05 Aug Facts Tell, Stories Sell: A Fresh Look
By Angela Cason
I have been in advertising and marketing for 30 years and pitched tons of businesses, but I had never been the person who had to get the meeting. When we started TEMPO Strategic in 2010, to provide the digital expertise our clients need, that picture changed. Suddenly, we had to think about new business.
I had to think about new business. Yuk.
Our first try was to hire someone to get appointments for us. We got someone who had been in media and put her through a training course that was meant to make her an instant cold-calling queen. Well, that didn’t happen. In part because our business is not easily reduced to :10 or :15 or :30 seconds, and in part because no one ever, ever calls back. Strike one.
Next, we shifted our focus to inbound marketing and hired someone to create content-newsletters, emails, etc. Nice stuff, but no results. Strike two.
Then we hired a lead generation firm that said they could set up “warm” calls for us. Zero results after 9 months, in part, because our rep’s agenda was to get an appointment by any means necessary—not necessarily because it was a good match. So, clients she’d cajoled into making an appointment to help her out never showed. Strike three.
Nearly at the end of my wits, a friend invited me to one of Cynthia’s introductory workshops about the Power Partners Initiative. (Thank you Mindi Wernick; click here for her website!)
The energy and thoughtfulness of Cynthia’s approach grabbed me immediately. I’m a sucker for neuroscience, and much of what she talks about is based on how our brains are wired. I signed up for the course and met our group of 12. As we went through the training, I saw how random my previous networking efforts had been and how little ground I’d really covered.
I also saw that I’d left my biggest asset on the table: I love to meet people; I’m intensely interested in them—but because I was worried about what to say to “sell” them, my natural curiosity never turned into a benefit for my business. Cynthia’s course showed me how to change that, but I won’t give anything away here! OK, let me share one gem in particular:
- She teaches that “Facts tell, stories sell.” The “Client Story” framework I learned from Cynthia showed me how to “paint the picture” for people I meet, so they could recognize the kinds of people I need to reach and act as informed “gateways” on my behalf.
Using facts, here’s how I’d explain what I do:
A recent study showed that 48% of marketers don’t feel confident about their digital campaigns. We’re out to change that by helping them make the change to Evidence-Based Marketing. Whether the executions are traditional (TV, Print, Events, Trade Shows) or digital (Marketing automation, CRM integration, Content Generation, Website Development, Analytics & Dashboarding, Search Engine Optimization, Local SEO, Programmatic Media Campaigns, Pay-Per-Click, Landing Page Optimization, Conversion Rate Optimization, Web Analytics) our focus is always on delivering measurable results that help our clients feel confident about their marketing.
After being trained to utilize the Client Story tool, I now can answer the question “What do you do?” by saying something like this:
(I begin by pointing at an empty chair:) This is Nathan’s nightmare. Every empty chair in the Yale School of Management’s Executive MBA program is $165,000 in lost revenue.
He called us one day to tell us the Dean had just tripled the program, from 30 students to 90. We had only 8 months to find qualified students, generate interest, and get them to go to the website to start applying. We created a strategy that manages a mix of digital tools to reach our target, and we provide the analytics to drive the smartest return on his budget. Results? We raised response, lowered his cost-per-click, and generated 1,261 qualified inquiries. He filled all 90 seats with the quality of students Yale demands. And now Nathan is sitting pretty.
Well, the “instant magic” story is that a one-on-one with a fellow Power Partners classmate led to a million dollar project. (Thank you, Allison Scollar!)
The more profound result has been a complete change in my attitude towards new business development and networking. I not only think of it as fun, I don’t worry about the results of my introductions. I trust people to make their own decisions about the value of an intro, which opens up many more possibilities since I’m not hung up on “getting the matchmaking right.” And it also makes me, by definition, less of a control freak!
Clients come and go as their needs change, but now that I “know how to fish,” I have more confidence in my ability to increase my business. Thank you, Cynthia!
Contact Cynthia to learn more about the Power Partners Initiative™.
A graduate of the Wharton School of Business, Cynthia Greenawalt is a social capital expert and keynote speaker on referral generation. She is the founder of Sea Change Networking, a training company known for its methodology, The Science and Art of Breakthrough Networking™, and its flagship program, The Power Partners Initiative™.