Schuyler Kaye (pictured here) was a participant of my January, 2013 Niching for Hippies course. During and after the course, I heard him speak about his work in helping people uncover their story and using that in marketing. Then I heard he was leading a course on it so I thought I’d help him spread the word but also do an interview with him about it.
In my experience, story is everything in marketing. It’s both the means and the ends. Understanding our story and the journey we’ve been through helps us figure out so much about our business, our niche and what we have to offer. Sharing our story helps potential clients really feel into whether or not it’s a fit for them.
You can find out more about his free webinar, Attracting More Customers with Your Story, when you click here.
It’s tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customer. If you have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?” If you’d like to get more warm leads from your online presence and if you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t . . . this will be worth your time.
He’s also leading a full seven-week course which starts May 14th, 2013 and you can check out here. There are only 16 spaces available. It’s really worth reading his sales letter just for some education on a great sales letter.
This isn’t an affiliate deal. I don’t make any money from spreading the word on it.
Why story? More and more people are talking about the importance of storytelling in marketing – what’s your take on why this matters?
Oh wow, this is a loaded question. I could tell you a lot of things like… how human brains are hard wired to quickly understand and remember stories.
Or I could even mention how stories tap into the emotional side of the brain, which essentially determines whether someone wants to buy or not.
But the truth is that marketing is generally… boring. It’s boring because, in most cases, it talks above, around, or through the audience rather than to the audience. Are you offering a solution without witnessing the problem? Are you speaking in terms your customer can relate to?
From the time of villagers sitting around the fire, stories are what have led people to move toward their vision. Stories work because they are NOT boring… to the right people.
When you use stories in your marketing you allow your customers to experience the need you’re trying to solve in a way that is easily understood and memorable. It is also safe because it creates enough distance between your reader and their problem that they are able to see it from an objective point of view.
(Easily understood + memorable) * safety = a warm lead
Why is telling our own story helpful for marketing? Can you give three real life mini examples of clients or people you know who had stories relevant to their work?
I’ll be blunt… chances are you’re not the only one offering a solution to the problem. And with a computer and Wi-Fi access, your customer can probably find a number of those other solutions. So what’s going to separate you from them?
The answer is You.
Telling your own story accomplishes three things when talking to your audience.
- Communicates the purpose or the “why” you do what you do.
- Establishes credibility that is not dependent on being first or better than your competition.
- Builds trust that you can help them solve their problem.
Tad, I think your story is a great example to start with (I’ll paraphrase):
You started out as a hippie that loved marketing. The journey of becoming a better marketer created a struggle between the love you wanted to share in your heart and the inauthentic or contrived approaches traditional marketers were teaching.
This led you to find ways of marketing that felt good to your heart and included working with the people you loved most in the world… other hippies. Now you help hippies all over market their products and services in a way that feels true to their roots.
Here is a recent client story:
My client’s mom was a very successful doctor, and it was always expected that she become a doctor too. The trouble was that she didn’t want to be a traditional doctor and so the internal struggle of balancing her own and others’ expectations began.
She spent years learning everything from psychology to hypnotherapy to help her deal with this inner struggle until she found her solution. Now she is a “doctor” who solves problems of a different kind by helping others who want to find joy but struggle with expectations.
A part of my own story:
I spent a great deal of my life achieving approval by modifying my image to gain acceptance from those around me. Those skills were invaluable in marketing my first business right up until the point when they weren’t. That’s when the struggle of surviving and changing with the whims of my customers and competitors became overwhelming.
With my experience with storytelling in business, spiritual practices, and a willingness to look inward for my answers, I found a heart-centered branding solution that worked for me… and now I work with other small business owners to help them through that same transformation process.
You went through my Niching for Hippies program where we did a lot of exploring around this notion that your deepest wound is often a doorway to your truest niche. What’s your personal take on this? Is there anything you’d add or amend to that notion?
Definitely. I spend time exploring wounds in my course on “Attracting customers with your story” for a very similar reason.
Your story of how you struggled with and solved the problem that you now help others with is the perfect way to share that experience with your customers in a way they can understand, remember and relate to.
If I were going to add anything to this concept it would be that it is also helpful to look at your early accomplishments. They can be windows to your niche since many times they are what reinforce your beliefs and expectations.
What’s the connection between our story and our niche?
You are sharing your story to help your customers determine that you can provide the right solution for them.
In that way they work together. As you understand your niche, you are able to share the stories from your life that better serve your customers. Just as when you explore your story, you will find it can help you self-select your niche.
It seems like finding your story is also a sort of integrity and safety mechanism. Like, if you haven’t achieved a particular result, maybe you shouldn’t be teaching others about how to do it? Would you agree?
Yes I do agree, but more so for you than your customer. Let me explain with a story.
I remember being excited with all the possibilities that were in front of me. I had just left the company I worked for and was going to venture out to make a difference in the world. The trouble was… I didn’t know what difference I wanted to make.
A buddy of mine had an idea to create a web service that helped restaurants schedule their employees. It seemed like a great idea, and so I decided to join him in bringing the product to market. I found that marketing a service I didn’t use to an audience I wasn’t part of wasn’t the best business for me…
My story never had a restaurant in it… the closest I got to working for a restaurant was helping them remove the food they put on my plate… by eating it. The trouble wasn’t that our solution didn’t work… it worked great. The issue was that I was out of integrity to my purpose, which left me unmotivated and wanting more.
I enjoyed working with my buddy… but I was still searching for the difference I wanted to make.
For me, finding my story actually created clarity around what I feel is my purpose. I guess I would call it less of a safety mechanism and more of a compass to guide me through the wilderness.
I’d also caution people with the word “result”. When I hear “result” it can sound like a destination, but in many cases it is really just part of the journey.
Do you have to have everything figured out in order to be able to help people? I don’t think so… you just have to be further along the path than they are.
You speak about five steps to your process. Can you walk us through them in case study of a client you’ve worked with?
Absolutely, I’ll use the same client above and share snippets of her story to add clarity. She helps adults living in NYC, who believe that life should be fun, but struggle with perfectionism, anxiety, frustration and stress.
1. Natural Authority: Your ability to do what you do comes from many aspects of your life beyond your business. Knowing those aspects is the first step to shift from comparison to story.
With a doctor and an engineer for parents, it wasn’t hard to see how she became a problem solver who wanted to help people. The expectation for her to become a traditional doctor landed her in an internal struggle between her parents’ expectations and what her heart desired.
Notice how this sets the stage showing how she was groomed to help those struggling with perfectionism. Next she shares her journey to finding a solution…
2. Point of View: Knowing how to apply your natural authority to help your customers solve their problems will complete the shift. It will build trust with your customers. They will know that you understand what they’re going through and there is a solution.
She moved to Israel to study Psychology where she became aware that her issue was created in her mind; yet knowing it wasn’t enough to solve it.
Frustrated in her first attempt she tried yoga, meditation, energy healing, nutrition, all the body sciences, and about the body-mind connection at one of Tel-Aviv’s holistic colleges; yet doing wasn’t enough to solve it either.
She then spent the next 11 years learning everything from life coaching to Neuro-Linguistic Programming but it wasn’t until she became a board certified hypnotherapist and Past Life Regression practitioner that it all came together.
Finally, after years of pursuing freedom from the pressures to become something she wasn’t, she had found a solution that worked fully… it was a combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind.
Observe her point of view coming together… This part of the story shows her audience that she’s been through this before and come out the other side. It also tells about how she sees the solution coming together… “The combination of knowing, doing, and working with the subconscious mind.”
3. Reputation: Most people don’t want to be the first to cross a possibly rickety bridge. Sharing your external credibility in the right way can help build confidence that your bridge is safe.
In her story you can see supporting external credibility in the schools she’s gone to, the years she’s been working, the certifications she has, etc. They show her customers that other people are verifying her ability to help them with this problem.
4. Icebreakers: You can encourage your customers to begin a relationship with you by sharing some personal icebreakers.
She works with the Brooklyn Animal Shelter to help heal cats so that they’re ready for adoption. She loves photography and walking barefoot when the sun’s out.
By sharing some personal details she has created an opportunity for people to know who she is and not only what she does… This reminds her customers that she is human too, not a business just trying to sell them something.
5. Audience: It’s your story, but it’s about your audience. Recognize how to get their attention, and remember what they need from you. It will make the difference between having them read your story — or not.
Note that these excerpts from her story are told because they answer questions that her customers might have… like: “Why should I pick you?” and “How do I know your solution works for me?”
Pick me because I’ve been through this before and have found a solution. I have certifications and experience that support and validate my story and life experiences that have prepared me to solve this problem.
What are the surprising benefits that people might not expect when they really begin to explore their own story?
I think my client above may have said it best:
“This course exceeded my expectations. I thought I would end up with a story on my “about me” page, and ended up with a whole new clarity about my purpose and the clients I wanted to work with.”
I found that to be my experience as well. The process aligned my business with my heart… my purpose. That brought so much clarity to who my customer is, what I have to offer them, and created more compassion and understanding for what my customers are going through.
Here’s some info on Schuyler’s upcoming courses.
Attracting More Customers with Your Story
Tailored specifically for small business owners whose online efforts aren’t attracting new or the “right” customers.
- Have trouble answering your customers when they ask “why you?”
- Would you like to get more warm leads from your online presence?
- Do you wish your website could filter the “right” customers from the ones who aren’t?
If you feel a resounding “yes” to these questions, then here are two opportunities starting at free that you’ll want to check out:
No-Cost Webinar see the details here:
Full seven-week course see the details here:
A Bit About Schuyler: Hi, I’m Schuyler Kaye. I help small business owners who want to make a difference and need to attract more customers through their online presence. I’ve been in the business of branding since I decided being a short, fat, nerdy high schooler wasn’t the way to start college. My experiences during my graduate work at Stanford University in conjunction with marketing my first business led to my heart-centered branding program. I love to travel, dance, play guitar, and eat more green chile than is generally advisable. For more info on my work: www.t4execs.com