Don’t tell stories that bare your soul. Instead, do this.

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Photo by Ariel Pilotto on Unsplash

How many times have you heard, “If you want to attract clients you must be vulnerable.”

Or, “Share your mistakes and your failures.”

Or, “Show that you’re human.”

One communication coach urges her clients to, “Get naked!”

Fortunately, her website doesn’t come with visuals.

This advice is a good example of how a strategy might work brilliantly for
some businesses, while others should stay far, far away.

Relate your background directly to whatever you are selling. For instance, if you’re a relationship coach, you could share the story of your break-up as a way to demonstrate what you learned along the way.

If you’re a business coach, you can talk about your breakup in the context of your marketing. For instance, “Here’s how to run your business when your life is derailed.”

Alternatively, you might show how your tough upbringing helped you become a strong, resilient business owner, but that’s a tougher sell.

When you ignore this guideline you risk being funny, not persuasive.

Once I listened to a webinar by someone who claimed to be an expert in the Law of Attraction. She shared her struggles to find the perfect mate. She came close, she said, but they just broke up.

It’s too early for her to share her story. A listener could say, “If she can’t attract her own desires, how will she help other people? Maybe the Law doesn’t really work.”

Maybe that’s not the way LOA works…but listeners will interpret what they hear in the simplest way possible. You can control what you share but prepare to be surprised by what people reflect back to you.

Better to tell a story about “how I fought back against challenging odds…and here’s how I use that experience to give my clients benefits they can’t get anywhere else.”

Prospective clients want to relate to your story in a meaningful way. They need to imagine themselves working with you and becoming empowered to get the results they desire and deserve.

I’ve learned not to share stories about the time I lived in Alaska or about my experiences doing standup comedy. They’re personal. They reveal something about me.

But my audiences don’t always relate and frankly, they get annoyed. Many have never been to Alaska and are more interested in warm Caribbean beaches. Some don’t particularly like comedy; others feel ill at the thought of giving a talk, let alone telling jokes to strangers.

Instead, tell stories about everyday events. Help your audience imagine themselves as a character in your story, based on their own experiences or what they’ve observed first-hand. Some of your best stories will be related to driving on the highway, being a guest for a holiday dinner, or adopting a dog.

Some very successful marketers disclose little or nothing about themselves.

I’ve bought products and services from some people who are just names to me. I don’t know if they have spouses, children, homes, or cars… and frankly, I don’t care.

Ultimately, you tell stories for a purpose. It doesn’t help to have prospects saying, “I’m sorry for him. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me.”

Instead, you gain credibility and make sales when you share stories of how you helped clients, and you get clients saying, “I want that for me.”

What’s more important than sharing your vulnerability story? Understanding where your clients feel vulnerable and discovering what they need from you. Download my free report on What Really Motivates Your Clients To Buy From You.

eOriginally published at

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time.

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