Simple shortcuts to business success #8 – Leverage the power of storytelling


Going back many years ago, (to a time when my friends and I didn’t have the same disposable income we have now), a friend told me how she’d just bought a new pillow for (what I considered to be) the princely sum of $100. As I stared at her in shock she quickly justified the purchase:

“As the sales girl said to me, this is something I use every single night, so the price per use is tiny, and also, good sleep is crucial to our health, so it’s basically an investment in my health.”

Fast forward 20 odd years and today Anthony and I pay our finance guys a retainer each month. It’s not a huge amount, but it certainly adds up over the course of a year. Whenever we’re called on to justify that expense the story we tell is this:

“The amount we pay over the course of the year is easily paid back by the fact they help ensure everything we do financially is as tax-efficient as is possible and that we’re making sound, long-term financial decisions.”

We all have a need to be able to justify the purchase decisions we’re making – big or small. We need to be able to justify them to ourselves (there is nothing worse than buyer’s remorse) and we often also need to justify them to others.

This is where the power of storytelling comes into play.

For many of us, the value of the product or service we’re providing is hard to define. Giving someone a story to tell themselves (and others) with regard to the money they’re spending with us helps greatly in overcoming any qualms they might have in taking that final step to buying.

How do we do that? I have three things to offer:

1. State what you do very clearly on the home page of your website

Evernote tells people they help them ‘Remember Everything’


WP Curve says they help remove your WordPress pains:


We tell people how we help them tell their business story better:


People aren’t necessarily going to use the exact words we give them – but those words do provide a great starting point for the story they will eventually tell themselves and others about us. I think it’s pretty useful to be in control of that starting point!

2. Get great client testimonials

We all know why people might find it hard to justify spending money with us.

  • It might be because we’re expensive.
  • It might be because they’re not sure exactly what it is we’re doing for them.
  • It might be because they can’t understand why they’d pay us to do something they could do themselves.

This is where client testimonials help immensely. We can all tell people how great we are at what we do and how we’re worth the hefty price tag because we’re ‘different’ or ‘better’. But when our clients do it, that story has far more power than any story we can tell.

That’s why we place customer testimonials front and centre on our own website:


And here’s another example from WP Curve


3. Do what you say you’ll do

The equation here is very simple – don’t make promises you can’t keep.

There is a service provider in my life right now who, over the course of the past six months, has given me countless assurances that certain things will be done by certain dates. They’ve failed to deliver on those assurances Every. Single. Time.

You can only imagine the story I’m telling myself and others about them at the moment.

It’s not possible to always get this one right – things do happen. But this is such an easy way to set yourself apart from the crowd (the vast majority of people don’t seem to be able to do what they say they’ll do), and influence the story people are telling about you in a positive way.

So why wouldn’t you?


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