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Boost Your Credibility With A Powerful Origin Story
Ever read a comic book or watched a superhero film?
One thing you'll have noticed in every one is that the hero always has an “origin story” – the way they got their superpowers.
A powerful origin story makes the hero more credible and believable. Spiderman can climb walls and shoot webs because he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Superman can fly because he comes from a planet with a red sun. Batman is driven to fight crime because his parents were gunned down in front of him as a child.
As an expert in your field, you have “superpowers” too. Clients hire you because you can do things that others can't. And just like with a hero, having a clear origin story of how you acquired your powers can make you more credible and believable.
In this week's video I share a number of effective models that you can build your origin story from depending on your own specific experiences.
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Hi it's Ian here. Welcome to another five minute marketing tip. As you can see the great beard experiment is still going. We're twenty six days in and it's still growing. But more seriously today's five minute marketing tip is for you if you want to be seen as an authority or an expert in your field. It's a technique that will help boost your credibility and your believability as an expert by having a really clear origin story. I'll explain why and how to do it after the break.
Hi! Welcome back. If you've ever read any superhero comics or watched any of the films recently you'll know that they take great pains to always explain to you how that hero got their powers, their origin story. For some reason we find it just that bit more believable that Spiderman can climb walls and shoot webbing out of his fingers because he was bitten by a radioactive spider. We find it a bit more believable that Superman could fly and has amazingly strong because he come from a planet with a red sun. We find it believable that Dr. Strange knows all this weird magic because he trained with the Ancient One in the mountains of Tibet. Having an origin story helps people believe why you have amazing powers.
If you think about it as an expert in your field you have amazing powers too. The reason people hire you is because you can do things that other people can't do. Now usually that's to do with your knowledge and your experience but it's still super powers. If you can have an origin story so rather than your about me page or your introduction being a random collection of fact, if there can be a clear narrative there that explains how you got the powers that you have then people are inclined to believe it a bit more and trust in your skills and capabilities a bit more.
I'll explain how with a couple of examples. What I'm going to give you is a handful of different types of origin story that you can think about and think whether your experience fits into that particular model or you can come up with your own models. It's nice to have either one or a combination of a couple of models that makes it really clear why you have the abilities you have.
The simplest ones and one of the ones that used the most is the “I've been there and done it myself” model. If you're teaching something as a consultant, a coach, a trainer etcetera and you've done that thing for yourself, then you're more believable. For example if you wanted to learn how to become an entrepreneur and you got the chance of being trained by Richard Branson for example that would be very believable and credible because Branson has been a very very successful entrepreneur for a long period of time so you would assume that he would be able to teach you how to do it. Now most of us unfortunately haven't got forty years of experience of doing something, if you have that's great and you can use that. If you haven't you have to look at a different model.
Another good model you can use is the researcher model. Now this is something I hinted at a couple of videos ago when I talked about doing research projects. If you look at someone like Jim Collins for examples the author of Good to Great and Built to Last. He's a high paid consultant to senior executives in corporate organizations showing them how to make their business more effective, to grow, to be more profitable but Collins is never run a major corporation himself what he has done is he studied a whole load of them to understand what makes them successful and some less successful. That gives him the credibility to advice corporate executives. Similarly with Neil Rackham in the field of sales. Neil has never been a sales person for a very long period of time himself. He was a psychology researcher but what he has done he sat in unfortunately for him on more sales meetings than pretty much anyone else in the world, studied them, analyzed them, seen what works and doesn't work. Therefore you can trust his judgement and his training and his teaching on that topic. That's the researcher model.
Another model that works really well is the previous life model. That's where something you did in a previous life that isn't directly the same as what you're teaching now actually lends credibility to it. Some of you may know Joe Navarro for example. Joe is a real well known expert in the field of body language and he trains businesses in body language. He's previous life was one of the founding members of the behavioral analysis unit in the FBI. He did that for twenty, thirty years or whatever. His credibility today in teaching business people how to understand and analyze and look at body language isn't based on having done it in business, it's based on having done it in the FBI. People assumptions is well if he did it in the FBI he must be really good at it so easily good enough to teach in business.
Similar example of that would be in the area of media training a lot of the people who do media training where they teach business people how to be able to handle tricky questions from the media, how to be interviewed, how to appear on TV or radio etcetera are people who were journalist or TV presenters themselves before because who better to show you how to answer tricky questions from journalist and presenters than someone who was a journalist or presenter who used to ask those tricky questions in the past. Similarly I have a friend who's an ex-comedian who teaches people presentation skills today. Again the logic that people have is well he can stand up in front of a room full of drunken people in a comedy club and get his message across to them than surely he can teach me to get my message across to other business people. Your previous life even though it wasn't exactly the same as what you're doing today gives you credibility because there is a common theme often what you used to do is a more extreme version of what you're teaching people to do today.
Another good model is the power behind the throne model. That's where you haven't necessarily done something yourself but you've taught others, you've helped others, you've done something behind the scenes where you've got other people to do what you're now teaching people to do. A good example of that is Mitch Russo. Mitch is a fellow speaker of mine at the Authority Super Summit that's coming up soon and Mitch appeared on my podcast a little way back. One of the things that Mitch has done in his career is he was head of operations for a business that Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes had where he took that business from being very small scaled it and grew it very fast to being a big successful business. It wasn't his business, he did for someone else.
Now particularly in the area of done for you service that's good positioning. The ability to do it for someone else because you look at Mitch and think you know what he managed to grow Tony Robins' business really successfully maybe he can grow my business really successfully. In some ways that's better positioning than doing it for yourself because if someone does it for themselves you might doubt whether they can do it for anyone else maybe if it's tied up with their own personality and their own particular skills but if you've done it for somebody else then people will logically think you can do it for them.
Now the final model is a model I really like. It's based on the been there and done it myself model but it's for those of us who maybe don't have forty years of experience in a particular area but still have some skills we want to help people with and it's the Trailblazer model. The Trailblazer model is where you're two or three steps ahead of people and you're very open about that. You don't say, “I've got fifty years of experience in this area. I'm a real world leading expert.” You say what, “I'm currently experimenting, trying things out in this area and I think you might be able to learn from me and my experiences and I'm going to report my results and tell you what's happening.”
It's particularly good where the field you work in, the field you're an expert is changing rapidly, is very new. Good example of that today would be someone like Jon Loomer the Facebook advertising expert. No one can say they've got forty years in Facebook advertising because it wasn't around more than a few years ago. What Jon does is whenever Facebook introduced new advertising he quickly takes those features, test them out in his own business, see what works and sees what doesn't work, documents that and then teaches it to people in his Power Hitters Club and documents it on his blog. He's able to say to people, “I've been running a test on this new Facebook feature for the last three weeks, here are the results I've got. Here's what seems to work. Here's how I recommend that you should do it.” He's only a few weeks or months head. Now as long as you're open and honest about that I think that can be a really powerful origin story because people feel empathy with it.
The truth is when I first started out in business I probably didn't want to learn much from Richard Branson. He may have been a really successful entrepreneur but in my mind he was so far ahead of me and it was so long ago when he first set up that I would probably doubt that he would understand the pain and the struggles that I was going through. I would probably more likely want to learn from someone who's been successful but had done to more recently and was maybe just a couple of years ahead of me. Then they could still remember the problems that they were where I am so that I'm more likely to learn from them. I feel a greater degree of empathy for them, I know they're on the same path and the same journey as me.
You don't have to be a grizzled fifty year veteran in any particular area in order to be able to give valuable expert advice you can just be the two, three, four, five further steps on the journey. As long as your honest and open about it and say, “Look I'm here I could teach you how to get to here if that's where you want to go. You can share in my journey.” I think that's a really powerful model, people buy into that. Often the most successful superheroes in terms of their popularity aren't the ones who are perfect like Superman, they're the ones who are human like us, like Spiderman and Batman. That may well be a model, the Trailblazer model, that can work really well for you. Either way which ever model you use any of the ones I've shown you or a model you come up with yourself make sure it's very clear to people why you have the powers that you have, how you acquired them, what credibility you have with those powers and that will make you much more believable as an authority or an expert. See you next week.