As you might have guessed, we’re seriously into reading here at The Newsletter Pro! We’ll devour just about any book, but, of course, there are some authors we just can’t live without. Salman Rushdie is currently topping my list and just last night he made a special visit to Boise State University. Once upon a time, I happened across Sir Rushdie’s books and fell truly, madly, deeply in love. He is a master of weaving, not merely telling, stories of such grace and magnitude that they transcend culture and grasp on to you with addictive wonder.
Needless to say, I’ve become quite the fan, so there was no way I was missing his visit! His presence on stage was just as fantastic as it is on the page and while he touched on literature, politics, and story craft, there was something he said, almost as an aside, that stuck with me. This isn’t a perfect transcription, but its essence was that, stories, not blood, make us families. As he tells it, no matter who you are, your family has it’s stories. Some are grand adventures, others aren’t altogether true, and a few carry a personal failing that we would rather forget but instead carry with us for generations. Fact or fiction, pride or shame, the stories we know within our family connect us like no genetic relationship ever could, and becoming part of the family means learning and becoming part of its stories.
I’m light years away from being a writer of the same caliber as Sir Rushdie, but I’m in the business of telling stories, your stories, to people you want to connect with. By sharing the stories of your life and your business, you’re inviting them to become part of your family in an incredibly powerful way. People do business with people they know and like, not just because they have added data, but because you’re weaving them tighter and tighter into your private tale. Stories have an amazing power to bring us together on a personal and professional level; after all, what else feels quite as good as those moments sitting around the table telling your friends and family the stories that define your life?
From a business perspective, you then have to weave a story that will truly make your clients part of the family. Obviously, a newsletter is a great place to start! It keeps the story going long after your clients leave the office. It’s your forum to share the tales you and your business are living. The more depth and personability you include, the more powerful and enduring your story is, but how do you keep the story going once they’re done reading that cover page? Your story telling follow through defines your success.
I love using my optometrist as a prime example for this. At each appointment, he chats with me for a full five to ten minutes before we even get down to the exam itself, taking notes throughout the whole conversation. Every time I come back, he reads over them before I come in and we pick up right where we left off. Sometimes he’ll ‘remember’ things I’ve forgotten, but the extra attention is definitely something that stays with me. Interestingly enough, he’s not even covered under my current insurance, but between the quality of his work and the storyline he’s cultivated, I’m willing to pay a little extra out of pocket for his care.
Your client knowledge is the best resource for that storytelling follow through. But there’s a humble, often overlooked tool that carries big results. Never underestimate the power of a simple note. After purchasing my house, our realtor sent us a fantastic card that was just as geeky as we are (“Home is Where the WiFi Is”). Inside was a paragraph or so that wished us well and a gift card for dinner at a local eatery. The restaurant she’d picked was even one we’d been chatting about while we were out looking for houses. Again, this makes her remarkable and pushes her past the boundary of business enterprise to friend.
When it comes to sharing a story that turns clients into family, the devil is in the details, a sentiment I think Sir Rushdie would soundly agree with!