on for the “what next,” they’re not multitasking

– readers and listeners remember stories far longer than they remember abstract ideas.

Stories are particularly helpful for professional services such as coaching, where marketers face challenges simply explaining what the service offers. Clients often have no idea what to expect and don’t realize the value of hiring coaches, massage therapists, healers, or even certain types of psychotherapists and lawyers.

So lots of people are jumping on the story bandwagon. But that’s not enough: you need to understand how to tell your story most effectively to motivate readers to consider hiring you. For example, here is one story told my a professional (all details disguised):

“When Jane called me, her home office was a disaster. She was spending lots of time filing papers but she couldn’t find anything. After we talked, she realized that filing papers was not a good use of her time. Or maybe if she really had to file, she needed a way to make that filing become a revenue-generating opportunity.”

What’s wrong with this story?

This story is what I call a client success story. It’s got some of the ingredients, but is missing a few key pieces. How about this:

“When Jane called me, her business was stalled. As we reviewed Jane’s schedule, we realized her day disappeared around 9 AM when she took up the task she dreaded most: filing.

“I talked to Jane about her goals for the business. We discovered that Jane was overwhelmed by paper, including some papers she didn’t need to create, let alone store. I showed Jane my unique 5-step system for handling paper.

“Jane told me she felt like she gained two hours each day. We identified other tasks she could be doing that would lead more directly to revenue generation. After six months, Jane reported, her sales increased and she had three new clients.”

Business storytelling calls for an understanding of business as well as the storytelling process. Get instant access to information about using stories for your own business, with detailed examples. Download an audio file and learning guide at Story Telling For Profits. From Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., the Website Makeover Coach

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