Storytelling is Strategy: Jim Shares How to Use Storytelling to Create a Meaningful Bond with Clients
As I speak with firm owners across North America, a common interest is in finding ways to differentiate their firm in the eyes of clients and prospects from other available options in the marketplace. Each court reporting firm has a unique story, something that sets them apart, something that makes them special and gives them a competitive advantage.
Another thing that becomes apparent in conversation is that firm owners don’t always have a true grasp on what makes them better or different than their competitors, or at least they can’t quickly explain it. That is why the following are so important to understand: 1) your firm’s unique qualities; 2) how your clients and prospective clients perceive your firm; 3) how the story you’re telling (or not telling) matches the qualities that law firms seek when hiring and retaining court reporting firms.
We know from research that relationships are key to building new business in the court reporting profession. Building such relationships means continually assessing your position in the marketplace and continually looking for better ways to understand and adapt to your clients’ needs.
This is not rocket science. In fact, it’s pretty fun (and I don’t mean to imply that rocket science isn’t fun). But when it comes to storytelling, there is a process to follow and one that is virtually guaranteed to equip you with a better narrative to support all of your marketing and communication efforts.
I know it can be challenging and intimidating — beginning with a blank page and attempting to come up with new messaging or a new story that is reflective of the best about your firm and then building corresponding strategy to get that message out there. The inertia that you must overcome to get there is where many firms stumble.
And that can be your advantage, overcoming the inertia that most firm owners never do.
In February at the NCRA Firm Owners’ Conference in Tucson, Nancy Varallo and Rob Deziel delivered a presentation that took a glimpse into the mind of your clients and how they make decisions. Decisions are not made logically in all cases. Judgment is not always sound. The good news is that if you and I know decisions are not made logically (or in sound fashion) and we build your firm’s story around the qualities and features of your firm that we know clients and prospects value, you begin with a distinct advantage.
In the time that has elapsed since the conference in Tucson, I have had the opportunity to speak with scores of firm owners. That combined with the lessons we have gathered from a large research project of court reporting firms and law firms has reinforced what we already knew – you MUST have a story that captures the attention and the imagination of your prospective clients if you expect to make a meaningful impression.
During the same presentation I just mentioned, Nancy and Rob showed a clip that I am particularly fond of that does a good job of showing the power of story. If you are a fan of the show Mad Men, or if you were in Tucson, you may know what’s coming; it’s from an episode during the show’s first season. The show’s hero, Don Draper, is pitching Kodak back in the 1960s on how to sell the company’s new flagship product, a slide projector, which has this magic, circular new feature. The Kodak executives wanted to use the concept of a wheel in their advertising; Don Draper had other ideas.
Watch the clip and then, when you get a chance, let’s talk about your firm’s story. Because it all Starts with a Conversation.(SM)