A Key Aspect Of Storytelling To Improve Your Business Pitches

Cindy Apt

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Yesterday, I had a meeting with an NFT business led by some people I’ve known for 15 years. Someone I’ve known for 12 years suggested I take that meeting. It’s the only reason I agreed to carve out 45 minutes of my life.

I like these people. I really do, but when we started the meeting, all I heard was blah, blah, blah, me, me, me, buzzword, buzzword, buzzword for 35 minutes.

I finally said, “Stop!” Too many words! What’s the offer, what’s the ask and what’s in it for me?

Finally, it came out. They wanted me to promote the worst offer for an unproven business model for NFTs and cryptocurrency with an inexperienced team using one of the worst names and brands I’ve ever heard. I won’t mention it to protect nice people. Suffice to say, it’s the equivalent of calling an audience of smart people the “R” word.

It was a hard no. I asked them for permission to give them some advice. They said yes. I told them that was the worst pitch I’ve heard in five years; their branding was horrible; there was no story, no offer, no ask and no clear benefit to me for putting my reputation on the line for them.

In one minute, I summarized everything they tried to tell me, gave them a great pitch and told them how they could have won me over and walked away with a yes.

This is the norm. Most people—not just business owners—can’t tell a story or make a pitch in 30 seconds to save their life. They teach too much, talk too long and never get to the point of benefits, offer and ask.

Everyone has a story, one that is unique to you and your brand or business. Communicating that story can be the difference between success or failure.

When you tell your story effectively, people trust you, and quickly. They’ll hand over their hard-earned money and buy almost anything you put in front of them.

That trust can motivate them to:

• Follow you wherever you share it

• Become your customer and advocate

• Recommend you to people in their inner circle

• Stay with you as long as you’re relevant

You are one story and one connection away from having or doing most anything you want.

When you find a way to get the world to understand who you are and why they should know you, you can find success very quickly.

A few weeks ago I sat down with my friend, Justin Breen to discuss his powerful storytelling system, “the four key elements that all great entrepreneurs use to make their stories awesome.”

Justin has a gift in that he can hear a story, highlight the important parts, simplify it and create a hook that can make someone want you and your brand. He told me there are four key storytelling elements:

• The Hero’s Journey

• Honesty and Accuracy

• A Compelling Narrative

• A Crystal Clear Point of View

All four storytelling elements are necessary for becoming a successful storyteller but one is crucial: “The Hero’s Journey.”

The hero’s journey is a common narrative that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge and then returns home transformed.

The hero’s journey is present in nearly every single great movie, play, novel or poem that’s ever been written because it keeps the reader engaged and invested.

We all have something we’ve fought against in our lives. What hurdles have you overcome? How did you achieve your biggest goals? Everyone is on a journey, but an audience will follow yours if they feel it will help them solve a problem they’re living or experiencing right now. Don’t worry if you feel that your story is typical. Take the time to develop it; there are people out there with whom it will resonate.

Storytelling is more important than it has ever been.

We see it in influencer marketing every day. We hate being “sold,” but we love buying things from people we respect because we feel we connect with them somehow.

It’s why 10 years later, Steve Jobs’ soul still inhabits Apple, arguably the most valuable company in the world. People want to connect with other people, not a jingle or a gimmick.

Will you tell your story, or will you let someone else tell it for you? Own your narrative and join the 1% of people who create (instead of just consume).

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