Ep #213: Business Development Series: Message
With all the different parts involved in understanding business development, I think one that gets overlooked the most is your message. This is why we are focusing on what you say and how you say it, today.
Messaging is incredibly important and can truly make all the difference in the success of your brand. You need to write words that spark action in your prospects. It is important to remember, however, that your message is something that evolves over time. You can fine-tune and hone in on what it is you are saying to your prospective clients as you progress forward.
In this episode, we are joined by Kelley Hartnett and Angie Schultz, who are both StoryBrand certified guides. So, if you are hoping to up your copywriting and messaging game, stay tuned.
Links Mentioned During the Episode:
- Angie Schultz’s Website
- Kelley Hartnett’s Website
- Angie’s Free 5-Minute StoryBrand Website Review
- Referrals Without Asking Facebook Group
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Next episode is #214, and we’re going to be talking about sources.
Download The Full Episode Transcript
Read the Transcript Below:
Stacey Brown Randall: With all the different components or parts to a sales process or understanding business development, I think one that gets overlooked the most is your message—the what you say and how you say it. So, that’s why we’re starting with it first.
You are not just another hustling salesperson. You are the expert, the
resource, the valuable partner for your clients, and how you grow your
business should reflect how your clients see you.
Welcome to the Roadmap to Grow Your Business podcast. We generate
referrals without asking, build positive client experiences, and help
you take control of your business.
Here’s your charmingly sarcastic host, Stacey Brown Randall.
Stacey Brown Randall: Hey there, and welcome to episode 213 of the Roadmap To Grow Your Business Podcast. I’m your host, Stacey Brown Randall.
I am really excited to jump into this series, our summer series of business development. If you listened to our last episode, episode 212, that’s the overview. So, you got the overview already, and we are diving in to the first component of this business development series, and we’re talking all about message. That’s right, it’s the good stuff. I can’t wait to dive in.
So, this series, while it is outlined and mapped out months in advance, I am allowing for room for things to kind of bubble up or percolate, or the questions that you guys send me, to kind of allow the final few episodes of this series to quite possibly change than I had originally planned.
There is a lot to pack into business development, and I talked all about that in last week’s episode on the overview of this series. But because there’s a lot to pack in, I also don’t want to rush it. There’s absolutely no need to rush through all these components. Even though it’s a summertime series (and we will be done before the end of the summer), it’s also one that needs our attention.
Even though for some of you, you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, I have to listen to weeks on end of Stacey to talk about business development and sales, ugh! I’m not a salesperson, I don’t love sales,” I’m right there with you. I’m not a salesperson either and I don’t love sales too.
But if you’re a business owner, you’re in sales, my friend. And so, there is a part of it that you have to learn to understand, and then have to learn to love. There are pieces to it.
There are definitely moments within my sales process that I am like, “This is awesome.” And then of course, like everyone else, there are moments where I’m like, “Oh no, I got to do that today.” But that’s okay because this series is going to help you see your sales process, your business development process in a whole new way, possibly. Or if you’ve got a pretty good business development process, it may very well just help you tweak some things or consider some things you’ve never thought of before.
So, whether this is going to be “Wow, I actually have the best way to think about my business development process, and now, I can put a process actually into place” because you listened to the series, or you just took away those couple of nuggets you needed — my goal is to make this entire series for you worth it.
So, as a reminder, at the end of the series, we will do a Q&A episode, so start sending in your questions now. If you’re on my email list, just hit reply to any email of mine you’ve ever received, and I’ll get your question. Just send your question that way.
Or of course, you can post in our Referrals Without Asking free Facebook group. And then of course, you can also send me a direct message. LinkedIn is the preferred direct message avenue, but of course, you can direct message me of course, on Instagram and Facebook as well.
Let’s talk about message. This is all about getting your message right. And this is something I think that evolves over time. The truth is, I think I have a better message today because I’ve been doing iterations of it over the years.
Now, for some of you, you have like, “This is what I do, this is my message, this is my website copy. This is how I answer the question, ‘what do you do?’ This is how I talk about my work when I’m in the 30-second elevator pitch when I’m in a networking event.” A lot of you have that and it doesn’t change much.
And then for others of you, whereas it doesn’t change much, you’re just always making it better. And I think that actually goes for anyone, whether you’re like, “Hey, I am a divorce attorney and this is what I do, I help people with divorce.”
Even if you know what that is and how you say it, and how you talk to people about it, sometimes you’ll find yourself in conversations where you’ll just explain it differently than you ever have before and you’ll see a light bulb go off. And so, that’s why I think messaging is so very important.
So, for some of you, there’s that “I do this and I’ve talked about it the same way for years,” and this may help you just think about it a little bit differently from the people who are receiving your message, which hopefully then, are your prospects who will become your paying clients.
And for others, actually, what you do, the business that you started, because maybe you started your own business in a very different way — it wasn’t like, “Hey, I’m now an attorney at a large firm now going out on my own,” but you started a different business.
And so, how you talk about what you do will always be evolving. I think about that from the perspective of when I was a productivity and business coach back in the day; how I talked about what I did definitely over the first couple of years evolved until I really had that way to talk about what I did that would spark a reaction and the person I was talking to.
And it’s no different with my business today. I talk about referrals. I talk about getting referrals naturally without manipulation, without incentivizing, and without even asking. But even that message has evolved to where it is today.
And so, the reason why we are starting here is because the what you say about what you do and how people respond to it, is so very important. Because it’s what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, is really what gets someone to say, “Yes, help me. You’re the expert. You know how to fix this. I trust you, help me solve it.”
And they need to understand what you do, which is why we’re starting this entire business development series off with the message. What you say about what you do is really important.
Now, here’s the thing; I am absolutely probably going to leave things out throughout this entire series, because there’s just no way I can get through all of it with every nuance and facet that is involved within business development. And even with this episode around messaging, there’s probably some things that you’ll be like, “Wait, but you didn’t talk about.”
But here’s the thing you need to understand about message – you need to have words that spark action in your prospect. Now, somebody could be a prospect and read your website today and it not spark action because they’re not at a place where they really want to hear it or really want to take action, that could come with time.
But the message piece is so important because in a lot of ways, even if someone’s been referred to you, the very first thing they experience is your website or meeting with you and hearing you talk about what you do and how you help people. That’s all in your message. That’s all the things that are important.
So, I’m going to be honest with you, when it came to doing this episode, I thought to myself, I’m not doing this one by myself because this one is so very important. And so, I brought on just the best dynamic duo when it comes to messaging, and that’s Angie Schultz and Kelley Hartnett. They are amazing.
And I brought them on and interviewed them because I knew they could talk about this in a way that, well, to be perfectly honest, I’m not qualified. I have done a lot with messaging. I have helped people write a lot of language when it comes to referral seeds and it comes to touchpoint language, but that’s pretty much where my expertise ends.
Now, I know a lot about my own business and the messaging within my own business. And after doing this a decade, I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing the words I want to say.
But even when I decided to redo my website, I was like, “I’m not writing this copy myself. I’m going to have some help. I’m going to have somebody from the outside help me understand what I need to be sharing so that I can help move people to action if they really want to take control of their referrals.”
So, I brought on Angie and Kelley and they are amazing. And I know you’ll enjoy this interview. They are both StoryBrand certified guides. I think Angie may have been like the very first person who was certified to become a copywriter and then a guide with the StoryBrand certification process.
I actually think Kelley was probably like right there with her. I think they’ve both been StoryBrand certified guides for five years. And if they haven’t … I mean, they’ve been doing it for as long as anybody because they’re freaking brilliant. They are so, so awesome.
So, I’m going to put their contact information into the show notes for this episode, but if you’ve ever thought about rewriting your brand messaging or rewriting the copy on your website, or getting some help to figure out, like what is it that you say in your, your 30-second elevator pitch, or what does it look like when you’re thinking about how to promote your message through your social media pieces — like all the different things where you write words, these are two ladies you’d want to talk to.
I have personal experience with them because they helped me do the copy for my new website, which is really, really exciting, and a process in and of itself. And so, I’ll put their information and I’ll tell you a little bit more about them at the end.
But I’ll put their information in the show notes for this episode, which is staceybrownrandall.com/213. It’s 2-1-3 for episode 213, and Stacey has an E.
So, here’s what a StoryBrand certified guide does; they help small businesses and nonprofits clarify their messages and develop websites that convert without feeling salesy. It’s a really, really important process. So, without further delay, let’s dive in and let’s get going with this interview.
Angie and Kelley, I am so excited to have you guys on the podcast today. I was saying right before we hit record, it’s like the gang’s back together since I just finished up working with you two super smart, super brilliant ladies on the messaging for my business. And I couldn’t wait to have you on the podcast to share all your brilliance and all your tips with my listeners.
So, as I mentioned in the introduction, we are kicking off our business development series and we’re starting at the most important place.
In my mind, I think Angie, Kelley, you guys would probably agree with me on this, but we’re starting at the most important place when it comes to getting new clients and we’re starting with messaging. So, I’m so excited you guys are on the podcast. Thank you for being here.
Angie Schultz: Thanks so much for having us, Stacey. We’re really looking forward to this conversation.
Kelley Hartnett: We love being here, Stacey. Working with you has been such a dream and to be able to talk to your audience is just a fun bonus. So, thanks for thinking of us.
Stacey Brown Randall: Oh my gosh, absolutely. I love that you said working with me is a dream and now, I have that in recording.
So, I try to be the client that I want. So, hopefully, I was for you ladies as well.
Kelley Hartnett: 100%
Stacey Brown Randall: Thank you very much. So, let’s dive in to what I think is kind of the most important question I’m going to ask you guys, which is why messaging is so important. Like what makes it the place where you have to start when you want to talk about starting a business or growing a business or getting more clients?
And Angie, let’s start with you, but like why do you think messaging is so important?
Angie Schultz: Well, when I think about it, it’s when you think about going out to a website, for example, and we have all seen beautiful websites; professionally done, incredible imagery, beautiful fonts, everything is so well thought out.
But a lot of times in marketing, the last thing that’s thought about is the messaging that’s on that website, and a pretty website isn’t going to sell. So, I’m not saying you don’t need to have all those professional things to make it look and feel and give that first impression that you want, but you’ve got to have the clarity.
We hear clarity is kindness, and if you can give your audience just a really clear and concise understanding of what it is that you offer, how it’s going to solve the problem that they have, and how it’s going to make their life better — it is kindness to them, so that they can focus and understand what you do, how you’re going to make their lives better, and without burning too many brain calories to get there.
Stacey Brown Randall: That is so true. Like let’s make it easy on them, definitely. Kelley, what are your thoughts on why messaging is so important?
Kelley Hartnett: Well, I think one thing that happens with businesses is they’re so close to what they do that they don’t even realize that the way they talk about their business is confusing to the people they’re trying to reach.
And so, they use lots of jargon, insider language, acronyms, a whole bunch of stuff because they know what they do. And so, they just spit all this information out, assuming that people understand what they’re talking about and they really don’t.
And so, it’s really helpful to take a step back, often with a trusted partner who’s kind of on the outside of the business, who can give you more of a 30,000-foot overview of what you do and kind of see where those blind spots are.
But you just step all the way back and think, “Okay, if I were explaining this to somebody who literally had no idea what I was talking about, what would be the right words that I would use that would really draw people into this story?”
And like Angie said, so smartly, help them understand like how I solve their problems and how much better their life is going to be if they engaged with me.
Stacey Brown Randall: You know, it’s funny, after we finished kind of like the first round within the framework that you guys use of how you deliver your results for clients – so, after we kind of finished that first round of the messaging for my business, I was talking to a friend.
And I told her, I was like, “I have 200 plus episodes out of my podcast, I have numerous articles on my website, I have a book out about what I do. Not only do I have a website and all the social media posts that we’re doing on a daily basis, for the most part, like I have all the words, and all the words at some point have been out there.
And I remember telling her, I literally thought there was not another way to say what I do. Like it didn’t exist and I was like, “And darn it, if they didn’t come up with a better way and a different way to say all the things that I had been saying.”
Like I was so surprised, and I think that’s the point of what you guys were saying. Like as business owners, we’re so close to it that sometimes it takes a third person to kind of be like, “But this is what it needs to say so that it’s clear and it makes sense.”
But it was funny, I was telling her, I was like, “I can’t believe they came up with another way to say it and it’s better and it’s great.”
Angie Schultz: And Stacey, what you were saying, I think it’s actually harder in your shoes when you are a great writer and you have tons of content out there. It’s actually harder to get to the highest level of what does my audience actually need to know when you’ve written so much. And it’s like, “Where do I pull from and where do I start? And what do they need to know? And what goes where?”
And so, you’re right, to have that third party come in and say, “Actually at this point …” whatever that point is in your customer’s journey, at this point, this is the most important thing for them to know, and let’s not go too deep with them, and understanding what the right balance is.
But yeah, it’s actually harder for those who have as much content as you have out there.
Stacey Brown Randall: Thank you for making me feel better about myself.
Kelley Hartnett: Yeah, I think the other thing that’s really helpful when you have that third party to look at your messaging with you, is it helps you to find what actually differentiates you from your customers.
Because so many people in the same industry are saying the same thing. And so, like you said, when you have somebody who can come in and say, “Oh, here’s another way to say it,” that nobody else is saying it this way – and boy, that captures attention.
And it’s not about being clever. It’s not about coming up with this really fancy tagline. It’s actually about being more cleared, and like Angie said, that’s kind and that’s what’s really going to capture your audience’s attention.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah, I think that’s so true too, when you think about it from that perspective. And what you guys have said is like, it’s also where they are in their journey to be able to receive the words that you’re saying.
And as the business owner, as we’re so close to it, sometimes, I would find myself like, I would be steps ahead in their journey trying to write for them. But they’re all the way back here. And they’re like, “Now, I don’t know what she’s talking about.”
Angie Schultz: That’s right.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah. I think that’s so important. And I think it’s so key as we’re thinking about like just the words that we use. And I think the website is the biggest place where you have to get that right.
And I have to tell you guys this funny story, and I don’t know if I shared this with you guys while we were working together. But I was talking with my husband about like the website and having you guys do all the messaging and getting all that done and getting it out there and working with my web developer.
And it’s a process. Like nothing of this is like done in a day or even a week or even a month. But like working through all of that and like seeing what you guys built for me, and in terms of like the wire frame for my website and stuff.
And I remember I turned to my husband and I was kind of walking in through it and I was showing it to him. And I go, “It’s amazing that I’ve ever made any money” because it was kind of hard to figure out how to give your money, like for my clients to decide.
And it’s not that I hadn’t heard that a little bit in the past, like, “Ah, I really had to work for it to figure out like where is the ‘join the program’ button,” because there’s all the content stuff.
And I was like, it’s kind of crazy that I’ve been as successful as I’ve been knowing that it hasn’t been as easy for people to be like, “Yep, that’s my problem. Yes, I want to solve it and here are some options on how I can solve it and I can go learn more and it’s really easy.”
And you guys definitely like brought that to the forefront for me. And to that point, it wasn’t that I didn’t know it, it’s that I think I was hiding from it because that would take way more work to fix it and figure it all out.
And this, I think, what is the biggest issue that business owners deal with. And I don’t think anyone ever talks about this — it’s that if business is just good enough, we kind of ignore the things that we know are probably broken and need to be fixed.
And that was definitely where I was and have been. Like I told my husband, I was like, “I mean, I’ve been successful and I’m thankful, but it’s kind of inspired the fact that I haven’t made it easy on people to be like, what do you do? And how do I give you money?”
Kelley Hartnett: Well, and don’t be too hard on yourself, Stacey, because a lot of businesses do that. And I think it’s from a good place. Like you want to tell people all the things that you can help them with and you want to do it all at once.
And it’s hard to know like where do I draw the line and I need to tell them all the things all at once because they need to know how I can help them. And then I’ll put a button at the bottom that says, “Okay, now hire me.”
And what we understand about people is they can only take in so much information at a time. So, we give them just a little bit of information at the top of a website and then we give them a little bit more information, and then a little bit more, and we go deeper and deeper and deeper into that to avoid overwhelming them.
But at each step along the website, we want to make sure that there’s a call-to-action button. So, the minute they’re ready to take action, they have an opportunity to take action. Does that make sense?
Stacey Brown Randall: Oh my gosh, absolutely.
Kelley Hartnett: Yeah.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah. Angie, anything you want to add to that?
Angie Schultz: No, just that’s exactly right. Again, it comes back to kindness. When is your audience ready? Don’t make them search, don’t make them burn more brain calories than they have to on your website. Give them what they need, and what they need is a call-to-action button without having to search for it.
Kelley Hartnett: Yeah, and you know … go ahead Stacey. So, sorry.
Stacey Brown Randall: No, no, no, go ahead Kelley.
Kelley Hartnett: I was just going to say a lot of businesses shy away from having too many call-to-action buttons on their website because they don’t want to come across as salesy or pushy.
And so, I want to give your audience a little bit of a pep talk in that regard. If you offer multiple calls to action on a website, you’re not being salesy or pushy, you’re giving people an opportunity to get a resolution to the problem that they’re experiencing.
You solve a problem in your business and people need what you have to offer. And so, if you’re hiding the call-to-action button, you’re actually doing them a disservice. So, you’re not being salesy, you’re not being pushy. You are being a good steward of the gifts that you have and the ways that you can help people in their lives.
So, don’t shy away from those call-to-action buttons. It’s really the kindest thing you can do for your customers.
Stacey Brown Randall: I think that’s so very true, and it’s interesting. So, I want to dive in a little bit about the fact that you guys are both certified StoryBrand guides, and that’s the methodology, I think that’s the way I could talk about it. That’s the methodology that you guys help your clients kind of create their messaging, create their website, create … whatever the content is going, you can help them create.
Whether that’s the website wire frame or the social media images or the email sequences and all that kind of stuff that you guys help clients do. And you use the StoryBrand framework to do that. And I want you guys to talk a little bit about what makes that unique and what makes that special, and maybe even makes it easy for you guys to do what you do for your clients.
But I want to put it in context of, I was thinking through like how much better and how easier my website is, the new one that’ll be out. It’s not out at the time of this recording. It will have been out by the time this episode goes live.
And just how much like better it is and how much easier it is, and to Angie’s point, and how kind it is to the person consuming it. Not for me – it may be my website, but it is not built for me. It is built for those that one day want to get my help.
But there’s lots of different thought processes around how to structure that, like methodologies in terms of like what that looks like. And I was trying to figure out how did my website, the old version, end up being the old version? Like how did I get there?
And the last time I did a new website was 2018, now, it’s 2022. So, it was definitely overdue. But I remember thinking back, I was like going back, just like reminiscing. And I remember thinking like who the consultant was that I was working with at the time, and that philosophy around how the website should be built.
And the website, it was all about you couldn’t like get to the “here’s how you work with me” until you had consumed enough information and gone through enough of like the email sequences (sometimes called funnels and stuff). And then it was controlling what they had to read and what they had to go through before they could get to the “buy now” button, so to speak.
And it was a methodology, it was a thought process. And obviously, I bought into it because I built my whole website around it and a lot of what I do with it. But when I found the StoryBrand concept, I was like, “Oh my Lord, this makes so much better sense.” And I appreciate it when I go on other people’s websites and I can get to exactly what I need when I need it.
And so, I think that there’s a lot of different marketing tactics out there, a lot of different me marketing methodologies and thought processes around messaging and stuff. And so, I’m not saying one’s right, one’s wrong, one’s better. But I really connected with StoryBrand.
So, I wanted to give you guys — just like for people who are like, “What the heck is StoryBrand?” — Give them like an idea of what StoryBrand is and how it helps you serve your clients in helping them write their messaging, and why you guys like this framework so much. So, Kelley, why don’t you start first for us?
Kelley Hartnett: Oh gosh, it’s such a huge question. I’m going to try my best here.
So, the StoryBrand is based on a major paradigm shift in marketing, and the paradigm shift is this; your messaging is not about you, the business. Your messaging is about your customers.
Too often, businesses make themselves the hero of the story of life. And the truth is our customers, all of our customers are looking for a guide who can help them solve their problems and win the day.
So, StoryBrand is based on a narrative framework that … I mean, it’s the same narrative framework that you’ll see in every movie, every book you read. And it’s that you have a character at the beginning of the story who wants something, but there’s a problem that’s getting in the way of them getting what they need. And so, they have all kinds of feelings about that problem.
And they encounter a guide who has the solution to their problem, gives them a simple plan that they can take these easy steps to resolve their problem. The guide calls them to action, which we just talked a lot about.
And then the character has a choice of either following the call-to-action and experiencing success in their life, or not following the call to action and maybe continuing to experience the problem that they have. So, it’s a seven-part framework that goes through every story.
Now, I’ve ruined every movie you’ll ever see. You’ll sit down and watch a movie and go, “Oh, there’s the character who wanted something and that got in the way. And oh, look, there’s the guide, they showed up and here’s the plan.” That’s the way it works.
So, it’s just a different way of approaching marketing from a storytelling perspective that draws in your audience because they’re like, “Oh my gosh, they’re talking about me. They’re not talking about themselves, they’re talking about me. And I resonate with this and I trust that they’re going to be able to solve my problem.”
I don’t know, Angie, how did I do? What did I leave out? What would you add?
Angie Schultz: Oh, that was beautiful. That was a great description. I think about story … Don Miller, the creator and author of Building a StoryBrand, talks about this and how story quiets your mind.
So, I don’t know if anyone out there — I’m sure there are many out there like me who at the end of the day, if I’m trying to just decompress and quiet all the millions of thoughts that are going through my mind, I’ll either read a book or I’ll watch a movie or watch a show.
And it’s that power, that story has to captivate your brain, to captivate your thought process. And in marketing, it can work in the same way. So, if I’m reading a website and it’s written in this story format where, like Kelley said, I can see myself in that story, it feels as if you’re talking directly to me because you are.
You’ve understood your audience enough to know who I am, what problem I have, and to understand how desperate I am for a solution in this area — then it really draws me, in the same way, to quiet my brain like that movie does or like that book does.
And it’s incredibly powerful and fun to see the results of using it in real life.
Stacey Brown Randall: I don’t remember when it was that someone said you should check out StoryBrand. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, one more thing.” It’s like one more thing I need to learn as a business owner. Like I thought they had me when they said you got to learn QuickBooks. And I was like, “Come again, I’m sorry, what?”
As business owners, you better be a lifelong learner and you better be open to learning different things because that’s what it’s usually going to take to help your business be the type of business that you want it to be.
But I remember when someone first told me about StoryBrand and I was like reading a little bit about it. And then obviously, I got the book because I’m a book reader. So, if you’ve got a book, I’m probably going to read it.
And I remember having both those moments that you guys talk about. It’s like, yes, it makes so much sense that at the end of the day, the client is the hero and is looking for the business owner who is the guide.
And of course, that makes sense, I just think because that’s the way it should be. That’s why people hire us, that’s why people buy our products and our services. But it also aligns with what I teach from the referral perspective. The referral source is the hero.
You are the one who’s taking care of them so that they can keep being the hero. And they’re being the hero, not to you, but to the person who has a problem, and that’s why they’re referring the person to you.
So, it’s keeping that focus on the referral source being the hero. And in this, case with StoryBrand, keeping the focus on the client, the potential client being the hero. And I think when you kind of get that point, everything else falls into place from the framework’s perspective.
And it’s kind of like, “Oh, well, then it would make sense that we need to talk about the problem. And then it would make sense that we need to talk about …” from their perspective. And I think that’s so key.
Kelley Hartnett: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s important to realize as a business, it’s not that you can never talk about yourself. It’s that when you do talk about yourself, you want to have your client in the forefront of your mind. And the way you talk about yourself is just to firmly establish yourself as that guide.
And you do that by letting people know why you’re competent to solve their problems. We call that authority, and why you care about them, which is empathy. And empathy in marketing is incredibly powerful.
Again, it creates that resonance where the clients say, “Oh my gosh, this person really understands me. And not only do they understand me, but look at this experience that they have, look how many people they’ve helped solve this exact same problem that I have. So, I can trust them because they care about me and they can help me solve this problem.”
So, it’s not that you never, ever, ever talk about yourself as a business, but I joke around like on an about page, for example, for a business; your about page is not about you, which is bizarre (I realize), but your about page is really about your customers. And anytime you talk about yourself, it has to be in the service of displaying your empathy and authority.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah, I would even say the contact page as well. Right, Angie?
Angie Schultz: That’s right, yeah. The entire site is through the filter of what does my customer need to help them through this journey and to help them understand how what I’m offering is going to help them achieve the success that they want.
And if you can look at your website, your email sequences, whatever brochure, if you’re working in a physician’s office or an attorney’s office, and you have print materials that you’re putting out in front of people — then anything that you’re writing should be viewed through the lens of that filter, of how is this going to help my audience understand what I offer, how it solves their problem, and how their lives are going to be better because of it.
Stacey Brown Randall: Yeah, I think that’s so key. And it’s easy though, too, when you kind of get that and that piece kind of makes sense, then you’re kind of at that place where you’re like, “Oh, this actually makes it easier to figure out then what I want to say.”
Angie Schultz: Sometimes it can. Yeah, you’re so right (sometimes). Other times, it can be such a paradigm shift. As Kelley said, that it can feel really foreign to how … like I get the concepts. A lot of times people will read the StoryBrand book, which is amazing and incredibly written.
It feels as you’re reading it, “Gosh, this would be really easy to implement and do.” And then you sit in front of the computer and it feels so different than what you may have done before that.
We find a lot of people get stuck in that first step, but once you get rolling and once you do a few things with this new kind of narrative, I agree with you Stacey, it becomes a whole lot easier, but it takes a little bit of practice to get there.
Stacey Brown Randall: That actually makes perfect sense because if you don’t really get that piece down in the beginning, it’s hard, to your point, to get it to a place where you can get it rolling.
And the truth is, like most companies, there’s multiple ways to engage from a StoryBrand perspective. You can read the book, you can download the resources, and you can try – I shouldn’t say try; I’m sure lots of people do, and they write out their messaging and their brand script, and they have all that.
And then of course, StoryBrand has … and so, in addition to the book, you can also listen to their podcast and download the resources and do it yourself. And I think do it yourself is great for the people who will actually do it. That is the key point there.
And I think about the way that StoryBrand is built, they’re kind of modeled the same way that I am. It’s the, “Hey, you can read the book and you can do it yourself or you can take the next step.” And with StoryBrand, it’s engaging in some of their … it used to be live events. Now, I believe that they’re virtual events that they do.
Where they’ll walk you through being able to do it but it’s live. And so, you’re doing it in the moment. And then the next step of course, is hiring a guide. And it’s funny, and I think I told you guys this. But I got halfway through the StoryBrand book and I was like, “Yep, totally got to do this.”
No way am I doing this myself? So, who am I going to hire? Because I just think there’s certain points in your business’ life and the life cycle of your business where you just realize that some things are just going to A, be better and B, be better for you if you just hire someone to do it.
And that was really, for me, it was like, I get it, I’m on board. I’m all in, but I’m not doing this. I’m not putting these words on paper if I don’t have to. And I think Angie, to your point, for me, it was exactly what you said. Like I felt like I should be able to, because I have all the words.
But I also felt like what was paralyzing was because I had all the words and I had so many words. I mean, I do not struggle with a lack of assets in terms of content, and checklist that people can download, and like all the things, and like what are called lead magnets in my world, or like freebies for people to take advantage of. Like I don’t lack any of that. And so, but to your point, it’s like getting it and getting it out.
So, I would love for folks to kind of have an idea, like no matter where they are in their journey — and if StoryBrand’s the first time they’ve heard it or even the concept of getting your messaging right before you dive into the million other ways that you can go ahead and try to get clients.
But just for folks to kind of have an idea of some tips, that would be really good for them to help get their messaging right. Like my tip would be at a bare minimum, go listen to the Marketing Made Easy Podcast, where they talk about where … Dr. J.J. Peterson — I have to tell you this funny story.
I listen sometimes to that podcast on my way to pick up my kids in the afternoon and usually the episode is still going on. And my daughter, when she opens the door and she hears J.J.’s voice, she’s like, “Oh my gosh, Dr. J.J. again.” She’s 11. And I was like, “Yes, and I’m going to finish listening to this all the way home. Thank you very much.”
So, granted, I would say, read the book, listen to the podcast or whatever, or take the next step and hire folks just like you. I mean, I think that I could not give you a bigger seal of endorsement for people to consider when it comes to actually hiring someone to be their guide through this process and hiring a certified StoryBrand guide.
So, that’s my tip when it comes to folks to get their messaging right. But you guys have much more tactical tips to provide. So, if you guys just have a couple of tips, and I may be catching you off guard with this question; but just a couple of tips people can think about when trying to get their messaging right and kind of moving in this direction.
I mean, Kelley, I’ll start with you, because I think you mentioned that you already gave the tip around the call-to-actions. The call-to-action buttons, I think that is such a great tip.
But just if you guys had just a couple you wanted to share so people can start thinking about “Alright, if I were to apply something, like later today or this week after listening to this episode, what’s a one or two small changes that I could make based on these tips that you guys have?”
So, Kelley, if you want to start.
Kelley Hartnett: Yeah, sure. So, one of the things that I always do when I look at a perspective client’s website is I zero in on the header or the hero section of the site. That’s the first thing you see, it’s above the fold, which is an old newsletter or newspaper term. It just means before you start scrolling, what do you see in that hero section?
And my big tip is that what you should see are the answers to three questions: what do you offer? Why do I want it? And how do I get it? — What do you offer? Why do I want it? How do you get it? Or how do I get it?
If you can make that section, that very first section of your website crystal clear in answering those three questions, you’ll be far and away above what a lot of businesses do.
Because a lot of businesses, they use all these big fancy words and they try to sound smart and all those things in that section and people are like, “But I don’t know what you do.” And the particular one that I would focus on is the, “Why do I want it?”
So, we can say I offer data management services or we mow your lawn, or we will walk your dog for you. But why do I want that? If you can dive into the emotional, kind of the psychological problem that you’re solving — not psychological problem, that doesn’t sound right, but you know what I mean. If you can solve the emotion behind that problem, that will peak people’s interest.
So, it’s not just that you provide data management services, is that you offer peace of mind that when something goes wrong or when the power goes down, you’re covered, or something along those lines, I’m just spit-balling.
But the why do you want it is a really important thing. I’m rambling, Angie, take over.
Stacey Brown Randall: That was an excellent tip. Yes, Angie.
Angie Schultz: Yeah, that’s where I start as well. The header section of the website is so important. The section just below that is not equally, but pretty darn important as well. That’s where you typically get into a little bit of the problem.
So, if you can, we want to offer clarity at the very top. Just like Kelley said, once they get there, we want to pique their curiosity. So, we don’t have to give all the information. We want that to be short and pithy in that first section.
Pique their curiosity enough just so we can get them to scroll to the second section. In that second section, we’re going to clearly present the problem that they’re facing. And there’s two layers of that.
There’s the external problem, Kelley talked about a lawn mowing company. There’s the external problem of I need someone to mow my lawn and get it landscaped and take care of my yard.
But then there’s also this internal problem of why do I want that? How am I feeling about that? And this aligns directly with the brand script or the StoryBrand framework that we were talking about before.
I might want that because it makes me feel terrible when my mother-in-law drives in and says something about it every time that she pulls … that’s not true, but-
Stacey Brown Randall: I was going to say “Are you speaking from experience, Angie?”
Angie Schultz: No, no, no, but I might feel yucky. Or when my neighbor … I want my yard to look as good as my neighbor’s or I want my yard to set the tone in the neighborhood.
There’s some kind of feeling that is prompting that need to have that external problem fixed. And if you can get that language right in a sentence or two, I’m going to feel so known and so hooked into this website that I’m going to stick around to look for the solution.
So, I’m far more willing to scroll to section three or section four for you to present the solution and then call me to action and tell me how to get what it is that that I want.
But I also wanted to mention Stacey, the podcast is Marketing Made Simple. It’s fantastic with J.J. Peterson, April Sunshine. You can get tons of great tips from them, but also, the two books that Donald Miller has put out — lay out everything I mean so easily that you can just dive right into.
The first is Building a StoryBrand, and that’s where you’re going to learn how to talk about what you do, how to put the building blocks of the story that we’re telling together. And it’s a great thought exercise to really just help you understand; how do we talk about what we do.
Then his second book in that series, Marketing Made Simple is going to help you translate that story that you’ve defined out into a sales funnel. So, there’s a chapter on how to write a website and it tells you exactly, “Hey, section one, do this; section two, do this; section three, do this,” and lays out in template form.
And that’s just one of the chapters. There are many others on how to write a lead magnet or lead generating PDF. So, how do we get this guide out into the world that will help you capture email addresses, how do we write email sequences to go along with that.
And really, he breaks it down into these bite size pieces that if you have the time available, you can do it for yourself. If you don’t, if you’re like Stacey, you get into it and you need some support, there are 700 guides like Kelley and I, who could help you along the way, but the books are phenomenal.
Stacey Brown Randall: And we will link to the podcast and both of those books in the show notes page for this episode too, to make it really easy for people to find that.
And I completely agree. I kind of built my business around that same model that I believe that StoryBrand is kind of built around too. It’s like the, “Hey, here’s a bunch of resources. Here’s the books, here’s the podcast. You can kind of pull together what you need to pull together and have your framework and do it yourself.”
And then there’s also other opportunities for you to have someone help you with it. Or in my case, just do it for me because that is what I just need to actually check the box and get it off the to-do list, which had been on there for way too long.
So, I think those tips were great. I mean, I think about, like you said, that first section, the top part, the head part of the website, and then that second section, and Kelley, what you had mentioned earlier, also, about the call-to-actions. And then of course, like diving deeper and checking out the resources that support this.
You know, I think that when people are thinking about — and when they come to me. So, I’m doing it from, from the lens of when I see people come to me, obviously, because they want to get more clients and, in my world, they want to do that with referrals. They want to be able to generate those referrals naturally to do that without manipulation, without incentivizing and without, of course, even having to ask for them.
When they’re having like that need from me though, the reality of it is, is that we’re talking about sales, and messaging is at the top of that whole understanding of that’s great that you have clients coming to you, potential clients coming to you.
But if you don’t know how to get them to decide if you’re right for them or not, or if you can solve their problem or not, then it doesn’t really matter how many clients you have coming your way.
And so, whereas the series will go on the talk about different types of sources and of course, referrals will be a part of it. But we’re really actually focusing on more than just that. But really, looking at the different sources of the different areas or places where clients can come to you.
Again, if you don’t have what Kelley and Angie were talking about, which is the messaging in place that kind of puts it all together, then like it doesn’t really matter because you won’t be able to communicate correctly and clearly and kindly to your potential clients. And you certainly won’t be able to convert them as well.
So, I just think that this was the absolute right place to start. This business development series is with the messaging. And of course, I couldn’t imagine two better people — the two of you to join me in this conversation.
I appreciate you not saying any of the embarrassing stories you probably could have told about our journey of working together. I’m sure there were numerous ones.
Kelley Hartnett: No, you were wonderful to work with.
Stacey Brown Randall: Okay. Yes, tell me some more — I’m just kidding. But I do think at the end of the day, when you kind of think about what this looks like and moving your business forward, messaging is definitely at the top of that.
So, is there anything you guys want to add that I didn’t ask that you want to kind of like just kind of leave as like that final point of people to be thinking about as they wrap up listening to this episode and they go on about their day?
Who wants to go first? Angie or Kelley? I’ll let you guys decide.
Angie Schultz: Stacey, I think you wrapped it up beautifully. You did a great job and yeah, I just encourage everyone to read the book, ask for help, and get your messaging in place. But Kelley, I’m sure you have something to add.
Kelley Hartnett: The only thing I would say is that you have your zone of genius as a business owner and marketing and messaging may not be that. And that’s okay.
So, to dive into these simple resources that Angie listed, or even to hire somebody to help you with this, that’s going to help you in the long run, because you’re going to get to focus more of your time and energy on what you love and what you’re good at, which is only going to serve your clients even better.
So, I know it can be really hard to invest in yourself and in your own business, but at the end of the day, it always pays off and messaging is absolutely the right place to start.
Stacey Brown Randall: So, very true. I could not have said it better myself. Well, thank you both ladies for joining me today on the podcast.
Kelley Hartnett: Oh, thank you so much for having us, Stacey.
Stacey Brown Randall: Are they not just the most amazing ladies? I loved working with them. They were so easy to work with and they made everything make sense to me.
I think one of the things for my process going through and getting new messaging for my website and for my brand messaging – I think one of the things for me that I kind of came across as I was going through this process is that I’ve been saying all the things for a really long time and I couldn’t imagine there was a better way to say what I did. And yet, they figured it out. They discovered that there was.
So, I hope you guys will check them out. At a minimum, I hope you guys will take the tips that they gave you around your copy, whether that’s on your website, whether that’s just your brand messaging of how you talk about your business, or whether that’s in your social media, or all the other places where you get to talk about the work that you do. I hope that you will take their tips and put them into practice.
And of course, if you want to check out Kelley. Kelley is talltreecollective.com. And of course, she does copywriting for brands who give a damn. And so, talltreecollective.com, we’ll put that on the show notes page.
And Angie, you can find Angie Schultz, and she actually does a five-minute StoryBrand review. Where she’ll go in and give you a quick five-minute video of her reviewing your website and giving you tips, which is a really cool offer that she has.
And so, I will put the link to Angie’s five-minute StoryBrand website review that’s of course, a complimentary, it’s free. I’ll put that in the show notes page as well. She’s at angieschultz.com. And I really hope you guys will check them out because they are amazing.
Of course, everything I’ve mentioned will be on the show notes page. And that is staceybrownrandall.com/213. And of course, Stacey has an E.
Next week’s episode is episode 214, and we’re going to be talking about sources, meaning where your prospects, who then turn into clients, come from.
Until then, you know what to do my friend; take control and grow your business. Bye for now.
Thanks for listening to the Roadmap to Grow Your Business podcast. To
access all resources and links mentioned in today’s show, and to
connect with Stacey, head over to www.staceybrownrandall.com.