It’s a Story About People

When I was nine years old, I went on a trailer camping trip with my mother, father, two brothers, two sisters and a 90-pound Labrador/German Shepherd mix. All eight of us were stuffed into an old Dodge station wagon, which was towing our little Shasta trailer. Life was good. After driving all morning, we pulled into a state park for lunch and my mom fixed a bunch of sandwiches and put out a water dish for our dog. After lunch, a bunch of us explored the nearby woods and meadows. We played a game of “kick the can” and, as I will forever remember, I found a hiding place that was a little too good.

I hid from my brothers and sisters for quite a while. When I finally burst out with the intent of surprising everyone and kicking the can, I found only silence and an unfamiliar clearing. I quickly decided that I had exited my hiding place in the wrong direction and reversed my tracks. But when that path yielded nothing but trees, I changed direction again. An hour passed before I realized I was truly lost. I told myself not to worry, to be brave. I had recently seen a drive-in movie where a group of soldiers were on a stealth mission in the woods and rubbed dirt on their faces to hide the moonlight’s glare off their foreheads. I decided I should do the same, so I grabbed a bunch of dirt and spread it all over my face. Sure, it was mid-afternoon and there were no enemies, but that dirt makeup made me feel brave.

Time passed and I kept searching. Suddenly, I heard barking and saw my dog running up to me. I was shocked! A few minutes later, I heard my name being called and my family came out from the forest and ran to me. After taking turns hugging me, they looked at my soil-smeared face and started laughing. I’ll never forget how happy I was at that moment!

Why did I just tell you a story from my childhood that was previously tucked away in my brain? First, I did it for myself—it made me happy to recount the tale. Second, I did it to show you that everyone has their own stories, and they’re usually the main characters within them. If you elicit stories from your prospective customers, you’ll develop a deeper rapport and emotional connection. Not only that, the very process of recounting one of their stories will put them in a good mood.

When you talk about your company, remember that most people relate best to stories about themselves and people they know. Capture your prospective customers’ imaginations and their hearts and loyalty will follow. Instead of saying, “Here’s a drawing of what we’re proposing to do to your landscape,” ask questions about the person’s experiences—you might help her remember a relevant story or construct a story based on your service’s future use involving people she cares about.

The main character of each story is your customer. It’s a story about both their past and future, which includes working with your company. You can also describe stories of real people who encountered problems that your company helped solve. The next time you talk to a prospective customer, remember: It’s a story about people.

9,032 Tracked Connected Calls to Diamond Certified Companies in April
April produced a record number of tracked calls from consumers to Diamond Certified companies. The 9,032 calls were the most ever recorded in the 10-year history of the Diamond Certified Program—up 52% from March’s 5,942!

Watch Our Digital Workshop Video and Improve Your Digital Presence
We recently conducted five Digital Workshops for Diamond Certified company owners and introduced several new components of the Diamond Certified Digital Program. If you qualify for Diamond Certified, you’ll gain unlimited access to these components, all of which are provided for free and designed to help improve each company’s digital performance via social media, Google Search Review Stars, enhanced video presence, the new Diamond Certified Widget for company websites, a digital audit and advice, and more. Since these workshops, we’ve set up Facebook and Twitter pages for numerous Diamond Certified companies, shown them how to use social media to grow their businesses and provided them with automatic expert content to keep their customers interested.

Go to to learn more. Watch a 30-minute video that showcases a Diamond Certified Digital Workshop and download several helpful documents, including a Digital Checklist and a Digital Fitness Scorecard.

Thousands Apply to Become Diamond Certified Preferred Consumers
Although we just launched our Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer program last year, thousands have already signed up for membership. The program is geared toward consumers who care about quality and look first to Diamond Certified companies when shopping locally. Each member gets a membership card that provides a number of benefits, including a special Member Hotline that lets them talk to a real person and a Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee that’s capped at $2,000 per transaction (instead of $1,000 for non-members). Have you signed up to be a Diamond Certified Preferred Consumer yet? It’s ALWAYS FREE—simply go to and click on the image of the membership card!

By: Jim Stein, Founder/CEO of American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Program.

You should follow me on twitter here:

Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

About Jim Stein, Founder and CEO

Jim Stein is the founder and CEO of American Ratings Corporation. Through his interactions with more than 6,000 local companies and analysis of over 1 million consumer survey responses, Jim has developed easy-to-understand strategies for consumers to enjoy consistently positive customer experiences and for companies to better satisfy customers, increase referral rates and reduce customer attrition.
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