Share your story podcast is all about how sharing your story can have massive impact when networking.
Networking isn’t about sell, sell, sell. It’s more about listen and tell.
Networking is an unusual route to market because you’re attracting new customers without trying to sell anything.
There are a number of ways to communicate your marketing message when you’re networking. One is through your 60 seconds pitch, which we covered in a earlier episode. Another method is to share your story.
Focus On The Benefits
How many times have you been speaking to someone and when they’ve explained to you what they do, it’s very much about the mechanics of what they do, rather than focusing on the benefits of their product or service? I think we all have. If we’re honest, at one point or another, we’ve all been guilty of doing this too. It so easy to get trapped behind our job title, our profession or our industry sector.
Sharing Your Story
Sharing your story is a very effective and impactful way to demonstrate both what you do and the benefits to your customer. Particularly if you’re a service provider.
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘it’s not what you do; it’s the way that you do it. Well, for your customers, it’s not what you do or the way that you do it, it’s the problem you solve that gets results. Easing their pain points – that’s what matters.
You will have countless stories about how you’ve improved the lives or businesses of other people. How your product or service has either eliminated a problem or maximised something for them.
Either way, whether you are helping your customers away from something or you’re helping head towards something better, sharing your story will demonstrate why your customers and prospects need to buy from you.
Lead With A Story
According to Author Paul Smithy, who has written an entire book about how to Lead With A Story, some larger organisations, including some major sports brands, have ‘corporate storytellers’ and other people employed to create a narrative about products, services or organisations. If it’s good enough for big international brands, then it’s good enough for you and I.
Stories can really pack a punch, so to speak, when it comes to engaging with the people you’re networking with. Largely because you’re leading with benefits and conveying why customers should choose you over your competitors, without actually saying, you should use us and not them because….
If you’re a member of a networking group that you attend regularly, you could literally share a different story at each meeting. You may even find people looking forward to you story.
If I said to you, I’m a networking expert, I run my own BoB Clubs North West networking groups as well as training people how to build rapport, nurture professional relationships and get referrals. Solicitors and Financial Advisers are ideal customers for me. How does that sound to you? It tells you what I do and one of the industries that I excel at working with.
But what if I said, I help business people to communicate with impact, get referrals and become better networkers. The last in-house bespoke training workshop I did was with a group of 12 solicitors. I was absolutely thrilled when 6 weeks after the training, the senior partner of that firm, who attended my training session, approached me to tell me that he was winning cases, in court, far quicker and easier than every before. He was so amazed by the results that when he can, he wants me to provide training to other departments within their 9 branches. It wasn’t part of the training brief for me to help them win more cases court, but that’s just one of the wonderful outcomes that resulted in the training.
At no point while I shared that story have I told you how I did the training, where I did it, what was involved, why they chose me over my competition or who my training client is. I don’t need, because I shared a powerful story with.
Think triggers that help you remember people you meet when you’re networking. Who stands out? Why are some people more rememberable than others?
How much more will they remember you with an impactful story to tell?
I’ve heard stories from HR consultants about the issues they’ve dealt with. Saying that you work with restaurants providing employment contracts is one thing. Sharing a story about how a you helped a client sack a chef who hit someone in the face with a leek….it’s true………now there’s a story.
Whether you think of them about examples or stories, I’d set about constructing a few ideas of stories to share. Make a note about them, perhaps create a list of story titles. Better still write a few stories to refer back to at a later date.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you read them out. It’s much better to be talking without any kind of script and sharing stores off he cuff.
If I were to share some ideas for potential story ideas to communicate, I’d suggest thinking about….
Demonstrating how you’ve gone the extra mile for your customer.
What would have happened if your customer hadn’t purchased your product or service.
Sharing your future and vision for your business.
Communicating your marketing message.
Show your ethos and company ethics.
CSR – Corporate and Social Responsibility. You may have done something for charity for example. Nothing at all to do with your business, yet it conveys ethics, honour and caring.
Worst case scenario
Best case scenario
Again, like with some of the other useful networking tools that I’ve shared in other podcast episodes, this is great way to take the pressure off yourself if you’re bothered about being able to big yourself up, talk about yourself and sell yourself to other people. This way, your story says it all for you. It’s almost like you’re not talking about yourself at all.
Stories are so easy to weave into a conversation when you’re networking.
If you’re not already sharing your stories, give it a go and see how you get on!
My Story Blogs
My story blogs are available for you to read. Granted, there are only a couple published at this time, but at least you know that I practise what I preach. After all, how can I tell you to share your story when I’ve not done the same. I have a lot more to add to ‘My Story’ blogs, but I’ve made a start.
You may be wondering who wants to know about you. Well, I do for a start! Everyone who you’re networking with wants to know about you. That’s why one-to-one meetings are crucial when networking, so that you get to know more about other people and them about you. My Getting One-To-One Networking Meetings Work For You blog might help you with this.
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