If you want to bring more customers into your business, then the first thing you must do is attract the right customers…
… you know the customers that need your help and are willing to pay for it.
How do you find these customers? How do you attract their attention? How do you earn their trust? How do you make them what to work with you?
The answer to those 4 questions is…
With an inspirational personal story!
Your story, told the right way, will pull the right people to you. It will create trust in a lasting way. It shows your prospect how you can help them and what makes you different. And it makes them feel good about buying. It will make them want to work with you.
But where do you start? How do you tell your story in an interesting way that has your audience sat on the edge of their seat?
How do you make your story exciting without exaggerating what happened?
The answer lies in the structure that you use.
There’s a simple 3-step formula that Hollywood screen writers use that I’d like to share with you today.
Put A Man In The Jungle And Let Wolves Attack Him…
Before I give you the 3-step formula, I need to tell you something more important about storytelling.
Stories are not interesting because of what happened!
Stories are interesting because of what you did in challenging circumstances.
The Man In The Jungle formula cuts straight to the chase. It starts with high drama and intensifies it with the events that unfold.
Here’s the formula:
- Put a man in the jungle
- Have wolves attack him
- Don’t answer the question “Will he get to safety?”
If you’re thinking that looks too simple to be effective then let me tell you about the movie The Martian.
The Martian Uses This Formula
The Martian is a Ridley Scott movie starting Matt Damon. The set up of the movie is simple. Matt Damon and his team of scientists flee Mars because of bad weather.
Everyone escapes safely except Matt Damon who is stranded on Mars. With the compound wrecked. Lost food supplies, and his team cannot return to rescue him for several months. That’s the moment in the move when they put a man in the jungle.
How do the wolves attack him?
He’s on Mars. The wolves are in plentiful supply. You’ve got the harsh environment. You’ve got the fact that he doesn’t have enough food. You’ve got the fact that he doesn’t have enough water. You’ve got the fact that he is alone.
What happens next?
I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s a great place to be 5 minutes into a movie. The opening events are thrilling and you want to know if the hero survives.
I hate, sci-fi movies. I find them boring because there’s nothing that I can relate to.
The Martian is different. Why? Because it’s not really a sci-fi movie. Yes it’s set on Mars which makes it a sci-fi movie by default. But this movie is really about human survival. It’s a movie about life and death.
That’s a movie that I can relate to. That’s a movie that holds my attention.
So, let’s go back to our storytelling facts.
- Stories are not interesting because of what happened!
- Stories are interesting because of what you did in challenging circumstances.
So, what does Matt Damon do to survive?
He’s a scientist. So he does what he knows how. He applies science to his situation.
The first thing he needs to do is grow some food.
He finds fertile soil with the form of human faeces.
He doesn’t have enough water to grow potatoes.
He has to find a way to make water with what he has. He calculates how to do this and then gets busy working on his science experiment.
What happens next?
He blows himself up!
Because he made a mistake in the calculation.
The explosion forces him to see the error of his ways and he corrects his experiment.
He creates water and with that he can start growing potatoes.
With a plentiful food supply it looks like the man will get out of the jungle alive. All he has to do is wait for his team to return to Mars and collect him. At this point, the audience will check out because there is no tension.
Unless some other wolves attack him.
He’s on Mars, so the wolves that can attack him are plentiful. Not enough oxygen. Not enough heat. Not enough energy. You name it.
When a storm breaks his plastic “green house” the cold weather freezes his potatoes. His crop is wiped out and he is back in panic mode.
Back on earth, Nasa is doing everything they can to rescue him. But every time they do the numbers, Matt will die of starvation before the rescuers arrive.
Matt will have to find a way to eat or he will starve.
What effect do these challenges have on Matt’s mental state?
They make him virtually psychotic! One minute he is bragging that he’s colonised a new planet because he’s grown crops. The next he’s shouting in anger and terror because he has a ration of one potato a day until his crew can get back to him.
There are many more wolves that attack him before he returns to Earth. Each new wolf creates more tension and excitement in the movie.
The movie works so well because it doesn’t answer the question “Will he get to safety?” until 5 minutes from the end.
What did this simple formula do for Ridley Scott?
The Martian grossed $630 million, becoming Scott’s most successful movie.
How does this formula help you to attract your idea customer?
Think about your own story. What was the moment when you were stranded in the jungle? What wolves attacked you?
Stranded In the Jungle
What was the moment of change in your life?
What changed to make you do something different? What forced you down the path that you are now on?
I got stranded in the jungle on Monday 15 September 2008. That’s the day when Lehman Brothers went bust. That’s the day when world financial markets went into free fall.
Before that day, was flown around the world by corporate clients to take pictures and design brochures.
After that day, I was staring at the phone and praying that it would ring.
Wolves Attack Him
What wolves attacked me?
- Deficient Skill Set
The first wolf that attacked was the phone stopped ringing. I had no new business coming in.
My challenge was simple. Find a way to bring in new paying customers.
I had some savings, so there was a cushion but they wouldn’t last forever.
Remember stories are interesting because of what you did in challenging circumstances.
Unfortunately, I did more of what used to work.
Before the financial crisis, I had a business that was growing fast. My business had doubled every year for 3 years. This was exciting. This created a false sense of security.
You see, I thought that if more people saw my website that I would get work. Why did I think that? Because that’s how I got most of my work. That strategy worked. So, do more of what’s working.
I wasn’t trying to be clever. I wasn’t trying to be different. I just wanted to win some new business.
So, I spent increasing amount of money on Google ads and Facebook ads. Desperately trying to make the phone ring.
The only thing that did was to burn through my life savings faster.
After a couple of months, I could see that my advertising wasn’t working.
I didn’t know what else to do.
This is when 3 wolves attacked at the same time. I’ve burned through most of my life savings. There is an acute time pressure to bring in some new business. I saw that I don’t have the skills to get out of this situation.
What happened next?
Bankruptcy forced me to close the doors on my business!
How did I feel? Ashamed! Angry! Terrified!
That’s when Pride took a bite out of my leg.
Isn’t that the end of the story? After all, the man did not make it out of the jungle.
No. That’s when I stepped into a different jungle.
I made a commitment to myself to learn how marketing could make sales on demand without a sales team.
But how was I going to learn this?
I had no money and no idea who could teach me. So, I made the only move that I could… which was to get a job.
To cut a long story short, Time, Money, Knowledge and Pride continued to attack me for 7 years.
Then I took a big risk and made £672,989 in 9 days.
That’s when I got out of the jungle.
What about you?
What wolves attacked you on your journey?
Did that change your view of the world… and yourself?
How did these events change you?
That’s what your ideal customer wants to know. They want to know that you too have struggled. They want to know how hard you had to fight to get out of the jungle. This builds the need for the solution that you found.
How did my journey change my view of myself?
It made me see that Education and Hard Work pay… big time.
How much Education do you need? How much Hard Work do you need?
The world will tell you that. Your results will tell you that. The size of your ambition will tell you that.
So, what wolves attacked you?
Write them down as a single word or sentence as I have. Then tell the story of when each wolf struck.
Don’t Answer The Question “Will He Get To Safety?”
By not answering the question “Will he get to safety?” you hold your audiences attention.
The more wolves that attack you, the more your audience will shift in their chair. The more tension you will build in your story and the more your audience will want to know how it ends.
Look at The Martian. It’s not until 5 minutes from the end that Ridley Scott finally answers the question “Will he get to safety?”
Don’t give in to the temptation to reveal this because as soon as you do the story is over.
When the audience knows how the story ends their attention disappears fast. Especially if you’ve held them in a state of excited anticipation for some time.
So, keep them there as long as possible.
Show them all the wolves that attacked you and how you survived. Show them how the wolves changed your view of the world and you will earn the trust of your ideal customer.
Now It’s Your Turn
This storytelling formula is simple to use. It is also, simple to not use. It’s easy to read this post and think, that’s great… and not use it.
So grab a piece of paper right now. This will take less than 5 minutes.
Write down the moment when you were stranded in the jungle. Write this as one sentence. One paragraph if you need to.
Remember, my stranded in the jungle moment is a date, Monday 15 September 2008. That’s all I need to write to start the story.
Then write 3 (or more) wolves that attacked you. Again, write the wolves down as a single word or sentence.
Now throw your hands in the air and do a dance around the room.
You’re ready to tell your story in an exciting way that will earn the trust of your ideal customer.
If you’ve found this useful the please leave a comment below.
If you know a business owner with a great product or service that struggles to get their name out there, then please share this with them.
Until next time…
P.S. if you’d like to build your dream business then you need a proven system to create customers on demand.
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About The Author
I’m a copywriter and business growth trainer, mentor and consultant.
For the last 5 years, I’ve helped business owners to sell products and services in many industries. The products and services have ranged in price from £5 to £12,000.
My most successful campaign made £672,989 in 9 days.
I took that result and transformed it into a simple repeatable system. A system that I teach to ambitious entrepreneurs that want to make money on demand without a sales team.
Why do I want to help other business owners? Because my marketing journey began when I lost my first business. The pain of watching my business die, motivated me to discover how to make sales on demand without a sales team.
Today my mission is to prevent every business owner from suffering through the same pain as I did. That’s why I teach entrepreneurs how to use my simple system. Anyone can build their dream business when they use my proven system.