Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just tell your story.

Dear Friends,

I received this question over and over again in my mail bag from agents all over the country, so I'm answering it today as my 3 Minute Referral Tip of the week.

Dear Jeff,

I've been reading these tips for the past year or so and hope you will answer a few questions.

What type of marketing should I do?
What works best in today's market?
Is it newspapers, print advertising, local papers, email, internet?

What works?

Andrew S.

Thanks Andrew for your question and allowing me to post the answer in The 3 Minute Referral Tip.

My Answer:

Just tell your story!

Your referrals are all about relationships. Your relationships need to know what you do and how you help others.

Stories are the medium.

People have been learning, teaching, praying, socializing,and living by stories told from one generation to another.
Before the written word stories conveyed the message for thousands of years.

We live by stories.
We learn by stories.
We remember stories.

Just tell stories.

Do not over complicate this message. Just tell a simple short story and viola your message is sent.

Maybe the best example of "telling stories" in a contemporary medium is the Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, located just outside of Chicago.

Bob Hybels, pastor, began his little congregation almost 30 years ago with 45 people. Today the Willow Creek Community Church serves 20,000 a weekend and serves as a model for a non-domination evangelical workshop throughout the world.

In part, the way they share a message is rooted in story telling. The church looks like Radio City Music Hall but most important is the "process of involvement through story telling in Evangelical worship."

Where most "preachers" might get up on the pulpit and tell you how to be, how to live, how to pray, how to be a parent of a good citizen, the Willow Creek Community Church engages you
in the learning.

That is why the name of the church is the Willow Creek COMMUNITY Church.

Your referral advocates are your "community."

Let them be involved and engaged in what you do and how you help others. They become your witness, for lack of a better metaphor.

At the Willow Creek Community Church if they want to "preach about parenting" on any given Sunday they might stage several vignettes, short 5 minute plays, that tell a story they want their parishioners to think about.

For example:
The stage is set. A dad is sitting on his chair in the living room reading the newspaper. Mom is stage left in a mocked up kitchen preparing a meal.

Stage right an excited little boy in a baseball uniform comes running in with a bat on his shoulder and stands on the other side of his fathers newspaper and yells "Dad! Dad! I hit a home run today!" Dad! Dad!

He has to pull the paper down to get his fathers attention and his father says "That's good Billy, tell your mom" as he returns to reading his newspaper.

The little boy goes to tell his mom. He has to pull on her skirt to get her attention and he yells "Mom. Mom, I hit a home run today!"

His mother glances down to say "That's good. It's almost time for dinner. Go wash up."

You get the point. You get the message. Watching it play out in a story.

My point - Just tell your story!

You may be thinking "What does that have to do with me?"

Good question.

Instead of sending out newsletters, fancy emails or postcards about how to baste a turkey, or reminders of when to turn back the clock, tell your advocates about what you do and how you
help others.

They are also called "situational stories."

In the next 3 Referral Tip we will go into more detail about situational stories but for now STOP the fancy stuff and go simple.

Just tell stories about what you do and how you help ordinary people. Let your entire email and snail mail base of advocates, friends, family, customers, and partners, know the average situation you work on and create a breadth of awareness from only the perspective that you can tell.

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me.....
The best is yet to be!

On Your Team
Jeffrey Stanton ITI, CLC, CNE, WOW
Your Trusted Advisor For Life

One of the fastest ways to build a successful business is by training. Now, with me, I like to invest significant time immersing myself in training, while some people prefer to take it in bite-size chunks. Whatever your preference is, now is the best time to contact me.

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