December’s that time of the year when you take a good long hard look at your business and whether it’s really delivering on the business goals and milestones you set.

It tends to be a month where, if things aren’t looking rosy, you aim to reinvent yourself for the new year. Whether that’s a change in your business processes, current offering, pricing model or even your niche, you have a renewed sense of urgency and motivation that comes from ushering in a new year.

Well you are not alone. Just about every person and organization is in the midst of reinvention in an attempt to transform their business right now.

If only we could be more like Madonna

I’m a personal fan of Madonna, because quite frankly she seems way cooler now at 50, then she did in her 20s. She is the queen of reinventing herself.

She always knows what the next hottest trend is and how to jump on it. She knows what will be popular and how to cash in on that. She hires a smart crew of people to keep abreast of these changes so she can plan her next move accordingly.

Madonna consistently manages to tell us a new compelling story. We want to read on and follow her journey. She’s a page turner in action.

If you want to change the world, change your story

We’re all facing the need to change the story. Whether you’re an individual or institution, the status quo is feeling less comfortable.

Yet letting people decide for themselves is one of the great secrets of true influence. Other methods of influence – persuasion, bribery or charismatic appeals are PUSH strategies.

Story is a PULL strategy – if it’s good enough people – of their own free will – come to the conclusion they can trust you and the message you bring through your business.

The six steps of storytelling revealed

1. Who I am

Give them a taste of who you are and why they can trust you. We filter every word through a  believability index based on our judgements of a person so self disclosure is key.

Theory is if I trust you enough to show me my flaws you can trust me enough to show me yours.

Great leaders use the power of a story of a personal flaw to great effect to build their reputation and that of their business.

2. Why am I here

Your reasons for wanting to influence may combine selfish reasons but if you acknowledge them upfront people will be more accepting.

People need to know ‘what’s in it for them’ but also ‘what’s in it for you’. Be genuine.

3. Vision Story

If you’ve satisfied 1 & 2 then they’re ready to listen to what you think is in it for them so you need to paint a moving picture of benefits

Take time to find a story of your vision in a way that connects – a story that they see. A story that weaves all the pieces together – especially the struggles and frustrations- so that they can make sense of it.

4. Teaching stories

By telling a teaching story it can help us make sense of new skills in meaningful ways.

For example showing your client how they can improve their sales by 40% by using your product or service by giving a successful case study of a similar client, is more useful then telling them why they’re not getting the sales results they want.

5. Values in motion

Best way to show someone is by example, the second best way is to tell a story with an example
For example as a new Sales Manager holding their first team meeting they could tell a story about the time they made a major mistake that nearly cost the company dearly.

Because they owned up to it straight away they earned the trust of the client instead who doubled their order. This story clearly shows the integrity the sales manager and allows their team to know what to expect of them

6. I know what you are thinking stories

When you tell a person a story that makes people wonder if you’re reading their minds they love it.
If you’ve done your homework on the customer group and who you need to influence it’s relatively easy to identify their potential objections to your message.

If you name their objections first you’re that much closer to disarming them. You can call them out upfront on why they may want to discredit you and can neutralize concerns without any direct confrontation.

Tell your story

Storytelling is the most valuable skill you can develop to help you influence others and as a result your business.

It is your birthright to be a good storyteller. In a sense your life is a story and you are already telling that one perfectly. So now weave that into your business and why it matters.

Natalie Sisson is a suitcase entrepreneur, travelling the world, running her business and having an adventure. She helps you find creative ways to run your business from anywhere using online tools, social media and outsourcing. You can find her over on `The Suitcase Entrepreneur’.

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