Why the best stories come from inside your comfort zone

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If you’re a business owner, you probably know you need to go outside your comfort zone to achieve the results you desire.

  • You have to speak to audiences when you’re really an introvert.
  • You have to write content when you still hold memories of your scary tenth grade English teacher.
  • You have to reach out to prospects and sell them on your expertise when you’ve got a really bad case of impostor syndrome.

Good copywriting will reach your audience at the emotional level.

So you might be advised to, “Tell a story about why you started your business. Show how you struggled. Share your mistakes and be vulnerable.”

For some entrepreneurs, that’s good advice. For others, it’s deadly poison.

You can usually tell when people are forcing themselves to share content that doesn’t feel comfortable to them.

Just the other day I got an email where someone, desperate to relate to a news story, actually wrote, “One way or another, death is often a profound experience.”

Often? The person who wrote that sentence is probably in cringe mode right now.

Once I got an email from someone about missing a word on a third-grade spelling test. I can’t remember what the point was … but I do remember feeling embarrassed for the person who wrote about it.

Your clients want to learn how you can help them. They want to believe you’re an expert. When your name comes up, they don’t want their first thought to be, “Oh yeah…she’s the one who failed that third-grade spelling test.”

Stories are powerful because people remember them. They’re hard to forget, even if you try.

So when you tell a story that works against you, that’s what your audience remembers. Your story becomes your brand. So it’s important to control the story.

These stories will be especially damaging when you’re new. After you’re firmly branded in your audience’s mind, you can show a different side of your experience.

“But I need to show empathy!”

True. But empathy doesn’t mean, “I’ve walked in your shoes.” It means communicating, “I treat my clients with respect. I don’t keep them waiting. I listen to what they’re telling me.”

To understand where to add empathy, look at the backstories of your clients — the stories they bring when they call you or make their first appointment.

Your clients come with baggage.

When you address these concerns, you don’t need to dig up your own past. You don’t need to get uncomfortable. You simply present, with complete professionalism, the story of how you provide service.

Don’t let anyone tell you to be vulnerable or share a painful story.

You can connect with clients and demonstrate empathy by focusing on your business. Sometimes it’s appropriate to share a story, especially when you deliver services on particularly sensitive topics.

Clients can tell when you’re not being authentic and not comfortable in your own business persona. They’ll push back because they want you to experience you as someone they can trust — not someone needy.

If you’d like to learn more about storytelling, I created this free report: 3 Story Mistakes Most Businesses Make (and the one key to fixing them). Click here for immediate free download.

To learn more about relating to clients, check out Click here for details and purchase.

Helping entrepreneurs and independent professionals grow their businesses one story at a time. http://cathygoodwin.com

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