Stop being afraid to stand out, show your passion and tell your unique story
Originally written for The Startup on Medium.
What is the story you’re trying to tell?
The businesses that I’ve been a part of all started the same way.
Some number of us, sitting around, having an increasingly passionate conversation about possibilities.
Of building something, the world has never seen. Or solving a problem in a new way. Or building a team with the skill and experience to make world-changing things for other people.
Whatever the market, and however, the genesis, there is always a story to be told.
So what story do you tell?
Does it sound like every other story out there? Is it full of catchy buzzwords, or simple promises of success? Is it safe? Was it written mostly just to include keywords for the search engines?
Let me make one thing really clear.
If you use the same language and tell the same story as everyone else, you’ll end up somewhere between the bottom and the middle.
Do you really want to be in the middle?
For much of my career, I failed at this
For someone who has had a reasonably respectable career, I’ve often done a poor job of telling great stories.
In a room, with executives, or in pitches with clients, I’ve often felt like I was on stage, and when on stage, you perform.
I think most people are pretty good at meetings. Those boardroom lights are shining. All eyes are focused on you. You know you need to perform, so you do.
What about the time when you’re not in that setting? What about all the time you’re not on stage?
Are you using that time as effectively?
I can think of endless moments when not in a boardroom, or pitch setting, where I’ve failed to perform at that same level.
In fact, for reasons I’m really just starting to unpack, when not on stage, I often fail miserably.
So many interactions where when asked what my companies or I did, I simply demurred. Not wanting to make a big deal out of things, or to look foolish by speaking with passion.
I repeatedly denied myself chances to recruit another convert to my side, to our story.
“Oh, I work in tech.” was a favourite. Or, “We make apps.”, or “we build websites,” always worked in a pinch.
When what I should have been saying was something like “I’ve assembled the greatest group of talent possible to build the world’s best websites/apps/ideas/whatever, and we’re doing just that.”
At least then I’d have planted a seed.
Lots of people make apps/websites/ideas. Very few have a passion for building the best team ever and getting after it.
Better yet, I could have told people that we had a group of rogues, misfits, malcontents…a group unhappy with the status quo, the standard and the typical. A group so focused on doing epic things that we only work with the best, and those that also wanted to change the world.
There’s no middle in that story.
They’ll come to you
This isn’t me pulling a Glengarry Glen Ross. This isn’t about always closing. This is about being bold enough to tell the world your unique story, to fully engage with as many people as possible, and to tell them why you’re different.
After that, let it sit. Let things percolate. Offer more if asked, provide specific value if you can. But don’t try to close every person you speak with.
Instead, show people that passion. Tell them not what you’re doing, but why.
Bring as many people as you can into your unique and magnificent view of this world, and I guarantee you won’t have to always be closing.
They’ll come to you.
If you’d like more specific examples of how you can improve your relationship with your customers, or how to tell a better story, drop me a line, I’m @kmore on Twitter and I love to talk about this stuff.