With unseasonably warmer weather, we are opening the windows again. The cats love it (and so do I). To a cat, every open window is a window of opportunity. They’re constantly waiting for just the right moment to make their escape.
As a cat owner, it’s my job to make sure they have screens so they can’t take advantage of those opportunities.
As a marketing strategist, I support clients as they watch for open windows and then take full advantage of what’s out there. Often a small window can have a huge impact on your bottom line… if you can move quickly to take advantage before the window closes forever.
Of course, many of my clients are extremely busy. Some even relate to the notion of being “time-starved.” For busy business owners, a window of opportunity draws mixed emotions. “Yes, I want to do it… but I don’t have time!”
If you haven’t planned for it, a window of opportunity can seem more like an opportunity to work.
One client began our work together with an email, “I’m suddenly getting invitations to speak — but I don’t have time to prepare a talk! What can I do?”
Be ready with an Opportunity Kit so you will be ready to take advantage of these surprise invitations.
Your Opportunity Kit includes:
3 stories you can use when you’re invited on a guest gig
Remember that each story will be used to make a point, and you control the content. Typically you’ll need these 3 stories:
1 — A success story. This story shows how you helped a client deal with a significant challenge. Your client is the hero. You are the guide. Make sure your story emphasizes that you’re using a proven system with repeatable results.
2 — A passion story. Often you’ll be asked, “How did you get here?” Use the opportunity to demonstrate why you are the best possible choice for solving the client’s problem. Maybe one experience left you determined to make sure others didn’t suffer the way you did (showing passion). Or people started asking you to help them and now you have.a business (showing expertise).
Nobody cares about how you won the third grade spelling contest and decided to be a writer.
3 — A concept story. A story that offers an analogy of what you do. “It’s like dog training for people.”
You can learn more about these forms of storytelling from my kindle book on Amazon — click here to gain immediate access. It’s free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited.
A list of 10 questions that you’re ready to answer.
Stay away from process questions; focus on open-ended questions about challenges they face.
Keep the list in a file on your computer. As you think of answers, type them in.
Your subconscious mind will start looking for stories to fit each question. Add several stories to each question.
“How did you get to be… “
“What are the 3 biggest mistakes most people make when they…”
“What are the unwritten rules about…”
“Why you need to know about this topic…”
- If your host wants to interview you, no worries; you know your topic. You’ll get kudos for being a well-prepared interviewee.
- If your host turns the mike over to you, interview yourself. Turn the questions into topics and speak as you would to a live client. You wouldn’t need to rehearse for a client’s questions, so why rehearse now?
A card with this reminder note to yourself.
If it’s been a while since your last guest gig, you may have forgotten a few of the basic tips — things that can make a difference between a polished presentation that gets you invited back and a so-so presentation that leaves everyone feeling, “At least it’s over!”
— Remind yourself to speak slowly, but not too slowly. Use words and phrases that communicate the personality you want to brand.
— Don’t try to adapt to your host’s personality, if it’s different. Your host doesn’t want surprises. You were chosen for this opportunity because of who you are and what you bring to the table.
— Find out as much as possible about the audience. What types of stories do they bring to your presentation?
The best way to create these materials is to think like a copywriter. Ask yourself, “What does my audience want? Where is their greatest challenge or pain?” You then create questions, introduce answers, and leap through the window of opportunity with ease.
Most business owners make marketing a lot harder than it has to be. That’s because they haven’t claimed their marketing advantage — not just telling a story but telling the right story for your unique services and offers. Your marketing will become 10X more productive when your story responds to your client’s backstory.
Dr. Cathy Goodwin, a former marketing professor, helps service-based businesses establish their online presence and attract ideal clients with storytelling. Click here to download your free 3-step guide to branding with stories.