Why You Need a “Who I Am” Story to Succeed
When someone tells you they want to ‘think it over’ it’s a sign they haven’t invested in you. They are most likely not deciding about your recommendations. They are deciding about forming a relationship with you. Remember, the three most important things in this business are to be likeable, smart and trustworthy. A great way to be likeable and build trust is to tell a ‘who I am’ story to prospective clients. By telling them a story about yourself you can influence people and establish your credibility. A great story will resonate with clients, stir up their emotions and get them to act.
Make an emotional connection
While people value competence, they’re far more likely to decide to do business with you because they like you. Stories and anecdotes make people connect with you emotionally. It’s important to recognize however that we’re not talking anecdotes here. Repeating an anecdote isn’t telling a story. A story has a structure that makes it memorable – makes you memorable – so stop telling anecdotes and start telling stories.
Allow people to get to know the real you so they want to do business with you. People generally don’t trust strangers, so create a great ‘who I am story’ about your business life, personal life, about mentoring, or anything else that enables people to connect with you on an emotional level.
When they are deciding whether or not to open an account with you, it’s not about how you manage money. They want to know things like “Where did you grow up? Do you have kids? Are you on my side?” They’re not interested in the numbers. Gain their trust so you can exert influence and separate yourself from the competition.
Whether someone decides to do business with you depends on feeling and perceptions. It’s not because you or the numbers are correct. We think objectively. Clients think emotionally. The consultant Annette Simmons is right when she says the language of objective thinking is numbers and the language of emotional thinking is storytelling. When people decide to buy life insurance or set up a financial plan, they generally do so because something happened; something emotionally sparked their desire to buy. Similarly, to get people to open an account with you, you need to trigger something emotionally to inspire them to act.
So what kind of story should you tell?
People remember good stories and love a good storyteller. In fact you’ve always been a great storyteller, whether you know it or not. If you see a car accident your instinct is to tell someone the story. You tell stories daily, so put this ability to good use.
Tell them a story about you. A true story. Talk about the couple you knew who put all their money into CDs and it didn’t work out for them. Let your story illustrate your core moral beliefs. Tell them what you’ve learnt from life, describe how rewarding it is being a financial advisor. Decide the message you want people to take away and employ an ending that verifies the takeaway.
Find a quality you want your clients to understand about you. Write down this quality. Think back to the one time in your life you really felt this quality and developed it into a story. If you want to get across the fact that you always believe in doing what’s right by your clients, incorporate this message into your story. Introduce goals, obstacles you’ve overcome, the codes you live by. Your story needn’t be long but give it passion.
Practice getting your story right
Watch your clients for reactions while you’re telling the story. Pay close attention to the stories you tell every day to see how they impact people. Drop those that clearly aren’t resonating.
The ‘who I am’ story is a tough call, perhaps even tougher for men since on the whole women find speaking to people on a personal level easier. But if you want to be the financial advisor who has the qualities your clients are seeking you need to provide evidence you are personable. Prove it by delivering a great ‘who I am’ story.