I’ve watched certain movies, um, let’s say a few times. Among them, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Wings of Desire, and Jerry McGaguire.
Of course I cry when Dorothy Boyd says, “You had me at hello.”
After that long soliloquy about how he needed her, wanted her, couldn’t live without her, he needn’t have bothered. All he really had to do was walk in the door.
As a writer, that kind of verbal charisma would pretty much put me out of business. In this business, the first phrase only qualifies as swoon-worthy if it makes your reader want to keep reading.
(If only a mere “Hello” did the trick, writing would be so easy and pointless… that’s really why I cried!)
A Single “Hello?”
But it’s worth exploring why a single hello did it.
The main reason is History. Jerry had a history with Dorothy.
Besides his amazing smile, ballsy personality, his touching sweet relationship with her son, his passion for his work, and his recent success as a freelance agent for a promising, top athlete; Jerry had already laid the groundwork for winning her over yet again.
Because of his history with her, he never really lost her to begin with.
It wasn’t a huge risk he was taking. His ability to move Dorothy by just opening his mouth has already been established. Remember when he declared his manifesto before his entire agency, and she was the only one who walked with him that day? She’s already taken a chance on Jerry, and believes in him.
It’s true that Jerry stuck his neck out by showing up during Dorothy’s sister’s women’s club, an environment that proved to be less than friendly to me (I’m not sure I would have walked into that!), but that little detail only made his speech more romantic.
Assuming you won’t have customers “at hello,” what can you do to set the stage for a winning offer when the time comes?
You build a history. You tell your story.
Stay true to YOU and be real with your customers.
I follow a writer Scott Berkun (The Year Without Pants, about working for WordPress), and receive his sporadic e-newsletters. Since I know who he is and have read his work, I wasn’t too surprised to receive an email today, sharing, basically, that he was writing less these days, not sure why, and feeling like a change was in the air. Just a little heads-up to his subscribers, which I appreciated. I didn’t unsubscribe. I figured whatever he decided to do next might be cool, so I’d just wait and see.
Honesty is necessary when you are the face of your brand. Vulnerability (although a little scary) is endearing… at least if you have the right audience.
A lot of folks I follow provide excellent products and services, AND share stuff that most others wouldn’t dream of writing in a blog post or newsletter. Does it scare me off that they are human? Nope.
So when does sharing your story help, and when does it hurt your business? I think as long as you stand behind your offers and deliver them with professionalism and as much excellence as you can, then you should feel free to share your!
You’re building a relationship with your customers, running your business with integrity and sleeping well knowing you’ve done all you could. If you’re lazy, or insincere, don’t have the gumption to fix things that are broken, don’t want to put in the work to learn how to build a better business or learn from others who have cleared the path before you, then it’s gonna show!
If you are sharing personal things, like a story about burning out or losing credibility due to a bad partnership, or going bankrupt, you do have to tell the truth. Sugar coating it only makes it seem like you didn’t learn any lessons from it.
It’s taken a long time for me to tell parts of my story because when you’re slogging through something, and the wounds are still fresh, your work is sometimes what helps you keep your head above water. After the dust settles, then you can make some sense of it and see where telling your story would help others.
Truth feels great when you finally step into it.
Being a single (separated) mom of three kids, running a home business and raising children on my own, takes ridiculous juggling, hustling, and energy.
Building a business from home isn’t a cakewalk. It’s flexible, yes, but that means you have to work harder and stay more organized than your commuting counterparts. (You are probably wearing all the hats, too!) My typical day: I wake up at 5:00 in the morning knowing I have a couple of hours to get things done or snatch some quiet time before waking sleepy, sometimes grumpy children. I make lunches, head to school(s), squeeze in a workout, get the shopping done, prepare meals, pick up kids and drive for 5 hours to get them where they need to go.
Oh, and by the way, for many years when I was in the throes of freelance work, I met all my deadlines and scheduled client calls, too… Many days I thought (think!) I had lost my mind, although they occur less and less as the years go by, thank goodness. I can’t tell you how many hours I struggled alone, worrying over my family’s well-being, time and money. Only now do I know how valuable those lessons
were are, now that we are learning better ways of coping with all of the above.
On top of all that, it’s absolutely essential that I stay positive! I chase down and silence every ugly, discouraging thing my inner critic says. I post a lot of encouraging, life-affirming, positive stuff on Facebook and Twitter because I NEED to do that. It’s as much for me as for my Facebook friends (thank you!) whom I love and appreciate every single day.
Your story becomes your history. Your followers will know what to expect. As you’re building a Facebook page, or adding articles to your blog, your story becomes easy to tell because it’s real. Even though circumstances may change – even your products and offers may change; but your authentic voice, your history’s narrator, rings true.
I’m reminded of a financial advisor who creates products, books and services geared to women. Nobby Kleinman is a fellow entrepreneur I met at a marketing conference a couple of years ago. Follow his Facebook page, and you’ll find that not only does he talk about personal finance, but he shares where he travels (women’s conferences), he asks opinions of his followers, shares jokes, and posts pictures of favorite food, cake. (You can be the judge whether cake is indeed food.)
Nobby is open about sharing what he does and what he likes. He also reveals that he’s committed to certain practices (marketing, authorship, entrepreneurship) and groups, When he rolls out a new product it’s no big surprise; be it a book, a course, or a service to help women outsource parts of their business. The main hub is women’s finances…and cake. You get a real sense of who Nobby is, not just his business and products, and that’s why people like his page.
Building a Soulful Business
When you are the face of your business, your marketing and social media sites become the patina of the soulful business. The sooner you become comfortable embracing that, even the darker shadows back there, the better you’ll feel and the easier and more naturally you will build a business doing what you love.
If you are freelancing, growing your network marketing business online, writing books, or selling info products; you really need to do this. Freely sharing your personality enables you to move faster through this wide open and social world we live in now.
If you spend 10 hours meditating each week, how could you not talk about that in your business life? It’s consuming a big part of your week, after all. If your faith is really important to you, that should come forth, too. If art is like breathing air, then of course art will emerge as a dominant theme in your home business. As you are building your personal brand, not much is off limits. The better you can integrate the little daily pleasures and the grind, the people you enjoy, and the errands you run, the more smoothly your business will flow.
Sharing your history is telling your story. When you tell your story, you don’t have to explain every detail in each post and update; it just naturally builds up. You reiterate what drives you. Share why it drives you, why it’s important to you, or makes you happy. Then when you make an offer to your friends and followers, they’ll be expecting it.
You might have to say more than “hello,” but they’ll be ready.