Your Story

You need a narrative that connects you to the customer and motivates them to work with you.  It’s really important to get this right as you can also use it inside the organisation to motivate your staff. If we tell this story outside the business it’s called marketing. If we tell it inside the business it’s called leadership – but it’s the same story. It needs to be

  • Compelling
  • Relates you emotionally to the listener
  • Phrased in their language
  • Addresses their pain and spurs them into action

And is absolutely crystal clear and unambiguous about what you do and why. All our research shows that people give business or refer business to people that they’re clear about what they do. So you have to really work hard to hone this down. We’re all tempted to believe we can get more business by occupying more of the canvas to attract more people. Don’t do it. Focus – be the best you can be at what you do and make sure people know that. And if you can – be unique! It’s a fundamental principle of marketing that whatever you do you should dominate something – doesn’t matter how small it is – just dominate it.

second place is first loser

Second Place is First Loser

The benefit of being number 1 in a niche is shown here. We get caught out by the idea that change is continuous – it isn’t. A power law describes what happens in markets – and in networks. The most connected or market leader will typically have twice the market share of the next player, three times the third player and so on. On the face of it being 3rd or 4th doesn’t sound too bad. But let’s look at it as a picture. You can see that the number one has an over whelming advantage. Once the market has reached this stage its all over for everyone else. In today’s cyber world this can happen surprisingly quickly

Scary isn’t it

Geoffrey Moore says that in each mature market there is a Gorilla, 2 or 3 chimps and lots of monkeys.  Much strategic marketing is about identifying niches in which you can be the Gorilla!

This graph is a fitness landscape. Once you’ve climbed one of these peaks its very hard to move to another one – you have to let go of what’s already been achieved if your existing peak has got stalled. Technically this may not even be possible. So it’s crucial to choose a good market niche in the first place.

To achieve the dominance you want you need to be clear about what you’re doing for whom – and how it helps them.

We are all trained to think we should talk about benefits but that’s not the best way forward. People are mainly motivated by fear, greed and fashion – although when acting as individuals, freedom, indulgence and altruism also have roles.

The research suggests that the drive for freedom is what prompts people to set up businesses in the first place. But here’s a secret.


Fear of failure – Fear of losing what they’ve so carefully built. Fear of losing control. Visionaries are motivated by possibilities and some are motivated by making money. But many, many more are motivated by fear.

If they have a problem – and you can show them a safe, affordable solution you have a stronger chance of making the sale than playing on their desire for expansion.

So you have to know what worries them.

  • Not enough sales,
  • Can’t generate leads
  • Cash flow
  • Getting their project – whatever it is completed.

And then show them how whatever you do will get them off the hook – in a way that leaves them in control of their organisation.

But – you have to know that you’re talking to them in the right language. Because if you’re story doesn’t resonate with them – you’re going nowhere.

Leave a Reply