Circa 1963: I’m sent to bed early, where I strain my ears to catch every sound, word and movement of my uncles and dad in the living room below.
There is the rattle of ice and the splash of rye or rum, the click of lighters for both cigars and cigarettes, the competing conversations, outbursts of loud laughter and then … one of five voices captures the room.
The storytelling begins. My five-year-old self is fascinated. Sometimes I sneak to the top of the staircase to capture each word. But mostly I fall asleep between the sound of the speaker and the silence of his audience, the stories seeding my dreams.
Storytelling is in my bones. It’s a vital part of how I communicate ideas and share information – in this blog, in webinars, and with coaching clients.
But instinctively I’ve always known that there’s a skill more important – more vital – to our ability to consistently reach our revenue goals and work with deeply satisfied clients.
What skill is more important than storytelling? How can you develop it and use it in your daily communication with prospects, clients and customers?
Most of us are familiar with Plato’s famous statement, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” Well, the value of what we sell lies in the experience of our prospects and clients. We can have a great story to tell, and eloquently share benefits and features, but if the prospect/client doesn’t hear how it’s a fit for them, we lose the opportunity.
Being heard involves stepping back, stepping away from our own story, and focusing our full attention on the customer. It involves something I call storyfinding.
I’ve learned about storyfinding the hard way. When I began my first business in 1987, part of the excitement of those early days was that everything, from the file folders to the company logo, was about me, not about an employer or manager. Then within days, I realized that owning the business was not about me at all. Everything I did, said and created needed to be about my potential clients. In order to build a thriving business, I needed to research, learn and understand their story.
Storyfinding is our ability to uncover, listen to and empathize with what is happening in our prospect’s/client’s world.
For it is within their story, their challenges, triumphs, experiences and desires that our value takes root. This is where and how they understand that their answer to working with us must be “yes”.
Storyfinding involves a combination of skills that each of us can, with practice, strengthen and make an instinctive part of every conversation, email and text.
As we move toward the end of 2021 (gulp), I’m excited to share with you detailed information on how to become a storyfinder. Between now and December 19, each of these biweekly blog posts will introduce and provide details on the seven essential skills.
I believe … I know … that, regardless of your business, product or service, storyfinding is the key to creating consistent revenue and exceeding your sales goals. I’m looking forward to sharing new skills to make that happen for you.