A business with an authentic story attracts more prospects and keeps its customers for longer. Justin Cooper explains why.
We automatically trust and feel more comfortable doing business with a company that has an authentic story. It’s all to do with how the brain works when we make decisions. The human brain is a bit of a mystery to scientists. Sure, we’ve learnt a lot in the last few years, but there’s still a great deal we don’t understand. What we do know is that there are three main, integrated parts – the cerebellum, the limbic and the neocortex.
The cerebellum or reptilian brain is the oldest and most primitive part. It controls instinctive behaviour, such as breathing and body temperature, and it programs us for survival and reproduction. The limbic or mammalian brain gives us the capacity for feelings and emotions, and for the sense of smell and sexuality. This is where our values and beliefs reside, and these are pretty much fixed in place by the time we reach the age of ten. While it’s possible to change your beliefs, it’s not that easy as the brain tends to ‘hard wire’ the information. The neocortex or ‘thinking’ brain gives us the capacity for language, visualisation, and symbolic skills unique to human beings. At the front of the neocortex lie the pre- frontal lobes.
- The left is all about logic, reason and communication using language. This is the part of the brain that we use in normal working life.
- The right is creative – the part of the brain that drives intuition, imagination, and communicates using images. It connects to the limbic brain– so it picks up and identifies emotions.
So why the brain science – and why is it so important? The key is to understand that we don’t make buying decisions in a purely rational, logical way. If we did we would simply run the idea through our left frontal lobe and bingo – we’d get a ‘yes or a ‘no.’ What actually happens is that we run the idea between both left and right frontal lobes to get a logical and emotional answer. Then the right side communicates with the limbic region to check whether the choice makes us feel good and matches with our value system. And it also communicates with the cerebellum to check for an instinctive response.
So that’s why you need an authentic message for your business. It needs to have an emotional and rational element to it. It needs to come from the heart, and it needs to tell the truth. The 21st century consumer has seen it all and isn’t fooled by spin.
How do you make your business more authentic?
The truth is that your business is already authentic, but the thing that makes it authentic is hidden from you. That’s because we get wrapped up in the day-to-day process of doing, and we don’t have time to stop and think about why we do what we do and how we do it. But when we do work it out, we have the foundation for a true and authentic story. And when we tell that story we create a powerful connection between our business and our prospects. A connection built on trust – because your prospect intuitively knows that you’re telling the truth. There’s nothing more powerful than an authentic and compelling story to start a conversation. And conversations lead to business.
All you have to do is discover the truth behind what makes you and your business tick, and you unlock your authentic story – a story that attracts the right kind of customers, the right staff and the right business partners.There’s nothing more powerful than an authentic and compelling story to start a conversation.
Here are four key questions to ask yourself to help identify your authentic story:
- Why is your work so important to you? What part of your work inspires you most?
- What’s the one thing that drives you to succeed? What core belief keeps you going in the face of adversity,competition and self-doubt?
- What’s your number one strength? When you boil it down, there’s one thing you’re really good at – what is it?
- How do you, or could you, use this core driver and core strength to make a real difference to your customers?
By answering these four questions you open up to the truth behind why you do the things you do in your business. This represents the bridge between what you believe in and what your prospect believes in. Once you make a connection at this level, trust is formed and with it an openness to buy. The next step is to identify all the ways in which you deliver this way of thinking in your business. This is how you do things – it’s a more logical process – but it’s still founded on the ‘why’ of your business. Finally, think about how this approach addresses a real problem or need that your clients have.
Now you’re ready to put these three elements together in a simple, powerful and above all authentic business story.
Justin Cooper is a senior marketing consultant with 25 years experience working on global brands like Penfolds, Warner Brothers and Glade. He is the founder of The Brand Factory and Your Authentic Business – and he loves a good story. For more information visit www.yourauthenticbusiness.com and www.brandfactory.com.au.