Dear friend and reader,
What’s your story?
I’m asking this almost every person I meet. In most cases, I get blank stares as it is not quite the type of question to start a conversation with. In some rare cases, I do get an answer. This answer comes in the form of a journey that the other person experienced. It is with ups and downs, with moments of courage and cowardice, with joy and pain. In that moment, I know that I’m connecting with that person no matter what, because there are few things more intimately than sharing your story.
And … this is exactly what you need to do with your market. You see, if you’re trading time for money or even if you’re selling information products, your market is not only buying the asset (service or product) you’re delivering. They’re also buying a part of you, your personality, your time, your identity. Selling an eBook or a seminar is a far more personal experience than selling a laptop. They are buying for who you are just as much for what you’re offering. The product may contain the functional benefit, but you’re the charm behind it.
This is where your story comes in place. Good marketers and entrepreneurs share their story. They just say it out-loud. They’re vulnerable with their marketplace and say it just as it happens. They explain the pain they’ve been through and how it shaped their life. They rejoice in the moment they’ve found a solution that changed everything. They know that their own rags to riches, from zero to hero is something that the prospect can relate to.
Many beginner marketers make the mistake of thinking that they need to appear perfect in front of their audience. No. You must appear likable which is a difference. Everyone knows that in order to be great, you need to go through a lot of pain first. If you were always the best and if you’ve always had the answer, you’ll just feel alien and elitist to your market. People don’t want to learn from the genius with the 150 IQ. People don’t want to learn from the business genius that made $1.000.000 before age 15. People don’t want to understand more about relationships from the person who always had picture perfect relationships.
No. You can’t relate with those people and having a perfect image fails in almost any market, from weight loss to dating to self-help to business. People want someone that was like them, in pain (which is true no matter what you do) and who found a solution. Knowing that you were suffering at one point, that you had the same neurosis, the same frustration, the same burning pain makes them hopeful that if you’ve found the solution, it will work for them too.
An elitist attitude will never work in the information field. Every major self-improvement has a story of struggle and pain. Every major author started somewhere a lot worse than you are right now. Stephen King was broke when he wrote Carrie and threw it in the dust. Anthony Robbins had a rough childhood and difficulties with his mother. The late Jim Rohn was stuck in his life, no money, no future, nothing. Brian Tracy failed again and again and finally found the inspiration to succeed in sales.
These stories are perfect for marketing because they help you connect with your market on a deep level. However, don’t see them as only a strategic tool. We all have these stories. We’re not inventing them. For example, I’m living an amazing life and I’m proud of it. My life is that of an outlier. I’ve done things from piloting small planes to traveling around the world to climbing Etna without any equipment to reading 74 books in a year and more. But my life was not always like this. As a child, I was suffering from social anxiety and I was obsessed with video games. I’ve had a rough childhood at home that I don’t feel comfortable talking about even now. I was extremely shy and the victim of high-school bullying. I have a story of how my life moved from pain to pleasure. If you see me give a speech somewhere or naturally present my ideas, you’d never believe that at one point, I was avoiding walking next to people on the street because I was afraid of them.
And I’m telling you this not to brag of how far I’ve came but because you can understand. I don’t care who you are – you can understand pain and transformation. You can understand rejection and struggle. You can understand how it is to be refused by everyone and then, to become someone most people love. For this exact particular reason I’m telling you to share your story. Tell it how it is. Be proud of your scars. The more authentic you are, the more you admit how bumpy the journey was to where you are now, the more persuasive you’re becoming.
Most people think that persuasion is about lying. They are wrong. Some of the most persuasive techniques are based 100% on truth and authenticity. It is about saying things just as they are, without fear of judgment that influences people. And again, saying your story, does this.
How should you express your story? Well, generally I do it in a sales letter. The story must have a purpose because honestly, nobody reads 2000 words “about me” pages. I’ve tried it and I’ve tracked readership. The story must relate to a product or service you’re selling. For example, if I’d sell right now a guide on public speaking for introverts, I’d use my story of how hard was for me to move from introvert to ambivert, how every time I went in front of the class I lost my voice and how just two months before, I gave a speech to a high-school class that doesn’t even speak English. All of this is true and accurate but it serves a purpose – to prove the qualities of my product, to establish credibility, to establish me as a person that understands his pain and ultimately, to sell the product. After all, marketing is ROI oriented, you’re selling, not writing your auto-biography.
I’ve met so many marketers who show their diplomas, their achievements, their glowing testimonials and forget that saying “I’ve cried, I’ve been in pain, I’ve been through all the suffering you’re going through right now” is a lot more persuasive than any authority element. Of course, people do buy from authorities and selling your story but not why you’re someone who can help them is useless. It is important though to show how you’ve became that person that can help them, that person that is the go-to guy in their market instead of jumping to the best version of yourself and putting that on display.
That being said, share your story. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re living an interesting story. People want to hear about who you really are. You don’t need to run a 100 people company or to have five published books to be interesting. Not so long ago, I was listening to Grant Cardone. I like this guy. You know why? I know I can learn from him because he walks the talk and anyone who has a net worth of $500.000.000 is a good role model for me. But that’s not all. It is that when he was in his 20s, he was a wreck, addicted to drugs, unable to succeed in most things. He shared something like “when I’ve returned, my girlfriend was sleeping with my dealer”. I can relate to that form of pain, even if I haven’t been in that particular circumstance and it makes me appreciate his success and his authority even more.
Tell your story. Sell your story. Say it as it is. You don’t need to be a master persuader here – just to be authentic and to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I’m here to help you sell more as a self-improvement author, trainer or coach. I’m your go-to guy for direct response copywriting and marketing. I’m interested in helping you find opportunities for growth in your business. For this, I’m giving you a complimentary 30 minute call in which we can analyze your needs and see what solutions are there. After this, we can see if we work together. Use the link below to reserve your spot. I’m currently in East Asia and there are two major time blocks you can reserve, either in the morning or in the evening (my time). This means that at least one of the two options will make sense for you.
The Self Improvement Copywriter