image for post - FT 157: Story Selling Your Way to Clients with Crystal Smith

FT 157: Story Selling Your Way to Clients with Crystal Smith

Crystal Smith is the mastermind behind Shine Consulting where she helps solo-preneurs tell their origin stories in order to sell themselves better. Crystal refers to this process as "story-selling." Story-selling is more than just talking about your experiences, it's about connecting your own personal story to your business. 

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Crystal shares with us:

We all know what content marketing is, but have you ever heard of story-selling? Story-selling is just like storytelling, only as freelancers we have the unique opportunity to tell our story in our content marketing in order to attract our most favorite clients.

Meet Your Daily Passion
The most important part to story-selling is knowing why you do what you do. You have to tap into the emotion of your content by figuring out what drives you to work on a daily basis. Crystal’s own passion for telling stories is what inspired her to start her own business. So think about what inspires you. What triggered you to finally break out on your own? What motivated you to take on that challenge? Don’t leave anything out. Your answers to those questions are key to figuring out what kind of story you want to tell your clients.

We never connect ourselves with our business enough. Story-selling is just a great way to use your stories and your passion to separate yourself from the competition.

The biggest marketing mistake freelancers are guilty of is not including enough of themselves or their emotions in their content. Being a successful freelancer comes down to being passionate about what you’re doing. If you can’t explain why you’re motivated to work for your clients, you may not be ready to take on those kinds of clients just yet.

Meeting your daily passion isn’t always as easy as it looks. Answering questions about yourself honestly can be tricky. Take the time to marinate with your thoughts and your emotions in order to uncover what drives you. Crystal offers a few ways you can start this conversation with yourself and discover your passion.

The Kind of Story You Want to Tell
It’s easier to meet your daily passion when you know how important emotion is to driving sales. Emotional marketing is exactly what it sounds like, and Crystal shares her tactics for turning your passion into the emotional kind of story you want to sell.

Emotional marketing is marketing that appeals directly to the emotional state of your clients and your target audience.

Crystal follows an 80-20 rule, meaning that 80% of all sales decisions are based on emotion. Only 20% of what she calls our “professional side” has any actual say in what your clients will buy. The art of story-selling lies in tapping into this emotional buying potential with your unique point of view and connecting with potential clients on a more personal level.

Your sales content – what you use on your website and post on social media – should be so much more than just content. It should be your story. Stories are important to how we learn and process information, but they are also how humans get to know one another and build relationships. Your business is about creating relationships with clients, and clients respond better when you tell them a story they can relate to on an emotional level.

What are those stories that have an emotional value to you? What are those stories that make you feel something? That’s a place to start.

The right clients will identify with you when you tell them a great story about the emotional connection you have with your work. The kind of story you tell can generate whatever emotion you want. Crystal shares examples of clients who have used both happy and sad stories to connect with their clients, and there are even a few instances when sharing stories about working with your favorite past clients can trigger an emotional connection. The kind of story you tell should exemplify what it’s like to work with you and why clients keep coming back.

Start Story-Selling
When you have a story in mind, Crystal recommends looking at your target audience and figuring out what your story could mean to them. Remember, you are trying to build a relationship with your ideal clients. You want to make sure you understand each other on an emotional level that goes beyond the business transaction.

We end up being so connected with the people that we work with, and if we don’t like each other – what are we doing here?

Crystal uses examples from her own consulting experiences helping new entrepreneurs discover their daily purpose. We share our favorite story-sellers and break down the how and why their emotional strategies are so effective. She warns new freelancers not to pick things just to pick them. This goes for your logo, website design, even your email signature. Everything you include in your story-selling should be important to your personal brand, and we break down how to work stories into every page of your website, even the services page.

Your first attempt at story-selling should be on a platform where you already have a lot of success. Don’t try and fix what isn’t broken, she says. Testing your story-selling technique on an already successful campaign will boost your confidence and increase the likelihood that loyal customers will share your story with others. Later, Crystal recommends using two platforms so you can reach out to as many potential clients as possible.

Just be prepared to fail at selling your story right the first time. In fact, your story is going to evolve as your business evolves. No emotion is ever permanent, and new clients and new experiences are going to change the way you approach your content marketing strategy. You may get lucky with your first story and attract your new favorite clients, but don’t count on it.

It doesn’t always happen that way first, and that’s okay. That’s why re-branding exists. We should all be doing that anyway.

It will take time to find the emotional balance between yourself, your story, and your clients. Nailing emotional marketing with your niche is tricky, no matter what business you’re in, but Crystal’s advice should make tapping into your storytelling skills a little easier so you can start selling your story and yourself to your ideal clients.

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