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PART 1: Connection
Connection is a give and take; it implies reciprocation. That could be a reciprocation of attention, an exchange of ideas or mutual validation.
What fosters connection and how does it happen? What makes us feel genuinely connected to something or someone? And how does this magic happen for brands and businesses?
I have come to learn–certainly from many years of helping brands and businesses sell stuff–that there are 3 main tenants of lasting connection…
1. Genuine human interaction
When your work is rooted in something real, those pain points and struggles are felt on a very deep, visceral level. This connection shows your audience that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty and go above and beyond. You feel their pain because you’ve been there.
For those of you selling services, you can also think of this as that ‘specialness’ and delight that you bring to the experience. This can come in the form of personalized messages, recognition–little unexpected things you do to make sure that your customers feel heard and valued.
2. Authenticity and transparency
At the very heart of true connection is the ability to be authentic, real and even vulnerable. These brave qualities build trust and forge relationships quicker than any other approach.
3. Careful articulation of a pain point or struggle
When you build clarity around the pain and struggle felt by the people whose problem you are determined to solve, a need for your services becomes elevated and your audience how now been finely tuned to accept your message. Always forge connections with your audience through emotion, honesty and even humor. Show them that you know exactly how they are feeling. Make it obvious that by engaging with your organization, their lives are sure to improve.
PART 2: Anatomy of an Engaging Story
Now let’s take what we’ve learned about connection and add an essential layer; the anatomy of an engaging story.
The human brain is wired to respond to a well crafted narrative. The compelling stories that stick in our brains are centered around conflict and change; overcoming something extraordinary, experiencing a transformation.
Here are the five components to an engaging story:
1. The Setting
Set the scene and describe where it all began (as simply and succinctly as possible)
2. The Pain Point
This is when something has disrupted the setting/status quo. This disruption presents hardship and then opportunity. This conflict results in a shifted perspective of the status quo.
3. The Quest
Challenge accepted! This is when the protagonist springs into action. The quest often involves self transformation. This is the part of the story that illustrate failures, difficulties and setbacks.
4. The Crisis
This is when big change happens! Critical decisions are made that set the course for a mindset shift, big success or significant change in trajectory.
5. The Solution
Lessons are learned and incorporated into a new reality. The protagonist adjusts to new their status and absorbs the lessons of the story.
PART 3: Getting the Sale
Making a pitch or creating compelling sales copy is essential to survival and the very lifeblood of every small business. The following are 3 secret weapons that you can use to build trust immediately and close more deals as a result.
Attunement is the ability to bring your actions and outlook into harmony with other people. This attribute is essential for positioning yourself or your company as the right one for the job.
One way to do this is through mirroring. And it really is exactly how it sounds; this is where you sync your mannerisms and vocal patterns with the other person. A lot of us do this naturally and without really thinking about it. And the key to mirroring of course is subtlety. For example, your client sits back in their chair and crosses their legs. You wait a minute or 2 and do the same. The inflections and cadence of their voice is light and easy-going. You do the same. This approach might seem weird and a little bit creepy at first, but mirroring helps to elevate comfort and deepen trust.
Another component to attunement is social cartography. This is when you size up a situation and draw a mind map of how people are related in terms of the hierarchy and organizational structure. By taking the time to mentally create a high level view, you now have a better understanding of how to allocate time, energy and effort to the right relationships in a professional situation.
Simply stated; this is when you truly believe in what you are selling.
Now this seems like a no-brainer, right? But the truth is–we all suffer from negative self talk and imposter syndrome at one point or another. Or even several times throughout the day. Unfortunately our brains are constantly trying to sabotage our efforts and override our self confidence. That’s why it’s important to have strategies in place for when you’re second guessing yourself.
These approaches might include:
- Self motivating talk: perhaps you have positive mantra that helps you to stay centered and focused
- If that’s too woo-woo, maybe you have a handful of people or colleagues you can lean on for accountability. Finding a tribe and building positive, professional relationships will help to remind you just how far you’ve come and why you do what you do.
Buoyancy is really about checking in with yourself and incorporating positive daily activities. These efforts will bring you back to your core mission, which is (or should be) rooted within your brand story.
How will your product or service make your customer’s life easier?
This is a great reminder for sales copy; people don’t care about how your grandfather founded the company 100 years ago. They want to know how their lives will improve if they engage with your brand. So always frame your services in terms of benefits to your customer or client.
Also , avoid decision fatigue at all costs. We all get very close to our products and services and sometimes, when we have a lot to offer, we want to tell our audience about all the things! Please…don’t do this.
When you give your audience every single option available, you’re asking them to do way too much work. Interest will fizzle and they’ll find someone else who has the answers; someone who removes all barriers to entry and provides the simplest solution.
So be sure to always circle back to this one simple question: how will this offering improve the lives of my customers?
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