Pinpoint What’s Missing In Your Story

By April 8, 2017Uncategorized
 

Pinpoint What's Missing In Your Story

You’ve written and rewritten your testimonial to the point that it’s perfect. You’ve honed and practiced your Elevator Speech. You’ve got your company’s products and marketing plan down cold.

It’s time to share your opportunity. You’re ready!

Or are you?

Your testimonial, Elevator Speech, products and marketing plan all answer the “What” and “How” questions; they tell your prospects what you do and how you do it. Who you talk to, Where you look for them and When you talk to them, is of course, the essence of your business activity.

So, you now have the What and the How, the Who, When and Where.

And, in reading that last sentence, you’ve now figured out what’s missing. It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Why is it then, that prospecting efforts typically ignore the “Why”? Your prospects need to know not only what you do, but why you do it. They need to know your story. As they begin to know you, they will begin to trust you. And, trust is essential in the buying process.

If you need some help determining your Why, you might try an exercise called “5 Whys.” Toyota designed and implemented 5 Whys as the basis of its problem-solving training. As explained by Taiichi Ohno, the architect of the Toyota Production System in the 1950s, “The basis of Toyota’s scientific approach is to ask ‘why’ five times whenever we find a problem…By repeating ‘why’ five times, the nature of the problem as well as its solution becomes clear.”

The beauty of this exercise is that it works not only on problem solving, but can be applied across a broad spectrum of queries — in this case, to determine your personal Why.

We did this at WebBrand (the parent company of DS Indicator). We started by asking ourselves: “What do we do?” Once we had that answer, we asked ourselves: “Why is that important?” We continued to ask “Why is that important” — using Toyota’s method — until we had a clear answer.

The underlying philosophy of WebBrand is this: stories sell. We believe in the power of stories as a catalyst for learning. Our arena for telling those stories is the Internet. So, the answer to the first question — What do we do? — was fairly easy:

We build authentic storytelling and learning platforms for web and mobile.

So far, so good.

Next question: Why is that important? This was a bit more difficult, but not too taxing. Our answer: Authentic storytelling allows us to connect with ideas and with each other on an emotional and experiential level.

From here, it got much tougher. Why is THAT important? Hmm…this was going to require some mulling over. This question went deeper than the “what” we believe about storytelling; this was about why we believe what we believe. We asked ourselves, “Okay, so if we say that storytelling allows us to connect at an emotional level, what is the real value of that connection? What does it lead to?”

And, then…nothing. We got stuck. There were blank stares, pregnant pauses. There were inspirations followed by brain dumps followed by a flurry of keystrokes—only to result in select all, DELETE.

Not so easy.

Eventually, we figured it out: this was about trust. The real value of connecting on an emotional level is that it leads to relationship. So, our answer became: Once we make that connection—this is about establishing relationship—we begin to trust in that idea and in each other.

While that’s not necessarily a pioneering thought, it was nonetheless a turning point for WebBrand. You see, while Grant Webster and Rod Brandt knew intrinsically that connection leads to relationship and relationship leads to trust, we had never expressed it this way…at least not as a company.

And, once we could voice the core of our belief, we could start applying that belief. Next question: Why is THAT important? This was really a question of “Why does trust matter to us?” Our answer: Our ideal customer will not buy from us until they trust us.

And, then Why is THAT important? The trust and loyalty of our customers are essential to our success.

And finally, Why is THAT important? We are successful when we spread our message effectively, find fulfillment in what we do, are profitable and otherwise meet our business goals.

Whew!

This was an arduous yet healthy exercise for WebBrand. In fact, I would say it was critical. It forced us to think long and hard about our Why. It helped us define our value proposition. It led to much of the core messaging that you see on our websites.

When we put all of our answers together into one message, it was pretty powerful. Read the following statements; if you were looking for a vendor to help you with your marketing, which company would you likely choose?

WebBrand 1:

  • We build authentic storytelling and learning platforms for web and mobile.

WebBrand 2:

  • We build authentic storytelling and learning platforms for web and mobile.
  • Authentic storytelling allows us to connect with ideas and with each other on an emotional and experiential level.
  • Once we make that connection, we begin to trust in that idea and in each other.
  • Our ideal customer will not buy from us until they trust us, and therefore the trust and loyalty of our customers is essential to our success.
  • We are successful when we spread our message effectively, find fulfillment in what we do, are profitable and otherwise meet our business goals.

I encourage you to do this exercise for yourself and also with your team. Once you have a clearly-defined (and powerful) WHY, you can begin to craft messaging that reflects it. It will do more than just motivate your target customer; if done genuinely, it has the power to transform your business.

Photo: Dell’s Official Flickr Page [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Rod Brandt

Author Rod Brandt

Rodney Brandt is a lifelong storyteller who helps others find their voice, tell their story, and inspire others.

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