One of the most impactful business development strategies is storytelling.
However, in this era of ‘big data,’ professional service firms — and particularly their marketers and business developers — rely primarily on facts and statistics to convey their value proposition. There is nothing more scintillating to a client than hearing that a firm is ‘over 100 years old,’ has ‘20 (or more) offices,’ has ‘500 licensed engineers,’ or has constructed ‘more than 1M square feet’ of new buildings in the last 10 years. Oh, and by the way, we are ‘always’ on time and on budget.
Too often, these mind-numbing, eye-glazing factoids have replaced real narrative about the challenge, the approach, the solution, and the benefits, as ‘proof’ of the ability of the firm to provide real and sustainable value for their clients. Why? Facts are simple to remember and to regurgitate. For the non-technical marketing and business developer, facts are the ‘easy’ answer. Writing value-based narrative is increasingly a lost art. And, again too often, the original storytellers (those involved in the development and delivery of the service) are gone or weren’t asked.
Today, there is such a focus on the structure and the data contained in ‘customer relationship management’ systems as the ‘be all, end all’ resource for ‘knowledge’ that the stories have gotten lost in the database. And, with the rise of visual media (i.e., film and television) and instant, mass communication (i.e., the Internet and all of its resources; combined with the era of instant access of the ‘bring your own device’) has had a noticeable impact on both the narrator and the narrative.
To get back to effective storytelling, communicators, whether marketer or business developer, must engage with the consultants, designers, engineers, and project managers, and the clients, who are involved in each project at the outset. Start a dialogue, document the progress, and create a story worth telling, and hearing. Nothing ‘sells’ like a good story.
# # #