My friend Donald Miller is one of my absolute favorite authors and speakers! He’s a marketing GENIUS. He teaches businesses how to develop a StoryBrand and treat their customers like the hero. He’s written seven books (which, by the way, have spent over a year combined on the best-seller list!) plus a screenplay, and he’s a leading expert on the subject of story.
And here’s the best part: Y’all will have the chance to learn from him in person at my Business Boutique event in Nashville this year! But you can get to know Donald a little better in this interview on the blog today.
You’re an amazing storyteller—it seems like you can find a story in just about anything. How do you pull a great story out of an everyday situation?
All decent writers have one thing in common: They intuitively know what’s interesting. It doesn’t matter if it’s James Patterson writing about a murder or Annie Dillard writing about a flower next to a rock. They find what’s interesting and tell their readers about it.
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To that end, story formulas act like cheat sheets. In over 2,000 years of studying best practices, storytellers have learned that readers (or viewers) like characters who want something specific. They get more interested when the character just can’t get it, and even more interested when they have to go through pain in their journey to resolve their conflict. So, the key to finding a good story is to know those elements and be able to see them in everyday life. When a woman misses a bus or a little dog on a leash tries to take on a big, towering dog opposite them on the sidewalk, that stuff is story. You just have to leave all the boring stuff out. The desire and the conflict are where the story is.
You help people clarify their message and branding. What is the number one mistake you see business owners make when it comes to that?
They don’t communicate clearly. Business leaders try to be clever or cute in their sales and marketing copy, and it backfires. Clarity works. The most effective billboard I see when I’m driving down the road is hot pink with the words “GUN SHOW” printed boldly across the pink. That works. Cute rarely works. It’s amazing to me how many websites I visit for clients and they aren’t even explaining what they offer their customers. A customer has to know, within a few seconds, what problem you can solve for them. If you don’t tell them, they will move on to your competition.
How much would you say clear messaging affects sales?
We’ve seen small companies explode after they got their message straight. We’ve seen everything from 10% growth to 400% growth. More companies than we can count have literally doubled in revenue after they attended one of my StoryBrand Workshops. The reason is because their previous marketing efforts were practically invisible. I mean, they had websites and brochures and signs, but none of that stuff was saying anything potential customers could understand. When you get your message clear, it’s like unlocking the front door and turning the sign on the door to read “open.” It’s that important.
What will the women who attend Business Boutique take away from your session?
I want them to know that if you understand what problem you solve for your customer, and can communicate it clearly, you will be in the top 10% of all businesses everywhere. If you want your business to grow, clarify your message. Clarity is your secret weapon. In my session, I’ll show you a seven-part plan to clarify your message so customers will listen.
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Y’all, 10% to 400% growth! If that doesn’t convince you to give your messaging a makeover, I don’t know what will. So, come learn Donald Miller’s seven-part plan at Business Boutique in Nashville, November 2–4!