The other day, I was walking along the River Test, near where I live in Hampshire, UK and I saw a beautiful blue trout. It stood out among the other brown trout for which this part of the river is famous. Its iridescent scales shimmered below the water’s surface in the early evening sunshine.
I started thinking about places I’d found myself, where consistency was the norm. I remembered some working environments where people all looked and behaved the same even on ‘dress down’ Friday. One day I was asked what I’d done at the weekend with the aside ‘I hope you didn’t just read a book!’ Actually, I had finished the most amazing book but immediately felt shut down.
Naturally a bit shy, I hate being labelled as different yet I do love having my own voice. In business, people sometimes give up speaking out because they don’t want to appear different. It’s nonsense. Why can’t we be brilliant in our own right instead of blending in? Why can’t we show our hidden depths and the unique blend of qualities and experience which make us one of a kind?
And so I escaped that particular fish farm and swam off on a journey down river which found me here, like the blue trout, in a new place where being different is not so bad at all. I became a sole trader, I see businesses come in all shapes and sizes. From dentists to dance instructors, accountants to IT companies, HR consultants to holistic therapists, no two are the same.
Yet sometimes businesses shy away from showing the real human face(s) behind their business. It’s much safer to talk about what they do rather than the dips, dives and detours which have tested their character. They don’t want to appear vulnerable, especially amongst people they don’t know. But as a seasoned business storyteller and content marketing, I know for a fact clients are seeking trust before transactions, They want conversations with real human beings who welcome them as they would to a cosy home, rather than a meeting in a show house where everything has been conveniently tidied away.
So how can you attract the right clients by telling that honest, unique story? Here’s a few tips to get you thinking.
1. Be proud of your achievements
The story of those achievements (with all its detours) represents your ability to endure. It’s your own unique story DNA. It’s the combination of the graft, passion, resilience, creativity, drive, imagination and guts which characterise absolutely everything which you say and do. So don’t hide it!
2. Map your progress (with all its ups and downs) on a diagram
There is a reason why you did not go in a straight line from A to B to get to where you are. You have been there, done that and wear the yellow jersey. It was to identify with other people’s struggles and frustrations holding them back. Despite long dark days, blood sweat and tears, you overcame. You are admirably qualified to help others (your clients) do the same.
3. Explain not just what you do but why you do it
There is an excellent book written by Simon Sinek called ‘Start with Why’. It’s all about living the truth of who you are from the inside out.
It’s why you get up with the larks, out on a limb and burning the midnight oil to delight your clients every day. Listen to Simon Sinek’s wonderful TED talk to help you put into words why you do what you do and so successfully; your purpose not just your product. People don’t buy what you do but why you do it and the difference you make to others.
4. Watch the competition by all means but don’t copy them
I am as guilty as the next person for slipping into this self destructive pursuit.
5. Be, do and act differently to help your clients do differently too
No-one wants to be ordinary. We all want to be special, making a positive impact on the way people think and act as a result of what we do for them. Then they will recommend you to others so you can help even more people succeed. And so the story goes on…
So don’t merge with the minnows, like the blue trout next to the brown ones, but stand out and be different. Don’t stay on the sidelines but play a different game, in a league of your own. Tell the story of why your business is different. There are people out there who need to hear it and do something different in their business as a result of hearing it. Why blend in when you can stand out with a different business story?
Katherine Ledger is a Content Marketer, business storyteller and owner of Copy That Sells. If your story doesn’t reflect your true personality and heart towards your customers she’ll help you pan out your business’s gold nuggets and write them into marketing content which emotionally resonates with and wins clients’ hearts. Reach her at copythatsells.co.uk , +44 (0) 7703 545117, Katherine@copythatsells.co.uk https://uk.linkedin.com/in/katherineledger