How to Use Your Founder Story to Make More Sales
Every business owner comes across the crossroads of identity early in the process of building out their business. There is a lingering question of how much to reveal, how much to integrate the founder’s story into a business, and when it’s all too much.
This is an important question to ponder if you care about optimizing your online storefronts so that you don’t leave money at the table or lose sales. Omitting or neglecting your personal story from your brand’s narrative is the biggest sales mistake you can make, in my humble opinion.
Ignoring the importance of a founder’s/founding team story to a business is detrimental, and not weaving it intentionally into a business’ storytelling is a missed opportunity.
It removes the human essence that’s so necessary for a customer to bond with a business on a deeper level. And if you’re a business that’s looking to receive repeat business and a primed audience that’s ready to buy whenever you release something new — you want to foster this deeper level bond.
I specialize in storytelling and how to integrate an entrepreneur’s personal story strategically and persuasively into a business’ marketing so that it benefits their bottom line. I also inform entrepreneurs on how their business’ marketing should share that story in its content thoughtfully, throughout the year.
There’s a special dance to how storytelling should be leveraged, especially when it’s being used to foster connection and community amongst a business’ audience.
If you’re a startup founder curious about how to integrate your story into your business’ narrative, here’s how you can explore its benefits and apply them to your business.
Why your story is important
A bio and founder statement on a brand’s website shouldn’t be just that. These statements should be written with the intention of establishing authority, connection, and bridges between you and your audience.
Think about it — when a shopper arrives at your website and reads your Home and About pages, they do so fishing for information that helps them connect with your story. No one reads About pages for the hell of it, they read it looking for something — a thread of connection and relation between themselves and the business’ founder(s).
This is a shopping behavior that’s carried over from shopping in-person at a physical store. When we shop within a physical store, we observe the salespeople (and possibly the owners) within the store and weigh the conversations we have with them to decide whether we want to buy or not.
This holds truth when you think about how the majority of Yelp reviews for physical storefronts are not about the product themselves, but about the level of service the customer received and the interactions they were exposed to in the store.
The narrative you put out there when speaking about yourself and your business’ founding story is a totem of how your business interacts with the shoppers who enter its digital storefront. You either make an impression that helps your customers feel good, or you don’t make an impression at all to influence their decision to buy from you.
If you have the opportunity to influence your shoppers to buy from you, why wouldn’t you? This is why stewarding the direction and narrative of your founding story is important.
How does your story drive the philosophy or intentionality behind your business?
When it comes to crafting your story intentionally, you should start by connecting the dots of how your personal philosophy and values align with those of your business.
Calling out these connections and creating bridges between who you are as a human, and how your humanity informed the inspiration behind your business is an important piece to creating belief and trust around what you’ve created.
The biggest objection shoppers have when buying from new businesses is trust — your story can either answer this objection or leave it to the imagination of your shoppers to address (which, hint: they will not end up buying anything from you).
This is an important step to acknowledge because if there’s a disconnect between you and the values your business has, there will be a degradation of integrity that your customer will sniff right away. No integrity = no trust = no purchase.
To find parallels between your story and your business, create a t-chart where you list out keywords that represent your business’ values on the left side, and keywords that represent your values on the right side.
Find similarities between both sides of the chart and circle them. Then, draw examples/stories from your personal and professional background that demonstrate these values. These stories should be the key pieces that you highlight on your website and your founder’s story.
A note on being “professional”: I don’t care how corporate or B2B you believe your business needs to be, and the faceless, corporate veneer you feel that you need to uphold. This old-school play of aloofness doesn’t work anymore. Consumers are craving human connection and intimacy from the brands they purchase from — a desire that was only amplified during the pandemic.
All businesses can adopt a variation of personal storytelling to suit their comfort level and preference. Even if you are a tech company that sells software, and putting a descriptive About page of the founders’ values doesn’t feel normal to you because not many of your competitors are doing it, this is exactly why you should do it.
It is what will differentiate you and compel your B2B audience to connect with you in a way they haven’t been invited to connect with your competitors. At the end of the day, there are human beings making the decisions behind these B2B relationships — your business will be all the better for it if you cut to the chase and draw the bridge for your customers to connect and walk closer to you.
Who is the person your customer needs you to be for them?
Once you have your founder’s story, you need to create a bridge between you and your customers. It’s definitely important to highlight how great you are and to brag a bit about yourself in order to establish credibility and trust, but there also needs to be a bridge that helps your customer connect with you on a human level.
Admiration only works for some businesses as a selling strategy, human connection however, works for all businesses as a selling strategy.
This is where we arrive at the question of: who is the person your customer needs you to be for them?
This answer will be different for every business, but to answer this question, you should understand if your customer needs you to be an advisor/mentor or a friend.
If your customer needs you to be an advisor or mentor to them, they are looking for you to provide guidance, leadership, and expertise when they are buying your product or service.
If your customer needs you to be a friend to them, they are looking for authentic, down-to-earth advice, recommendations, and insight.
Answering this question for your business is important because it helps you establish a tone and a North Star for how you should craft your content as a brand. It helps you show up as the person your customer needs your brand to be in order to feel comfortable enough to purchase from you.
By stepping into this role, you are acting as that salesperson in the physical store who walks the customer to the checkout aisle while making them feel happy about their purchase. It’s that last touch of magic you need to not only close the sale but also plant the seed for repeat purchase.
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