You’ve known this since you were a kid—stories are powerful. They make ideas and experiences relatable, understandable, and reassuring. Perhaps the greatest source of power for stories, though, is that the interesting ones get repeated.
Your story is critical to helping your audience understand how they and you relate to one another. It connects your dots.
Think about that idea of the power of stories. How impactful would it be for you to leverage this power through your organizational story?
What if you don’t have a story?
Of course you have a story. Every business does. Your story, more than anything else you have to say, is what connects your audience to you, to what you’re building, and to what you provide.
Your story, told properly, answers dozens of variations of one core question.
That question is: Why?
- Why should I buy what you’re selling?
- Why should I join your company?
- Why should I partner with you?
Your story must explain WHY you exist.
Don't confuse your story with the facts of your company. With a few minutes of search, anyone can figure out what you do, where you do it, how you do it, and whom you do it for. It isn’t that these aren’t important pieces of information, but your audience can figure all this out on their own.
They are also facts they can find out about your competition. In other words, they don't help you stand out in any way. In most markets, countless competing offerings look and sound the same.
Your story gives your audience a compelling reason to choose you.
The key, once again, is why you do what you do. Why should anyone care? Only you can tell that story.
For instance, what is Q4i’s story?
The Q4i story
Wendy and I (the partners of Q4i) both came from independent agencies. We were fortunate that both of our agencies believed strongly in investing in networking, coaching, and training programs. We both readily admit that we found value from everything we participated in. However, we also believed that all the programs needed to go much further in helping us execute on what we learned.
Both of our agencies were multi-lines, and most of the groups we belonged to focused much more on the property and casualty (P&C) side of the business. This left the benefits divisions feeling like the proverbial “red-headed stepchild.”
We were left to interpret ideas developed and presented with the P&C practice in mind. On top of that, we missed opportunities to be more active participants in conversations because we spoke a different language, at least a different dialect of insurance.
We knew there was a need and a desire to have a place where benefits professionals could come together in a network/platform of their own.
The biggest challenge
Honestly, looking past the P&C emphasis was doable. Sure, there are fundamental differences between the focus areas, but that wasn't the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge affected both the benefits and P&C sides; taking presented ideas and putting them into practice.
Whether attending conferences or participating in coaching calls, we would often find ourselves fired up and excited because of the big ideas we heard. But like a meal of carbs, there was an inevitable crash afterward.
As soon as the initial excitement waned, we faced the reality that these new ideas always required a lot of work. We knew that change and the implementation of ideas are never easy and are labor-intensive, but there seemed to be more work than necessary.
It didn’t make sense to build tools and develop resources ourselves before getting to the implementation phase. It seemed that those sharing the ideas should have also provided us with the tools for implementation.
Wendy and I were fortunate, or maybe a bit stubborn, and we both found a way to build what was needed to implement and execute growth ideas. However, we watched much of our peer group struggle, become frustrated, and eventually give up because of an inability to implement.
We knew there was a need and a desire for a coaching/training program that not only challenged its members with new ideas but, more importantly, always provided the tools/resources needed to execute.
Let’s do this!
Our experience and passion for the benefits side of the industry fueled us to start Q4intelligence 13 years ago. We saw the need for a benefits-focused platform that challenged conventional thinking and provided the tools and resources necessary to transform the way agencies grow. It led to the mantra we still repeat daily.
We fill gaps and take away excuses.
Big ideas are easy. Building tools and resources, though, is MUCH more challenging.
We remain committed to building as complete a platform as possible to help benefits professionals and agencies reach their potential. This is reflected in the Purpose/Why of Q4i, to help “transform and serve the industry.”
Where tangible tools and resources are required, we fill those gaps by building them. Admittedly, the version we create may not be perfect for an individual producer or agency. However, we know it is much easier to adjust a solution that has already been built than to build one from scratch.
Other times, it isn’t tangible tools that are needed. Producers and agencies often are the very source of their own biggest challenges. They fill their minds with head-trash reasons why they can't reach their growth potential. They need the excuses to be taken away.
This is where our coaching and our role of providing accountability come into play. Because we’ve sat in their seat, we know when to call bullshit on their excuses.
No, we haven’t built a business that appeals to everyone. However, it sure is working well for those benefits professionals and organizations looking for the guidance, tools, and accountability to hit their potential.
Your turn, friends
We just shared our story. I started by commenting on the power of stories. Do you agree?
Did you find our story to be:
- Relatable – As an industry professional, have you ever been frustrated by exciting ideas whose execution remained beyond your reach?
- Understandable – Do the ideas of "filling gaps and taking away excuses" resonate with your day-to-day efforts?
- Reassuring – Do you find comfort in knowing there is someone out there who understands you and your challenges and who has built a solution specifically with you in mind?
- Repeatable – Could you see sharing our story with an industry friend who may be going through the same frustrations out of which we were born?
You don't have to create your story; it already exists in your heart, mind, and soul. It just needs to be released.
To follow through on our commitment to providing the tools necessary to execute an idea, start by answering these questions:
- Why do you exist?
- Why do you do what you do each day?
- Why should anyone care?
- Why would anyone want to be a part of your organization?
Like most everyone else, I love a good story and can’t wait to hear yours.
Photo by Baloncici