Storytelling – you have probably noticed that more and more people are sharing their stories in their marketing. People are writing books about it, niching as experts in it and teaching it as part of their programmes.

There’s a reason for this – storytelling helps to build a connection with your ideal clients, but it can be difficult sometimes to know what or how much to share, don’t you think? Are you telling your story?

Storytelling

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You don’t necessarily want everyone to know every single thing about you, but with the whole piece around people buying from people they know, like and trust, it’s something that you might want to consider.

I hurt my back many years ago, and as a result was not  able to work for around 18 months, and ended up leaving my Head of HR role and pursuing coaching. I used to burst into tears if I tried to walk any short distance and literally had to time the traffic lights so that when they turned red I would start crossing the road, only to make it to the other side just as the light turned green. Speedy I was not! I can remember feeling as though I was in slow motion and the world was rushing around me, it was surreal.

I was told I’d just have to get on with it, I had a prolapsed disc and mechanical back pain, and I could have an operation, but there were serious consequences if it went wrong. ‘Just getting on with it’ is never really an option for me. I am one determined woman! I attended a residential pain management clinic for 3 weeks as part of my recovery and put together a strategy.

I had one big goal – to wear my high heels again.

Now, that might sound crazy to you, but for me it was part of my identity. So, with a timer in hand we put together a plan of getting me back into my high heels. I could only sit for short periods of time before my back would spasm so the timer was my new best friend. I started off at 5 seconds of sitting and worked my way up to 1 minute, 2 minutes and eventually 5 minutes.

The same applied to my heels – each day another 5-10 seconds of time being added.

It took time, probably about 6 months as I worked through the pain of taking on such a task but I managed it and now can wear heels for short periods of time, not without pain but the pain is worth it. After a couple of years of spinal injections and a lot of painful walking, I’m now mostly ok. I can’t sit for extended periods of time, I can’t do too much walking or standing in one position for very long, but I can have a normal life, which back then didn’t seem possible. I’ve learned how to manage the pain and figured out what I can’t do – like jumping on a trampette (definite no-no, and salsa dancing – sadly another thing that is no longer on the list) but there are loads of things I can do and running my own business has given me the flexibility I need that a corporate job couldn’t. I can work my own hours, take time out if I need to, without asking for permission.

I’m often asked why I don’t share my story more. I guess for many reasons, one I don’t want to bore people. You may think your story is boring too, but to others it might not be boring. It allows them to see another part of you. When you’re the one in pain it turns your world upside down, but honestly you get sick of thinking about it, you want to talk about other things, normal things. One of my coaching friends challenged me on it the other day saying that I should share my story, that it’s about me overcoming adversity and I guess it is. If my story helps just one person to know that with a positive mindset, a belief that they can overcome a big issue, and forge a new path in life, then that’s a good job done really.

Storytelling doesn’t have to mean that you do a share warts and all

Honestly, people probably don’t want to know about your love life, or lack of it, or sharing your habits, but by sharing your story you can start to identify with your people and that is important. It helps them to know that you’re a real person, that you haven’t just opened up a business and everything has always fallen into your lap. It helps them identify with you, that can build rapport and over time that might lead to a working relationship with you.

So where do you begin? Think about whether there are boundaries that you wouldn’t want to cross. What things are too personal for you to share?

It’s your business, you get to choose those stories that you are comfortable talking about.

Think about how your story might help them. I’ve shared my story today as an example of using a story in your messages. What might help you to identify with your clients?

Don’t overshare all the time. People don’t want to constantly know about the dinner you just ate or as we tease in our house, the ‘Oh it’s all about you again’ moments. Your focus needs to be on your clients, and how best you can serve them, but if a story from you helps them then consider sharing it, allow your personal side to come through.

There are obviously other ways that stories can be told. In Seth Godin’s book, All Marketers Are Liars, he talks about how a story can sell a product. Whether it’s a company saying a particular glass is going to make your wine taste better, or a particular teabag is going to change your whole tea drinking experience, we all know that stories sell and that’s where marketing can be really powerful.

In my post today I’m talking more about you.

What can you be sharing with your clients to build a better rapport with them?

Perhaps you’ve been in their shoes so can talk about it from their perspective, maybe you have had a big life experience where you learned some big lessons and you can share them with others so that they don’t make the same mistakes. Just remember it’s not all about you! It’s about them!

Call To Action: Your call to action this week is to figure out what your boundaries are on the kind of personal information you share and then think of a couple of ways you could share more of the fabulous you with your ideal audience, then go out there and share it!

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Do you want a place where you can share this kind of thing in a non-judgemental environment? Check out my free Rock Your Fabulous Biz group on Facebook.

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