How do you feel about storytelling in business? Does getting personal with a story feel a bit cringe, or are you worried that nobody will care? Is one of your goals to become a good raconteur?
Stories are a fantastic way to help people get to know you. For example, when I talk about being on the brink of bankruptcy and then selling my business for seven figures and becoming a millionaire within a decade, you can learn a lot about my life. It makes me real, and people buy from people they can relate to.
Stories don’t have to be complicated; when you bring them into your business goals, they can revolutionise your results.
When I think about storytelling, Matthew Pollard, known as the Rapid Growth® Guy (and author of The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone), comes to mind. I first met him at a Million Dollar Round Table® event in Miami. He is incredibly enthusiastic about supporting introverts to put stories together so that they can feel at ease and rock ‘n’ roll their business.
I interviewed Matthew on the Goals Do Come True podcast where he shared three brilliant ways you can turbocharge your goals and business by either changing the story you are telling yourself, or the ones you are sharing with your prospective clients.
Introverts need a different path to success than extroverts
It was particularly refreshing to hear that Matthew’s work is not about trying to shoehorn introverts into extrovert ways.
Matthew: “They are not second-class citizens in any way, shape or form. They do not have to become extroverts to succeed. They benefit from learning a process so they can sell and network in a way that’s authentic to them, without a hard close. Storytelling is at the heart of any sales pitch or networking event.”
I loved Matthew’s approach: lots of introverts believe they can’t run their own business, or don’t perform as well, because they are not extroverted.
Matthew is an introvert himself and will be pursuing three of his own big business goals this year:
- To increase book sales.
- To bring to life Introvert You, a platform focused on supporting introverts to create brilliant results in their business.
- To launch Bx Networking into the United States. The networking style focuses on championing relationships and finding the right partnerships to help build business momentum.
Matthew highlighted three ways that storytelling can help you find clarity and achieve your goals:
- Forget about goals; why is the key to success.
- Frequently work towards short-term goals.
- Regularly reassess and refine your goals.
1) Forget about goals; why is the key to success
In The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone, Matthew invites you to write down three business goals, three personal goals, and a selfish goal (one that really drives you!). He then asks you to summarise each goal in 250 words or fewer, including why it’s so important to you.
Matthew: “When you ask people why their goals matter to them, they often realise that they inherited their goals from their mother, their father or their college roommate. This is why there is a lot of lacklustre effort going after it, and it’s why many introverts can feel incongruent or inauthentic when they’re trying to promote their services.
You need to care and be passionate about your mission. When you think about your goals in this way, you create a story that you can share with other people.
For example, in my book I talk about an insurance salesman: people used to run for the hills when his goal was just to make money; but when he shared with them that he got into insurance because his grandfather used to own a farm, became unwell, sold the farm, and had to spend his last years watching TV in a small apartment, people were interested and wanted to hear more from him, because they related to the story and didn’t want that for themselves.”
Matthew went on to explain that when you share a story, people can sense your passion, frequently recognise how you can meet their needs, and are less likely to think of you as self-serving. Sharing stories can help you move towards your business goals.
2) Frequently work towards short-term goals
While Matthew has audacious goals of his own, he also encourages you to start with shorter-term goals.
Matthew: “Set self-efficacy goals with smaller targets so you can knock them out of the park and then move onto the next one. Once you’ve been doing this for a period of time, your mind is set to attainment and you can more easily set and achieve audacious goals.”
When you build your goal-getting muscle, you start to build self-confidence; the story you tell yourself becomes about success. Setting smaller goals also supports Matthew’s third tactic.
3) Regularly reassess and refine your goals
Matthew: “I’ve worked with a number of people who are striving to make a million dollars. Once they hit their smaller survival goal of say $97,000, I’ll ask them if they want to run their business in the same way. Most of them do not!
It’s common to be willing to make big sacrifices to make money, but once you’re making enough to get out of survival mode, you’re less willing to make those trade-offs.
I would never have dreamed of the opportunities that are afforded to me now. If I had to set financial end goals right from the start, I would have had my head down working towards those goals, and maybe never looked up to really assess if there was an easier, faster, more efficient way of doing it, with less trade-offs to my personal life.”
From what Matthew has shared, it’s clear that the story we tell ourselves when we’re desperate to succeed is that we’ll “do whatever it takes”, and over time we realise that there’s an easier route.
How might Matthew’s three points transform how you set goals? Perhaps ask yourself:
- Are you prepared to spend time getting clear on why you do what you do, so you have a powerful story to share?
- Will you set shorter-term goals to build your muscle and give you a personal success story?
- Are you ready to reassess and refine your goals (and what you’re willing to do in order to make them reality)?
Are you a passionate goal setter? If you are just starting out in business, you might like to read my latest book Think Simple Win Big: How to Build the Business of Your Dreams With a Few Simple Goals. Or if you’ve set your goals but find yourself losing momentum and would love some support and accountability from me, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.