The other day I was talking to a potential client and although we had not spoken before, we were both really comfortable, the discussion was easy, I didn’t feel like a sales guy, and I don’t think he felt like a prospect.
I had asked a lot of questions, I had done a lot of listening and taken notes. I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of how we might be able to help.
For some reason I decided to say the following.
“Well, I am 42 years old and I’m married and I have two little girls, almost 7 and almost 2.” I explained where I lived, what its like and I told him about my cabin in the woods. I told him that I like to ski, and that I love what I do.
Then I told him about Tom, and explained how knowing this might help him better understand WHO we are and WHAT we do and WHY we do it the way we do.
Believe me, I could feel the entire tone of the conversation changing. He felt heard, I had taken the time to know him and then rather than jump into how I could help, I instead told him about who I am. The person, not the consultant.
“I have no desire to scale this, I have no desire to hire anyone who has skills similar to my own who I would have to manage …. I have little kids, I make plenty of money, and I really don’t want to make any more if it takes me away from the girls, or the lake.”
I told him why I have the business I have, and who it makes the most sense for me to work with. I told him stories about my clients and what they tell me.
Then he told me a really good story about himself. This is what we do when we share out story, we create an environment where other people feel comfortable enough to share with us.
Before I opened up about who I am, there was no perspective for the potential client. I was just a guy on the phone who may or may not have some ability to help who may or may not work with only 20 people per year.
However, once I explained who I am, where I live, and what my life is like, the fact that I work with only 20 people a year made perfect sense. I was no longer a consultant, or a sales guy, or the speaker.
I was Dennis, a successful entrepreneur with an enviable work life balance, and a healthy business and a sound understanding of who I am, and what my business does.
That’s a compelling story that people want to be a part of.
Start today. Inject your story into your conversations.