Telling your story allows you to build deeper, more authentic connections with potential clients as they enter your world. The depth of this connection depends on how much you’re willing to let the ‘real you’ be seen in a vulnerable way.
Vulnerability means sticking your neck above the parapet and exposing yourself to the perceived judgement of others. (Brené Brown is as good as anyone at explaining this.)
I’ve come to believe that showing up as the fullest version of you is something you have to work at. It isn’t something you just ‘go and do’. It’s not a quick-fix marketing hack. In fact, it’s the opposite of a hack! Showing up as the fullest version of you requires deep inner work.
I’m as much a ‘work in progress’ with this as anyone. I’d say I show up as perhaps 60% of me in these emails. 60% is higher than a few years ago. But like most people, I easily fall into talking about the mechanics of what I do.
Of course, you’re not going to bare your soul in every email. But before you make a potential client an offer you do want to show a slice of the ‘real you’.
This is why the ‘wounding event’ is email 2 in the Lead Incubator sequence. It’s a prompt early in the series to go a little deeper.
You’ll feel some pushback about writing and publishing this kind of story. But often this will be the email that attracts the most responses. For many of my clients, their ‘wounding event’ is the source of their current purpose and mission.
If you’re uncomfortable with all this vulnerability, one option is to set up a personal brand set apart from your business brand. If you sell high-value services, potential clients will check out your personal brand before they sign up.
(A few years ago I considered setting up a blog called ‘Drummond Uncorked’, which would have been the ‘2 glasses of wine’ unfiltered version of me. With the way censorship is going, that site would have been blacklisted by now!)
So, I kind of straddle the business business / personal brand options. Although really, this is less about branding choices and more about how you show up.
My own ‘wounding event’ story in the Lead Incubator example series is about my stammering at school. For 15 years I was exceptionally good at not talking about my stammering. I became very adept at hiding it in real life too!
So, it was quite an about-turn to go from hiding it to telling random strangers on the internet. Sure, on the outside it’s not the most ‘wounding’ of events. But it was an internal agony I had become very used to hiding.
You might think your most vulnerable stories bear little relevance to your work today, but I’d urge you to reconsider this. We all go through life trying to answer certain questions that matter to us. The source of those questions will be one or more ‘wounding events’. Your ideal client will be trying to answer the same questions, too.
The question at the heart of my work today is “How can we build trust authentically, and at scale, with potential clients?” The stammering incident may not be the literal root source of this question, but it led to ‘shame’, ‘isolation’ and ‘hiding’, which are opposite ideas.
This makes it a good starting point in the telling of my story.