The So-What stories we tell simply leave colleagues, stakeholders, partners and clients flat. At the conclusion of our story, they ask themselves (and you): So-What is the significance of your story to my professional life? So-What is the value of your story to my own professional context? And, So-What do you expect me to do with your story?
Is this the type of client experience you want to create, when incorporating storytelling into your business development strategy? I did not think so, either.
Consider that So-What stories fill a tactical purpose, rather than creating a long-term picture of how it is to do business with you. Because the focus of So-What stories is “Me” and not “We.”
Consequently, you do not fool any decision maker who gives of their valuable time to listen to your So-What stories. Consider that these same decision makers listen to your So-What stories to reconfirm the basis of their own skepticism and to disqualify you from strategic relationship with them.
When initial client experience is based on storytelling skepticism, you immediately place yourself at a disadvantage. Especially when it boils down to retaining current customers.
After all, the persuasive storytelling tactics used by marketers and sellers have a concrete endpoint, such as closing a sale, landing a contract, nudging a decision forward. Or, making your numbers or fulfilling your own KPIs. As a result, your “Me-focused” endpoint falls short of ever being considered as a starting point for a long-term relationship with that client, stakeholder or partner.
Relying on So-What stories as tactical professional tools to grow your own business shortchanges your own career trajectory over the long-haul.
Because tactical storytelling lacks strategic continuity: about your own level of investment in having your clients’ backs. You create an ambiguous picture about what happens next, post-sale, for your clients. As a result, the story you tell does not connect with their own story, at all. And, without that level of connection, your tactical stories are neither applicable nor relevant to the spoken or unspoken needs of your clients.
What types of stories have you been relying on, to acquire clientele? Then, do you take the time to carry that tactical story forward, towards its strategic conclusion, together with your clients? Why or why not?
Consider the difference between tactical, So-What stories and strategically powerful stories. Create a community of loyal and retained clients invested in the value and relevance you bring to their tables. Time after time. Because of your co-created, connected stories.
Then, take your next steps forward. And start creating the stories designed to retain clients over the long-haul.
- Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Stalled in your own professional development trajectory? Engage me to coach you. Hire me to present one of my Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs, workshops or moderated facilitation services. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs leverage purpose-driven value differentiation through storytelling, to create and retain successful employees and clients. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. Contact Babette here.
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