To stand out, be recognized or even deserve a seat in the room, you need a good origin story. It’s what helps someone remember you after a brief interaction. Maybe it includes a little mystery to keep people intrigued to continue the conversation.
A carefully crafted legend will tell people who you are, why you’re uniquely qualified to be a part of their company, what you bring to the table, and maybe even how you plan to benefit from the relationship.
So let’s look at the essential structure of such a narrative…
A good origin story subconsciously communicates these three prerequisite qualities of a potential friend or advisor:
Competence: This should be obvious. Your potential customers, in response to your marketing, must be confident in your ability to help them. Colleagues must know that you can carry your own weight in the workplace.
Good character: Everything about your story must convey impeccable ethics. The things you do and don’t do or say and don’t say are a reflection of your honesty and ability to play fair.
Good will: Your story is the perfect vehicle for displaying empathy and understanding for the kind of customers and clients you wish to attract. Yes, you are of general high character, but there needs to be a special place in your heart that wants to see this specific type of individual succeed.
Your origin story should answer the question: Who are you?
Your colleagues and prospects need a frame of reference. They need to know some basic facts about your background. And more importantly, they need sound reasons to believe you are the right person to be dispensing the kind of advice they’re looking for.
If you give them a litany of facts about your achievements, accreditation, experience etc., you may bore them or come off as boastful. But if you weave these facts into a satisfying personal story, you become a fascinating character that people will want to listen to and believe.
To develop your story, answer these questions:
- Are you a family man or woman?
- What were you like as a kid?
- What did your parents teach you?
- What did you learn from your first job?
Stay relevant to the needs of your prospects but stitch a half a dozen personal facts into your story. Of course, you will also include some facts about your professional qualifications.
- What specifically have you done lately that demonstrates you can solve a problem?
- What’s in it for YOU? Your prospects want to know your motivations.
It’s not enough for your story to demonstrate a certain skill set, level of experience, or expertise. It should not only be built around your victories.
If you try to portray yourself as a miracle man or woman, your prospects will have a great deal of trouble relating to you. It’s important that you share your struggles and the relevant lessons you learned, as well.
Sharing your suffering may be painful. It may make you feel vulnerable. But letting people see a little of your soft underbelly is essential to creating empathy and making a true connection with your target market.
Don’t forget to show people that you made hard choices in your life that demonstrate your ethics and integrity. Tell them about a time you were tempted to take an easy way out that threatened to compromise your values and why you rejected the temptation.
Here’s an outline to use as a guide:
At the beginning, you have an unfulfilled desire. An antagonistic force — another person, an institution, the forces of nature, or perhaps some aspect of your own personality stands in the way of your desire.
You muster the courage to step out of your comfort zone and begin searching for a way around this limitation.
You seek out a mentor. You try different tactics with your mentor. Some move you forward while others waste your time and test your resolve.
Chances are you are tested to the breaking point. Great sacrifices are made, until something borderline miraculous allows you to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Your story allows people to see that you know first hand what it’s like to want something so badly you can almost taste it. While at the same time you felt utterly frustrated in your efforts to get it.
So you are now here offering to help others with their thwarted desires. This shared feeling of disappointment is what creates a natural affinity between you and your market.
You’ve been where they are, you’ve felt their pain, but you found a cure and want to share it. That’s why you’re here. You really care about your colleague’s or prospect’s success. The money is secondary and your story proves it.
If you don’t have direct personal experience of frustration, explain how you felt the pain of someone close to you. Tell them how you helped this person find a solution to their problem. In this case, the person you helped becomes the protagonist of the story and you become the mentor.
Your origin story is a powerful targeting tool that serves to attract your ideal clientele. People tend to like people who are similar to them and who share the same core beliefs and values. So, if you tell your story in a way that illuminates your values it will act as a magnet. Some people will be attracted while others are repelled. And this is exactly what you want.
As they climb the relationship ladder, the probability of affinity increases and you don’t waste your time with people who are ill fitted for your practice. This might sound discriminatory. It is. But you are not a government agency. The more discriminating you are, the tighter the business bonds you will be able to create.
Such is the awesome practice-building power of a good origin story.[Ed. Note. Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant, direct response copywriter and publisher of the highly acclaimed home study course, Quantum Income Leap — The Fastest Way to 6 Figures and Beyond, As an In-Demand Coach, Consultant or Freelancing Pro… Click here to register for a free web workshop. No Credit Card Required.]