Your Story Is What?

“We missed you last week. What were you doing?” asked our get right to it sales type, Kate, as I took my seat.

Statue of Knight on ledge“Since you must know,” I said, “I was talking someone down from a ledge.”

“Mistah Fletcher,” Bubba oozed in his best Georgia peach way, “that is no job for the likes of you in my humble opinion.”

“That depends” I replied, “on a number of things. First, how high was it? Second, why was he up there? And third, was there a fire company with a net handy?”

Chris suggested in his digital director way, “Sounds like your leading up to the topic of the day and it doesn’t sound a lot like marketing or sales or all the stuff we usually talk about.”

“You are so wrong my oriental mastermind friend,” I said. “The guy on the ledge was me and I had totally screwed up my first column for a major forum. I didn’t need a net because the founder/editor is a gentleman and knows how to get the best out of a writer.”

Gail leaned looked over her glasses in her writer like way and said, “Back up. What were you attempting to write about?”

“My premise was that every company has a story. Each of us has heard and I’ll wager told stories about our companies and those we have advised. Most of us have heard how ‘when it absolutely positively has to be here overnight’ came to be and the legend of ‘just do it’ and others.”

“So where did you go wrong?” asked Rick our Direct marketing guy.

“I’ll bet I can tell you where he got all cattywampus,” said Bubba. I’m thinkin’ he went off the tracks on either Persona or Plot Line.”

Rick smiled and said,  “I’ll do the Persona piece. My partner studied this for years. What he came down to was that there were only three or four personaes that work in a selling context. He called them archetypes. They are:

  • The Expert the person who has gathered the data, compiled the information, taken action to gain knowledge and with experience has come to wisdom.
  • The Knight who doesn’t know about something but goes looking to solve a problem and then reports back on the results of the quest.
  • The Collector who gathers experiences and along the way finds secrets that must, in his/her mind be shared. Sometimes the most powerful version of the Collector is a person reluctant to step into the limelight which makes the discoveries just that much more appealing.”

Rob said “Well done, Yankee!” He acknowledged Rick’s nod and went on, “Plot, according to Ray Bradbury is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. Here are four plot lines that you are already familiar with if you’ve ever read a comic book, attended a Shakespeare play or sat through a George Lucas movie:

  • Challenge and Call can be a game of chance, a personal problem remedied or as simple as standing up to that voice on your shoulder. You respond to a negative situation and find your way out of it.
  • Transformation is the before and after story. It demonstrates the change you’ve learned which you can bring to someone else’s life or status or health or you name it.
  • Finder’s Sharers is when you relate the way you came upon something and the effect it can have for the buyer. A subset of this is often about revealing a secret discovered.
  • You and me against the world is a replay of the competitive thing that most business owners believe in. Just like the war of Yankee aggression, it divides the audience and will make some of them hardcore fans.

Theah’s more but that’s the bigun’s in the briar patch.”

“You guys hit the nail right on the head,” I said. “I went back to my notes on our discussions about stories and using them for corporate positioning and branding. It was all there. Thank you all for helping me down off the ledge.”


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic.

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