We sat at the wooden table engaged in passionate conversation about our interests and our lives as entrepreneurs. From the ceramic coffee mug in front of me a whistle of steam floated slowly to invisible, and as I grasped the glass I instantly felt relief from the warmth.
We talked on and on about different ways we’ve built our success, and hopes and dreams for more. Cars whistled by on the streets outside the window, and a jingle alerted my senses as a couple women bundled in scarves cheerfully walked together through the front door.
“How would things be different for your business if you reached that goal?” I prompted, trying to understand whether this was a man I could truly serve.
For a while there, you may have thought you fell into the middle of a romantic conversation. The truth is, you fell into the middle of a beautiful consultation that just might end in a friendly transaction.
Because brands are human, people run brands, and therefore people do business with people.
So, when we’re sitting in a sales conversation together, it might suit us well to pretend like we’re on a first date, to treat it like a romantic adventure and to wonder whether it would be right for this to end in marriage.
When we really take a step back and think about business in a purposeful way, we can see so many more elements that humanize the work we do and the brands we represent. I could have simply started this post by talking about sitting in a conversation with a prospective client, but instead my story-telling added depth to the scenario and warmly invited you to the scene.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for humanizing your brand in this way.
And when we think about the sales process in a similar vein as dating others, we can more easily start to think about telling our brand story as if we are creating an online dating profile.
I found this great article from the dating site Zoosk, with tips about create an online dating profile that works … and the great thing is, I can translate so many of these ideas into tips to creating an online brand profile that works. The key, the article says, is creating a profile that leaves the viewer wanting more.
Tip #1: Less is more.
As the Zoosk article says, “Don’t write a novel: Back in the day, online dating profiles read almost like a resume, and you would say everything about yourself as if you were writing a cover letter.” We do that in our businesses, spill out our cover letter of experience, service offerings, this thing, that and the other. But what we really want to create is one simple message that gives viewers an idea of who we are, and then entices them to connect with us to learn more.
Tip #2: Get creative.
As the Zoosk article says, “Add details. Instead of saying you love hiking, tell people your favorite hike. Instead of saying you like movies, tell them your favorite movie.” In business, we make the mistake of focusing too much on our industry jargon and the specific “features” of what we do. Instead, try using more examples that show how this impacts others lives, and highlight the emotional appeal of what you do and how the viewer will see his or her life change because of your brand. Don’t say, “Take a hike,” say, “Experience pure relaxation in quiet of the forest. Tranquility awaits.”
Tip #3: Be Authentic.
As the Zoosk article says, “Be your wonderful, weird self. Some of the dating profiles that stand out the most are the ones where someone’s personality and what really makes them different shines through.” Talk about what makes you different with pride, even if that might send some customers away. Remember in the beginning of my story, I debated whether marriage (ie: a business transaction) was the right fit with the man I was sharing coffee with — and that’s because not every customer is the right customer. I don’t want to serve you if we’re not fit to be wed. Acting authentic in our brands attracts the people most suited to what we do and how we do it, so the vetting process is done for us.
There you have it, three quick tips on creating a brand story that is just as effective as winning online dating profile.