The story that changed the story

It was Maxine’s turn to do her 60-second pitch.

She talked about her one-stop party shopwith “all the supplies you need under one roof” and “banners and balloons to make your party go with a bang”. She knew her pitch well, she’d recited it many times.

And this was speed-networking so, in a few minutes, she was going to say it all over again at the next table!

But then she heard me talk about story … and it got her thinking. At the next table, she didn’t do her usual pitch, instead she shared her story.

She talked about how she had found herself a single mum in 2011 and labelled “unemployable” – after her violent ex had inflicted back injuries that meant she couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time.

But, her survival instincts had kicked in and, determined not to be beaten anymore, she vowed to do something for herself and her two young children. She wrote a business plan for a party business and, over the last few years, had put her heart and soul into bringing that business to life.

Everyone at the table listened intently. They were completely engrossed in her story, clearly moved and inspired, and when she finished they asked for her business card.

People don’t engage with what you do, they engage with why you do it. They want a reason to buy from you. Story is that reason.