Written By: Susan McLennan, President, Reimagine PR

Wouldn`t it be nice if clients and customers just flocked to you because you wanted them to? If somehow through osmosis (stay with me, cowboy, I’m a storyteller, not a scientist), they just recognized your innate brilliance, the spark that your mother always told people you had?

Sooo not going to happen…

While the togetherness would be nice and all, putting your mom on the payroll and letting her push your brand for you? Kinda sad. Yeah. A little bit.

So that leaves it to you.

It’s hard enough getting ONE person engaged in your product or service. How on earth are you supposed to connect with the throngs of people you need to grow your business into something meaningful?


Now wait, come back.

You and I both know that a lot of people are throwing that term around. And you kinda know what it means but you also kinda don`t. But most of all, you`re not all together sure what all the ballyhoo (gosh, your mom loves that word) is really all about.

So here’s why stories matter:

Have you ever found yourself suddenly and unexpectedly face to face with someone important? I’m talking about the very person you REALLY need to reach, the decision maker, the person with the purse strings? I have.

I was trying to raise money for a project, scored an invitation to a swanky cocktail party, and OMG! Found myself face to face with the very person I had to impress.

I razzed, I dazzled, and I told him every wonderful thing about me and the project. I finished on a high note, waited one glorious beat for it all to sink in, and then said: “I’ll call you next week to set something up. Can I get your card?”

There was an awkward silence. He handed me his dirty plate, smiled coldly, and walked away.

I had given him all of the info he needed and my passion was clear, but to him, it was just a bunch of noise, and I definitely didn’t leave him feeling connected to the project in any way.

Your customers are a lot like that guy.

Your customers are looking for connection too, and yes, they’re not one person; they might be dozens, or hundreds, or thousands or more. But no matter how many people you are trying to reach, you must speak to them as if you are speaking to just one person.

Here’s what you need to know to win that one person over:

  1. People value what they discover more than what you tell them:
    People like to make up their own minds about how they feel about something or someone, and if you try to tell them what to think, they push back.
  2. People trust what they co-create more than something imposed upon them: We like to be engaged in what we’re doing. If we’re not, we stop paying attention. Stories hold the interest of others and keep their hearts and brains connected to ours.
  3. People need to buy into the why before they will the what:
    We like to be part of things that are bigger than ourselves. Once our basic needs are met, like sustenance and safety, we yearn to be part of something greater than.

So what does all of this have to do with storytelling?  Everything. Because stories let you give people what they need to trust you, and, consequently, buy from you.

What stories do:

  1. Stories give people insight into how you think, what you do, and who you are — and THEY get to decide you and your product’s worth.
  2. Stories invite people on the journey with you. Their imaginations fill in the blanks and paint the scene, meaning they are literally co-creating your story with you.
  3. People like to do business with people who share their vision of the world. A good story shows how your values have lived out in the world, which is more meaningful than telling people what you believe in.

So there you have it. Stories matter because your vision of the world matters. And stories are what connect your vision to the people that matter.

Now go call your mother.

Susan will be leading a session at our Action Entrepreneurship Canadian Summit on May 31st on
“Finding Your Story – Build Your Brand”. Buy tickets here.

About Susan:
Susan McLennan is the President and Founder of ReimaginePR. With her partner Mike Erskine-Kellie, she is the co-creator of the 2015 regional Emmy Award Special Scientastic airing on American Public Television.

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