Picture for a moment what it would be like if clients came to you. Imagine how you’d feel if you didn’t have to sell yourself, your business, or your services.
Just picture what your life would be like without the financial ups and downs of being an expert.
The good news is that dreaming about having clients showing up at your door, or calling you isn’t just a fantasy – it CAN happen.
And all you have to do to stop selling and start attracting is tell your business story..
Every story has a structure whether you realise it or not. And it’s that structure that draws clients to you like moths to light.
Your story is one of the greatest assets you can have for attracting clients to your business.
When you tell your story in the right way it allows your future clients to relate to you.
The other great thing about having a well-crafted business story is you create curiosity so that your future clients want to know more about what you have to offer without you having to sell.
What music can teach you about getting new clients.
In music you have scales and notes. Each scale has eight notes.
Think of notes as words that evoke certain emotions and scales as the containers for the two main divisions of emotions, the major and minor scales.
In music the major scale is the happiness scale, and in writing it’s the positive emotions.
And, the minor scale is the sadness scale, in writing it’s the negative emotions.
For happiness you can choose from any of these.
For sadness you can choose from any of these.
With music you normally stay in one scale or the other, however, in writing you can mix them up.
Let’s look at any scene in a typical story. it can start on a positive and end on a negative.
A story begins on a high note.
Someone has a desire (positive) then has obstacles thrown in their way (negative).
it can start on a negative and end on a positive.
You lose something or someone dear to you (negative) but through a series of twists and turns you find something even better to replace that thing or person (positive.)
Or it can start on a negative, and end on a more negative note.
If you’ve ever watched Downton Abbey you’ll see this used a lot, especially in the series.
But if you watch any of the movies you’ll see the opposite.
They will start on a positive and end on an even more positive note.
In the series the writer sets up several scenes that never get resolved. But when the movie comes out at the end of each season, all the issues are favourably resolved.
They use the negative scale for their series and the positive scale for their movies.
Here’s something even more interesting.
In music you have loud notes and softer notes to show intensity and contrast.
That’s the same in emotional writing.
Look at that table again.
You’ll see in the middle you have emotions from both scales.
At the top you have higher emotional intensity and at the bottom, lower emotional intensity.
As you plan out you’re writing you move between higher and lower intensity on both the positive and negative scales because this is what keeps the reader hooked.
You may have noticed I said plan out your writing.
When professionals write they spend two thirds of their time planning and one third writing.
Think of it as two thirds preparation and one third performance.
Okay, I expect you’ve heard the saying, “writing is rewriting.”
But you’ve never heard the saying, “building is rebuilding.”
For a start it’s not practical and it’s too costly.
They build from a blueprint, so you write from a blueprint.
Unless you want to do what amateurs do, and that is spend one third writing, and two thirds of their time rewriting.
That’s about as attractive as a pair of taxman’s trousers.
You may be a little bit confused right now, and that’s a good thing because you’re out of your comfort zone and into your expansion zone.
One of my favourite sayings is…
“If you’re not confused – then you must be thoroughly misinformed.”
Now, back to the notes in the scale.
You can think of each note as an emotion within the scale of positive or negative.
In music there is what’s known as tension.
It usually builds with a chord progression and goes from the lower notes to the higher ones.
The higher the note, the more tension you experience.
And that tension builds until it reaches the seventh note.
Then, the resolution comes on the eighth note and the cycle begins again.
If the musician knows what she is doing, she will hold that seventh note for as long as possible.
This increases the tension.
Then when the resolution comes it’s like a big sigh of relief.
You can do the same in your stories when you build tension with suspense and curiosity.
You then make the reader wait.
For the answer.
You always want your reader to be asking themselves, “What happens next?”
The relief comes when your protagonist gets what she wants.
This is known as “chase and capture.”
You can also use humour as relief.
It breaks up the tension.
Any classic opera will be using these techniques to keep people hooked.
The basic premise is “something happens to someone and something has to be done about it.”
Another strategy used in operas (which are stories set to music) is “someone wants something and is having trouble getting it.”
Think, the hero of your story has a goal. There will be conflict (obstacles in the way).
And an unwillingness to compromise.
If you’ve seen the first John Wick film you’ll see at the start something happens to him and now something must be done about it.
Then you’ll notice that John Wick wants revenge badly and is having trouble getting it.
Throughout the film John has a goal – revenge – there’s conflict – the mob – and John’s unwillingness to compromise.
Those plot strategies are what makes this (and any) film great.
As writers we’re in the “emotional delivery business.”
If you’re not making your reader feel deep emotions while they are reading then you’ve no business writing to them.
You can’t bore someone into buying.
Some great writers use humour to sell. The best example I’ve ever found is the s.mouse letters.
Think series fiction in direct mail. There were 8 wonderful episodes in just one season.
The pilot episode.
i am s. mouse of s.rose, inc and im the boss. when bob rose and dick rose leave at night im in charge.
if I want I can put my feet up on dick roses desk and squeak my head off. but im in trouble now for answering the phone.
last night a man called up and said send me out 10,000 filing cabinets, 23 used comptometers and 341 new and used desks and chairs.
well, i said, o.k and he said, to whom am I speaking. and I said, this is s. mouse of s. rose, that’s whom. and he said, oh, well be sure and tell dick or bob what i want, and then he hung up. so i feel like a rat.
if i tell dick rose somebody wanted 10,000 filing cabinets he would just laugh at me, because i didn’t get the guys name or address.
so im writing you on this electric typewriter they left plugged in and i hope you’re the guy who talked to me last night.
but even if you aren’t, why not order something from dick rose or bob rose. they’ll give you a good deal. and they’ve got everything in office fixtures furniture and machines. just call them up at ch 1-1060 and tell them i sent you.
The letter was signed with a mouse paw print… And a postscript added:
p. s. the roses will treat you right. if you don’t want to buy it they’ll rent it to you. and if you don’t want to buy or rent you can sell your stuff to them.
There was a smattering of response. But when letter number two came from s. mouse two weeks later, the phone really began to ring. Orders began to flow in (many addressed directly to s. mouse and some even included cheques made out to “s. mouse” – the company framed one, but cashed the rest).
That’s the power of story. However, even the sharpest knife in the drawer can’t cut by itself, that’s why you add humour and/or entertainment to your story.
Using humour in your stories.
One way I’ve found is to be a character with attitude. What I mean is – you use one of the following four attitudes.
As you can see the writer of the S. Mouse story chose weird with a touch of stupid. And that’s why it worked so well.
Going back to the four attitudes, make sure you exaggerate the one you choose.
For example, I’m going to choose “stupid” as an attitude.
This story comes from the parody on Netflix called “Death to 2020.”
It’s not exact, but you’ll get the idea.
“With this third lockdown I felt so lonely I created a multiple personality to keep myself company.
But have you ever tried to keep a two-meter distance from yourself?”
If we refer back to the emotions you’ll see in both stories surprise was the dominant feeling.
Your stories must also entertain.
A city woman on a weekend break is strolling along a country lane, when she sees a farmer in his orchard.
The farmer is surrounded by piglets who are squealing excitedly.
The farmer bends down and picks up a piglet so it can eat an apple from the tree.
He puts this one down and picks up another piglet, lifting it high into the branches where the apples are sweetest. Then another, then another…
The woman watches this for some time and then can no longer contain her impatience, “what on earth are you doing?”
“Doin’?” Says the farmer, “I’m feedin’ my pigs. That’s what I’m doin’.”
“I can see that,” says the woman, “but why are you picking each one of them up to eat?”
“Why? So’s they can eat. They loves apples does my little piggies, and I got loads v apples on my trees this year.”
“But that’s so inefficient. You’re making lots of work for yourself.”
“Work?” Says the farmer. “My little piggies ain’t heavy.”
“But for goodness sake,” says the woman, “you could just shake the tree, and let them eat apples off the ground. That way you could save a lot of time?
“Time?” Says the farmer, what’s time to a pig?”
Just as a musician has a collection of songs, you too should have a collection of stories.
And in your collection of stories each one must make a point.
Here are some story themes you can work with.
“Who I am.”
“Why I am here.”
“The vision” story.
The “I know what you’re thinking” stories.
A time you shined.
A time you blew it.
Something you learned from a mentor.
Some insights you got from a book, a movie, or a current event.
And of course, parables like the farmer and his piglets.
Now, to wrap things up, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite quotes from Joan Baez…
“All serious daring starts from within.”
If this quote doesn’t motivate you to think in terms of story not selling, then nothing will.
And that’s why I encourage you to take what you’ve learned in this article and use it to transform yourself. Because no matter who you are, you too can attract clients at will with the power of your story!