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Easy Steps to Tell “Your Story”

by chris on February 17, 2013

Authored by a Shy Miller Consulting, LLC Contributing Columnist!

Many years ago, I was working in retail, when my store manager pointed to a sale end-cap and asked me, “What story are you telling with this display?” He went on to describe how every display should tell the customer a story, and those stories should match the overall message of the company.  This was, and still is, the best advice I received as a young salesperson.

Integrate these tips into your daily routine, and share your business story with everyone you touch!

Be authentic.

What is your personal story? Is your company laid back and relaxed, or high energy and intense? Are you family-friendly or do you target white-collar professionals?  If you are unsure, you can analyze your own style and match your company’s story to your personal style.  This authenticity will trickle down to your employees and to your customers. Successful companies have leaders that motivate through their personal style.  Think Steve Jobs, (innovative and detail oriented) and Sam Walton, (value and customer focused). Two very different styles, but both authentic and easy to translate to employees and customers.  People will follow you when you are true to yourself.

Hire authentic people.

Notice I didn’t say, “hire people like you.”  You need different types of people with diverse backgrounds and ideas, not drones that think and act exactly the way you do.  The key is to find people who can be passionate about what you are hiring them to do and buy into the story you want to tell.  For example, let’s imagine you have a silly creative, work atmosphere.  Your accountant will need to be passionate about accounting, as well as support (and be excited) about the idea that your business environment is fun, not stodgy.

Pay attention to the details.

Remember my store manager’s wisdom?  Every part of the store (and your business) has to tell your story.  That’s right, it’s time to bring the creative team, the sales people, the line workers and the finance folks all on the same page.  And, yes, I realize in some instances all of those people are just you!  Your website, your offices, your store and your marketing all need to “say” the same thing.  Is your website style “fun,” but your employees walk around in ties and frowns on their faces?   Does your restaurant target families, but lack a baby changing station? Pay attention to the details, they matter!

Be the End User.

Take one hour every month and become a target customer of your business.  Sometimes we become so busy, we forget to look at our business from our customers’ perspective.  Do you have a beautiful, creative display behind a dirty window?  Are your employees smiling? Is your online store easy to find and use?  Walk around the office and through the sales floor. Check out the bathrooms and the warehouse. Spend some time on your website.   Buy your product from your employees.   Find out the story that is being told and make sure it’s the one you want!

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