I’m sitting in the Westin in Los Angeles, while attending a huge conference for authors, consultants, speakers and coaches put on by James Malinchak (a highly-paid business consultant, and one of the featured celebrities on the hit ABC show, The Secret Millionaire).
Although attending these “outside-the-industry” events keeps me from attending to other, immediate tasks, I still love going to them, for the ideas, the networking and the inspiration. And YOU should definitely make a point in finding a few “non tax” conferences to get your mind away from the arcana of tax code and the weekly operations of your business.
James invited me to speak yesterday to his 750+ attendees about some of the strategies we’ve used to grow TaxProMarketer. And I was able to share some of my personal story, as I did so: coming out of youth ministry, our struggles with not (yet!) being able to conceive children — but, more importantly, how we’ve found such beauty and redemption in the road God has given us through adoption.
Here I thought that my strategies and tactics would be so memorable, and yet I’ve been stopped by about 30 people in the hallways who were (instead) touched by how personal I was, how they felt encouraged to see someone rising above the struggle, and even a woman in her forties who approached me with tears in her eyes, who had given up a child for adoption at the age of 19, and who said that my talk moved her and was a reminder that redemption is always possible.
Your clients care far more about your story than you might ever realize.
It’s no coincidence that storytelling, and its offshoots (movies, books, TV, sports and entertainment) is a trillion dollar industry in our world. Because we were made with a story in our hearts.
Yes, you deal with cold spreadsheets, forms and tables — but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a story to tell. It could be your own. Or, it could be stories about your clients and their families and businesses. Or your children, your spouse, your friends and referral partners.
The point is that leveraging the primal power of pain, redemption, laughter and beauty is not only possible when you think more expansively about its integration into your marketing and sales — it’s actually critical.
Retention rates skyrocket. Referrals go through the roof (who doesn’t like sharing a great story with their friends as a way to pass along their trusted advisor?). Client engagements become easier, as do offering ancillary services to existing clients.
But here’s the most important part: Your clients WILL tell a story about you to their friends … it’s only a matter of which story they tell. Because we speak and live through story, and so do your clients.
It can be as simple as “this guy saved me a few thousand on my return this year”, or it can be: “You’ve gotta see my CPA — she came from nothing, she’s built her great business from the ground up, she saves me money, and she really ‘gets’ what it means to build something.”
Will it be the one that you weave for them? Or will it, instead, be left up to the whims of chance?
It’s your decision — don’t let it be made for you.
Instead, find and create the story YOU want being told about you … and you tell it.