#120: Storytelling for Business with Donald Miller

#120: Storytelling for Business with Donald Miller

#120: Storytelling for Business with Donald Miller

Storytelling Made Simple!

 

 

In today’s episode, we are talking with Donald Miller, best-selling author, CEO, and podcast host. Donald is the CEO of Business Made Simple, an online platform that teaches business professionals everything they need to know to grow a business and enhance their personal value on the open market. He is also the host of the Business Made Simple Podcast and is the author of several books including the bestseller “Building a StoryBrand.”

 

 

Donald is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion. Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Ford/Lincoln, Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending and thousands more.

 

 

In this episode, we discuss Donald’s upbringing without a father figure, the power of storytelling, and why you should always aim to tell stories. We’ll also talk about the seven steps that happen in every story, the best call-to-actions, how customer testimonials can be important, and how to use storytelling in your social media.

 

 

Sponsored by – 

 

 

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Social Media:

Follow YAP on IG: www.instagram.com/youngandprofiting

Reach out to Hala directly at [email protected]

Follow Hala on Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/htaha/

Follow Hala on Instagram: www.instagram.com/yapwithhala

Follow Hala on ClubHouse: @halataha

Check out our website to meet the team, view show notes and transcripts: www.youngandprofiting.com

Timestamps:

 

 

01:05 – What Donald Was Like As A Child

 

04:19 -The Importance of Mentors

 

07:49 – Why Stories Are So Powerful

 

11:25 – Importance of Messaging Being Concise

 

16:05 – The Explanation of Story Loops

 

19:02 – Why You Need to Continuously Solve Problems

 

21:45 – Where the CEO Fits Within the Face of The Brand

 

27:04 – The Seven Steps That Happen in Every Story

 

31:25 – Details on How To Use the Seven Steps

 

32:44 – Best Call-To-Actions

 

35:49 – The Principle of Pricing in Storytelling

 

38:17 – Real Examples of 7 Soundbites

 

44:28 – Why Customer Testimonials Are So Impactful

 

45:43 – How Brand Elements Can Pass The ‘Grunt’ Test

 

51:11 – Best Practices for Storytelling in Social Media

 

52:28 – The Comparison of Business to An Airplane

 

59:13 – Donald’s Secret to Profiting in Life 

 

 

Mentioned in the Episode:

 

 

Donald’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/donald-miller-storybrand/

 

Donald’s Book, Business Made Simple: https://www.businessmadesimple.com/

 

Donald’s Company: https://storybrand.com/

 

StoryBrand’s Upcoming Marketing Workshop: https://storybrand.com/#register

 

Free 5-Minute Marketing Makeover: http://www.5minutemarketingmakeover.com/

 

_119_Donald_Miller_v1_a9mxe

[00:00:00] Hala Taha: [00:00:00] You're listening to YAP Young And Profiting podcast. A place where you can listen, learn, and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha, and on Young And Profiting podcast, we investigate a new topic each week and interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life.

No matter your age, profession, or industry, there's no fluff on this podcast and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guest by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of ex FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, CEOs, and bestselling authors.

Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain influence, the art of entrepreneurship, and . If you're smart and like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe button because you'll love it here at Young And Profiting [00:01:00] podcast. This week on YAP, we're chatting with Donald Miller, an American author, public speaker, and business owner.

Donald is the CEO of StoryBrand an agency that has helped more than 3000 businesses like Pantene and Chick-fil-A clarify their brand message. Donald is also the CEO of Business Made Simple, an online platform that teaches business professionals, everything they need to know about growing a business. He hosts the Business Made Simple podcast and is the author of two bestsellers Building a StoryBrand and Marketing Made Simple.

In this episode, we discuss the power of storytelling for business and how to create a StoryBrand using Dawn's seven step framework. We'll learn the primary characters in a story brand like the guide and hero, and will understand the importance of opening and closing story loops as well as why if you confuse you lose

in your brand messaging. Hey, Donald, welcome to Young And Profiting [00:02:00] podcast. So glad to have you here. 

Donald Miller: [00:02:01] I'm grateful to be here. 

Hala Taha: [00:02:02] I'm so excited for this interview because storytelling is like one of my favorite topics. And I've invited a couple people on the show to talk about storytelling, but it's been a lot of like fluff and no actionable content.

And then I heard your stuff and I was like hooked. And I was like, we have to have a line. And I'm just so excited because I feel like you're going to have so much insight to share with everyone. So welcome again. So for anybody who doesn't know who you are a podcast host, you are a CEO, you are an author.

You are a multitude of things. And one of the things that you're most known for is helping brands tell their stories. So you've worked with Chick-fil-A, Pantene, countless household brands. So I would love to introduce yourself to my listeners, give a bit of your background from my understanding you grew up in Texas and you were a bit of a troubled child and you found a mentor who inspired you to start writing.

So I'd love to, understand who you are as a child. Cause it's nothing like who you are today. And it will give some inspiration to my listeners, anybody who's [00:03:00] on this troubled path who may be able to, come out the other side. Tell us a bit about your upbringing in your child. 

Donald Miller: [00:03:06] Yeah Hala I had no shot at any form of success.

If you took a snapshot of my junior high school years, you would say, this kid is going nowhere fast. And I had this youth pastor at my local church who said, Don, I'd love for you to write the guest column in this little bit of youth group newsletter. It was probably 50 people subscribed to it.

I wrote it. I got great feedback from five people. And I thought I'm good at one thing. And it's writing. And of course that was not true at the time, but at least I was delusional, optimistic to think I could hone it into a craft. And I did and I, and so I wrote a bunch of books. My second book was called Blue Like Jazz.

And it stayed on the New York times bestsellers list for 42 weeks. If you can believe it. Now, I just fast forward 15 years, by the time that happened, there was a lot of writing in there. And then I, in order to keep writing books and keep selling books, quite honestly, I studied story and [00:04:00] how story works and how story keeps a person turning the pages.

And I just became a story junkie. I just read every book I could took every course I could on story in order to be a better writer. So I kept writing books and those books did well. But by about the seventh or eighth memoir, I ran out of things to say, and Accenture, this giant consulting firm called me and said, Don, we know, a lot about story.

Could you help us figure out how to overlap a project management system and story structure together? In other words, we want to invite, united, and continental to merge as an airline. Could you help us figure out how to create a narrative around something like that? And I did, I created a curriculum and then realized really quickly this affects marketing and messaging and creative

a curriculum around the way companies can use stories to engage customers and wrote a book and it sold half a million copies. And now I'm grateful to say somehow that's what I've ended up [00:05:00] doing with the last seven, eight years of my life is helping stories invite people, helping companies invite people into a better story.

And I absolutely love it because it unites your sales and marketing, but it also, there's nothing sleazy about story. There's nothing aggressive about it. It's just a technique that people pay a lot of attention to at the theater, watching Netflix, reading books and if stories can use that, they don't have to be sleazy or aggressive, but everybody suddenly is attracted to their brand.

And so I'm grateful to have this weird non-linear journey toward what I'm doing now.  

Hala Taha: [00:05:35] It's really cool. And I'd love to just step back and focus on that journey a bit, because from my understanding, you didn't grow up with a father figure and that's been a big part of your life and also a big part of giving back in your life.

You started the mentoring project, which really focuses on youth who don't have a father. So I'd love to hear a bit about that from you and why that's been so powerful and the importance  of a mentor [00:06:00] and the state of America in terms of like fatherless figures and why you think that's a problem and why you're trying to help solve that problem.

Donald Miller: [00:06:08] That's a huge topic. In stories Hala, there's really four major characters. There is the hero or apartment. Let me start over. There's the victim. And the victim is the person who has been kidnapped. They're being bullied. It's the person in the story who needs to be  rescued.

Then there's the villain and that's the evil person who's trying to destroy the victim. And then there's the hero who's combating the villain. And then there's the guide who's has a backstory of success and is now helping the hero in their fight against the villain. Those are the four major characters in stories, and those characters exist in stories because they exist in me

and you. It's not like there are villains out there and they're victims out there and there are heroes out there and there are guides out there. Actually, every human being you meet has all four characters inside them. And on any given day, they could play all four characters. If I'm caught in traffic, like I was about 20 minutes ago, I'm a victim, and woe is me [00:07:00] and I feel sorry. If I run a red light and a honk at somebody and nearly hit a pedestrian, I'm a villain. There's no question about it. If I'm a hero and I help an old lady cross the street, and I'm late to this interview because I did a nice thing. Then I'm a hero. If I'm a guide and I give somebody advice on how to write a book so that they can win.

And it's sacrificial of me to do that, then I'm the guide. We play all those characters every day. And the reality is the more we play the hero, the better our life is going to go. The more we play the guide, the better our life is going to go. The more we play the victim, the worse our life is going to go.

And the more we play the villain, the worse our life is going to go. So to the degree that you play, these four characters, your life tells a story. What happens to the victim is they get rescued and then they're forgotten about what happens to the villains. They go to jail, or they're in. What happens to the hero is they're rewarded at the end of the movie.

And the guide of course is respected because they've helped you here when, and they've laid down their life. So when you about fatherhood and having grown up without a father, really what I grew up with out was a guide, the [00:08:00] person who was supposed to be there to help you win and sacrifice of themselves to help you win was absent in my life.

And so what I have done is created a mentoring program for fatherless kids, so that those guides, every hero needs guide and the guide can show up in the story. One of the things that I tell brands is if you want to grow your brand, or you want your product to change more lives, position yourself and your company, as the guide, helping other heroes win, don't play the hero.

Don't play the victim, don't play villain, play the guide and and make the customer the hero is a mantra around our office. The customer is the hero, the customer's the hero. So it's not just life and fatherlessness. It's business. It's leadership. It's your podcast.  If you think about your podcast, Hala, you are the guide helping thousands of heroes, listening to this podcast win, and people are attracted to you because of that reason, because they say that's the person who can help me win.

And the more we do that, the better our lives are going to go. 

Hala Taha: [00:08:58] Oh my gosh. I love how you [00:09:00] related that back to stories. It's so perfect. You're so good. Okay. So let's keep talking about storytelling and the importance of storytelling. So first help us understand why do stories work so well? What's the proof out there that demonstrates that stories are really powerful and that we learn best from 

stories.

Donald Miller: [00:09:20] Yeah. The average person spends about 30% of their time daydreaming and it's actually a survival mechanism when you daydream or your mind just checks out or you're staring at your phone, that's your brain recharging and what your brain is saying is, look, there's nothing in my environment right now.

That I need in order to survive, therefore I'm going to rest my brain. And the only thing that can stop a brain from daydreaming, 30% of the time, it's actually story. When you sit down to watch a movie or read a book, or listen to a podcast like this one, your brain will stop daydreaming and it will plug in and start paying attention.

And the [00:10:00] way that, the reason that happens is because stories ask questions and then they don't give you the answer until the end. So story asks the question. If you're watching a romcom story says, is this absent minded buffoon of a man going to be able to get his stuff together to marry? Though his sweetheart, before his jerk brother marries the sweetheart, that's a story.

And and you pay attention for two hours until the story is resolved. And if it's Game of Thrones or something like that, you're talking about two weeks of plugging in and paying attention. So a story has a powerful ability to compel a human brain. There's some rules about story, though. It cannot be confusing.

You have to know what the hero wants. The hero has to transform as they encounter these various challenges. And if you break some of these rules, people will start to daydream during your story. They won't know why they're doing it, but they'll start the daydream. The same is true with brands. If you have not identified [00:11:00] what you're helping your customer achieve, and especially if you haven't identified the problem that your brand saw.

For the hero customer, they will stop paying attention to you. That has to be crystal clear within sales seconds of interacting with your brand. And if it's not, then they're going to stop paying attention. So story works so well because for over 2000 years since a guy named Aristotle wrote a book called poetics, we have recognized stories, the most powerful tool in the universe to compel a human brain and brands are beginning to discover its ability, but most brands, they don't get it.

They walk in and they try to tell their story. My grandfather started a company and it's 75 years old and we're trying to increase our great places to work metric. And none of that stuff has anything to do with the customer, it's all about you. And so what we always say is don't tell your story, invite customers into a story in which they can experience a transformation and [00:12:00] ultimately have their problem resolved in the end.

Human beings are drawn to that. Just like they're drawn to Netflix. You should think of your company as one of the things that one of the shows on Netflix, and you're trying to get people to press on it and engage. 

Hala Taha: [00:12:12] That's so so many things that you covered, I want to dig deep into you mentioned that we have to be concise, and I think you have this phrase that you say, if you confuse you lose.

So let's talk about why it's important not to stuff our messaging with so much content. I know a lot of people, they try to give every element of the story and they don't realize that sometimes less is more because if you confuse people, you've lost them. So talk to us about why we need to be really clear, really concise when it comes to our messaging.

Donald Miller: [00:12:42] People think of stories as being about something and they of course are about something, but the real power of a good storyteller is not in what they say. It's in what they leave out. It's in what they don't say it storytellers have to make decisions and they leave enormous amounts of [00:13:00] material. If you will, on the cutting room floor, they don't say things.

So in other words, if Jason Bourne wanted to know who he really was, but he also wanted to lose 35 pounds and he also wanted to run a marathon and he also wanted to marry his sweetheart. And he also wanted to adopt a cat. You would lose the audience because it's about too many things.

And I think that's a mistake most brands make. Their brand is about too many things. It's about delivering too much value or too many things of value to the customer. So the customer can't really get their mind around what your brand is about. If you want to own what I call mental real estate, that is you want somebody to think of you when they're thinking of whatever it is that you sell.

You want own a piece of territory and specifically what that needs to be as you need to own a problem. And everybody listening, if you want to be a young professional who skyrockets in their career own a problem. This week I was putting together some furniture and I walked into my shop, my tool shed, and I looked for very specific [00:14:00] tools.

I was looking for a Crescent wrench. I was looking for a, an Allen wrench. I was looking for this, nothing was ambiguous. I knew which tools I needed in order to do the work I needed to do. And that's how you want to think of your brand. If you have a leaky roof, you're going to call X brand. If you want somebody to pick up your dry cleaning, so you don't have to drop it off, this is the brand that does it.

If you want, a flat screen TV that looks like a piece of art, this is the specific thing. And so a lot of times when you look at brands, they'll, they have taglines like trust is the commodity we exchange. If your tagline is trust is the commodity we exchange. I have no idea what problem you solve.

And there's no reason for me to do business with you. So we come up with these cute and clever and sometimes rather poetic things to say about our businesses, but ultimately, unless we're explaining the problem that we solve in very clear terms, people are going to pass us by. So clarity is the key. If you confuse you lose.

Hala Taha: [00:14:59] And [00:15:00] then people are focusing on the wrong things, like he said. So it's just a whole mess. You want to be super, super clear. 

Donald Miller: [00:15:05] Yeah. Especially when you're young, because when you're young, although I think most of the genius that hits us in our youth. The problem is it can somebody at times be cluttered by identity crisis.

We, we've cast out on our own. We're only 10 years out of the house. And we're trying to prove that we're strong and able and capable. And that gets in the way it's usually only after we have succeeded. That we established the kind of confidence that we need to heal our own wounds and turn around and help somebody else.

And it's the point where we've healed our own wounds and we've turned around to help somebody else that people are actually interested in working with us. And I don't think you can fake that Hala. I don't. I think you've got to go out and get some wins early in order to realize that wins don't mean anything.

And what actually really means something is helping somebody else. That's what that's, what's meaningful in life. 

Hala Taha: [00:15:59] It's so funny [00:16:00] when I've been hearing about your storytelling techniques, I launched this company called YAP Media last year, and we're already about to hit $2 million in revenue.

Donald Miller: [00:16:08] That's amazing. Congratulations. 

Hala Taha: [00:16:09] And I have thank you. I have 40 employees and our demand is so huge. We have a waitlist of clients, like people just want it. And then I realized that a lot of the things that you say we did by accident. Like it just happened naturally. 

Donald Miller: [00:16:23] We run into that a lot and here's the thing.

We go into companies that you are making two, 300 million and they don't understand why. And sometimes we just go in and explain you actually don't need to learn anything from us, but let me tell you what you've already done. You've already treated the customer as the hero you've already gotten past yourself.

You lose sleep over their failures. You love them more than you love yourself. And when that starts happening, companies grow. 

Hala Taha: [00:16:49] It's been really cool, like looking at your stuff and then being like, oh yeah, we do that. We do that. So let's talk about story loops. Cause I know that you say that's the foundation of a story and we have to open and close story loops.

So [00:17:00] I'd love for you to explain that. Tell us about that and how we can use that in our story. 

Donald Miller: [00:17:05] Yeah. So the way of story hooks you is it opens and closes story loops. Let's go back to Jason Bourne, cause we've probably all seen at least one of the 53 franchise movies that they've made about that.

Jason Bourne wants to know who he is. That's a story loop. And so we're going to open the story loop of who is Jason Bourne. What's his real identity? Where this guy come from? We're not going to close that by the way until the end of the movie, because the second we close it, the movie's over.

So let's just call that the main story loop. Within the main story loop, though, we have to have smaller story loops that open and close in order to drive the narrative toward the climactic scene. So Jason Bourne wants to know who he is, but we're not going to tell you to tell the climactic scene at the end, but we're going to put them in a hotel room.

And all of a sudden bullets are going to fly through the hotel room door and he's got to get out of the room. So we've opened a story loop. How's Jason Bourne going to get out of it. And he jumps out a window and he lands on a motorcycle. We can close the story loop. He is now out of the room. Now we open another one when two other [00:18:00] motorcycles show up behind them and they're chasing him.

And he's now he's in a motorcycle chase. So we opened that. We're going to close it when, he whatever drives his motorcycle into the river and make some things key drown, but he didn't really drown. He really is hiding under a tire or something like that. And then he gets out of the river, that's closed storyline.

Then he runs and hides in a farm house where he meets another spy who happens to be an attractive woman and there's chemistry between them. So now we opened the love story loop, and you keep opening and closing these story loops all the way through the narrative until you finally close the main story loop.

And so what we do is we help businesses figure out how to structure their own narrative in the same way. What is the big story loop that you're opening, that people can only close if they buy your product. And then inside of that story loop, what is this email sales letter? Opening and closing, is it a bonus that's going away?

Is it, what is it, your sales reps, how do your sales reps open a story loop over a conversation at launch that can only be closed if people buy your product? You're [00:19:00] constantly opening and closing story loops. The opening and closing of story loops is the only thing that actually motivates human behavior.

For instance, hunger is a story loop. Launch closes it, feeling lazy as a story loop, getting out of bed, closes it. Everything is driven by the opening and closing of story loops. So if everybody on your team knows how to open a narrative story loop, they know how to motivate human behavior.

That's why it's so important to be a good storyteller if you want to win in the world today. 

Hala Taha: [00:19:29] So let's talk about problems because I know that if you don't have a problem, That you're selling you, you really don't have a business. And once you solve that problem for good you're out of business.

So talk about how you may need to continue to solve our customer's problem or else they won't be our customer anymore because there's no problem. 

Donald Miller: [00:19:48] Yeah, they definitely won't be your customer anymore. The only reason people open their wallets and spend money is to solve a problem. The only reason they call your sales rep back is to solve a problem.

The only reason they go to your [00:20:00] website is to solve a problem. The only reason they gave you their email address, so they can get a free lead generator. If you will, is to solve a problem, that's it. If they don't sense that you can help them solve a problem, they will not part with their money. Because again, the opening of the story loop, which is a problem is the only thing that motivates human behavior.

So what I always say is own a problem. What problem do you own? What problem does every product in your company own? What problem does each division own? Then you really want to repeat with words that we solve this problem over and over and over and over. That's the only way to build a brand.

If I told you a story that had no problem in it, you really, it wouldn't make any sense. If I said a buddy of mine got a call from some friends he lives in LA and they said, Hey, come down to the beach and play volleyball. We're going to play volleyball. Yeah, he goes down. He sees them as he's walking down the beach, he plays volleyball.

The games in a tie. Somebody says, they're hungry for lunch. He said, yeah. It's Tuesday is taco. Tuesday is a taco truck across the street. Let's get some tacos. Yeah. I need some talk at some point, you're going to stop listening to [00:21:00] this story because there's no problem. Everything is just going his way. But if we said, Hey, my buddy got a call and said, come down to the beach, play volleyball.

He's walking down to the beach and an earthquake hits. And now he's down on all four and he's looking down at the beach and the beach opens up and half his friends fall into the hole in the beach. Now, we've got a story. How is he going to get him out of the hole? Who's going to live? How's he going to get through this?

The, all those, that's how a movie works. It's problem. After problem. After problem, the business tip for us here for everybody listening is when you stop talking about your customer's problems, they stop giving you money and you have to talk, but you have to know what problem you solve, and you have to talk about it over and over.

They're the hero in the story, trying to solve a problem. You're the guide who has already solved that problem and can help them come to a resolution themselves. That's how we need to think of our roles as young professionals. 

Hala Taha: [00:21:53] Let's stick on that. Let's stick on the role of hero and guide before I have you walk through all seven steps.

Cause I definitely want my listeners to [00:22:00] hear all seven steps. So from my understanding. The business is the guide. The hero is the customer, but then I'm curious, like so many brands have a face, right? Even young and profiting. I'm the face of YAP Media, young and profiting. So where does the CEO the face of the brand sit in all of this? 

Donald Miller: [00:22:20] Your brand can have a face or it doesn't have to.

There's no difference. It's not a negative. If you do. I happen to be the face of my brand. You're the face of your brand, but what the face of the brand needs to be as a guide, you need to be known as a guide. And there are two things that a guide does inside of a story to become the guide. If you will the guide needs to express or demonstrate empathy and really how that's just compassion.

The guide needs to open their heart and say, It hurts me that my customers are dealing with this. It hurts me that young professionals don't know how to move up in their career. And quite honestly, college doesn't teach them [00:23:00] and they paid a bunch of money and they're getting more out of your podcast than they are out of Harvard business.

I pretty much believe that. And so that's not right. And as soon as you have a compassion for them, you can. The first step in becoming the guide. The second is you have to actually demonstrate competency or authority. You have to know what you're doing, and you have to be able to say, look, here's a path that you can take as a young professional to succeed in life.

And that path has to work. You've got to know what you're doing, but when we meet somebody who is compassionate about our struggle, but they can also turn around and say, I can get you out of this and I know how to get you out. And I have tools that will help you no longer struggle with this. And it's worked for thousands of other people and it will work for you.

That's the exact person that every hero is looking for. What's fascinating is that heroes are actually not looking for other heroes. So then we come in and we say, I'm trying to build a brand and it's [00:24:00] going really great. My grandfather started it and I've got capital, private equity is helping me out.

And we're going to try everybody hears you talking. And they say this just sounds like another hero. Let me give you an example. Let's say you go to a cocktail party and you meet two people. They do the exact same thing. They have the exact same business. They charge the exact same amount of money and they have the exact same quality product.

Okay. So you go to the first one, you say, what do you do? And they say I'm an at-home chef. I come to your house and I cook. And they said, oh, that's fascinating. Where'd you go to school? So I went to culinary school in in New York and then I studied in France for a year. And, oh, you're kidding.

You were in France. Were you in Paris? Yes. I was actually in Paris. Wow. When my wife and I were going to the French open. Yeah. You like tennis. You're just having a conversation, but let's say you go to second person. You say, what do you do? And they say you know how most families don't eat together anymore.

And when they don't eat healthy. I'm an at-home chef. I come to your house and I cook so that you and your family consider on the dinner table. Stress-free have a delightful conversation. And by the way, when you're done eating [00:25:00] you, you don't have to feel guilty. Cause the food I eat is actually very good for you.

I really bring families together around a table and I take away the stress of having to figure out what's for dinner tonight. Who's going to do more business? The person who told you, they went to chef school in France, or the person who offered to solve a problem?

Hala Taha: [00:25:17] The person who offered to solve a problem. And also it goes to the golden rule of friendship, which is people want to hear about themselves.

People want to talk about themselves. They don't want to hear about you. 

Donald Miller: [00:25:28] And  I say this, how I think you're right. I will add one thing to the golden rule of friendship. People want to talk about themselves and think about themselves first. And then when you give them the opportunity to do that, they suddenly become curious about you.

And in other words, what you really want, which is to talk about yourself, you can't have right away, because as soon as you, you make that dinner and bring that family together and they go to bed that night going my gosh, this is the that's the best 200 bucks we've ever spent as a family. I wonder what, how a [00:26:00] story is.

And the next time you were over there sitting there in the kitchen early, and they're going, okay, tell us about yourself. How did you learn to make a sauce like this? And you say my mom actually taught me to make this sauce and and they're like, tell us about your mom. Suddenly they're dying to know about you.

And the reason they're dying to know about you is because they finally met a guide who can help them solve a problem, and who was more interested in solving their problem than in sharing their own story, the rule is if you're healthy, and you're strong. You think about others, but if you're hurt and you're wounded, you think about yourself because you're in pain.

It's a natural thing to do. It's not, there's nothing wrong with it, but once we get healthy and we've got some wins under our belt and we're strong, I'm going to die in 30, 40 years. I don't have time to sit and think about myself. I want to think about other people, and I want to leave a legacy in the hearts of the people around me, that's who we're looking for.

And the sooner and earlier we can reach that kind of maturity. And again, you can't fake it, it doesn't work. You're going to get found out. [00:27:00] But if you can really get outside of yourself for a minute and think about the people around you, you're going to become the leader that people really enjoy interacting with.

Hala Taha: [00:27:07] I think that's so powerful. So let's get into the seven steps. I'd love for you to walk us through the seven steps. I might pause and ask for an example or something, but I'll just let you take the floor and give us these seven steps. We're all about actionable advice. So we love this stuff. 

Donald Miller: [00:27:22] These are the seven things that happen in every story.

And they, it, because they happen to every story, we know it's a formula and we know it's a formula that works. This formula is going to get people's attention and cause them to pause and pay attention to you as a leader or you as a brand. The first thing that happens, there's a character that character wants something and have to want something specific.

They can't want too many things and they can't want something elusive. They have to want something. They want to marry the woman. They want to win the championship. They want to disarm the bomb. They want to find their way back home, whatever the movie is about something it's about a girl or a guy who wants something.

And if you add too many things, it's not going to work. So [00:28:00] that's the rule. What that means is we need to identify something our characters want our customers. What do they want? I own a company called Business Made Simple. We do small business coaching. I don't actually coach you, but we certify coaches who can coach you.

So we know our customer wants to be coached. And then the next thing that has to happen is there has to be a problem. And I already talked about this in this interview. The problem has to be very frustrating and it's causing people to want coaching or whatever. They feel like they're spinning their wheels.

They feel like they can't they don't know how to scale up. They feel like business is a mystery, whatever it is, but we need to identify that problem and talk about it because it's going to cause them to want the very thing that we offer. And then we are able to position ourselves in the story as the guide.

And we're able to do that by saying business should not be like a mystery to you. It should be very simple. It, you should look at a business and be able to understand what's wrong with it within five minutes, there should be no mystery. Cause there isn't [00:29:00] and I there's no mystery in my business and I can teach you easily.

Have there could be no mystery in yours. You shouldn't be struggling like that. That's me practicing empathy and demonstrating competency. I've positioned myself as a guide. Then step four, if you want to give a plan. And I like personally, three step plans. So Hala in order to work with you, step one, is this step two, is this step three?

Is this? And what we find is that when we give people a path to follow, they actually take the path. But if we ask them to jump across the creek, they don't do it because they're afraid they might get wet. So you want to give them a three-step plan and then a  really strong, direct call to action.

Subscribe to our platform today, hire one of our coaches today. They need to be very specific calls to action that people can take in order to solve their problems. And then there's two more. One is success, and one is failure. We have to give people a vision of what their life can look like if they do take action.

And also a vision [00:30:00] for what their life is going to look like if they don't, because if there's not stakes in the story that is of nothing can be won or lost. Based on whether or not I do business with you, nobody will do business with you. I'm only doing business with you to achieve something good and keep away from a negative consequence.

But as a business, if we've not spelled out what the something good is and what the negative consequences I wouldn't expect anybody to do business with us. Now. What's interesting about those seven steps that I just identified is those are the seven steps that exist in every movie that you're going to watch.

If you end up back at the theater this summer post COVID pray that we all get to go back to the theater. It'll be super fun. Then you're going to see those seven steps in every movie. And when you really look at a very good brand, a brand that's making millions and hundreds of millions of dollars, you will see those seven steps and those seven pieces of communication in everything that they say.

And in my opinion, those soundbites that do you derive from those seven steps of story are the soundbites that you want to repeat over and over in your messaging [00:31:00] and your marketing. That is how you make the customer, the hero. And that is how you invite customers into a story. 

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So that's all really helpful. I guess the one question that I have is do all seven elements need to be in every asset. So okay. So how do we do it? Like, how do we know? Do people need to get it in order? Like how does that work? 

Donald Miller: [00:36:46] You don't need it in order, really what those seven steps are. If you will, they're like chords on a guitar.

Now, if you know those seven chords, do you have to use all seven of them in every song? No, you can use three, you can use one, [00:37:00] if you're Tracy Chapman, you can use to and write incredible songs, so there's, the seven chords are science. What you're asking question your, the question you're asking is how do you create art?

And I would say you use those seven chords and everything else is subjective. So should your tagline be the problem? It can be, there's not a formula for it, but I will say as soon as you use a chord, that isn't a real chord. Everybody in the audience is going to know it because it's going to sound terrible.

And those are the only seven chords. There are no others. And as long as you're communicating on a, in a Facebook ad, in a podcast intro, and if you're all, as long as you're communicating something from those seven chords you're going to connect with the audience. But no, they don't all have to be there and they don't have to be in a specific.

Hala Taha: [00:37:44] Great. Okay. So then I guess the other question that I have is call to actions. I know that they're super important. They need to be strong. Can you give us an example of a good call to action versus a passive one and how can we have strong call to [00:38:00] actions? 

Donald Miller: [00:38:00] Yeah. So a good call to action is schedule an appointment or buy now or call a sales rep.

Hala Taha: [00:38:07] It's a very action oriented.

Donald Miller: [00:38:09] It's action oriented, but it's also it's the equivalent Hala. I'm, I've been married for eight years. So I, but I remember when I was dating, I would say things like, Hey, do you want to get coffee some time or would you like to correct? I would make it very elusive as to whether or not I was asking this girl out and it never worked.

It was always, they were always like, I don't know, you're making it awkward. I, and as soon as I learned to say, Hey, I've really enjoyed talking to. Can I take you on a date sometime? Can I buy you dinner? Yes. Many girls would say, actually, no, I'm seeing somebody or Don that is so sweet.

I don't think I'm up for dating right now. It was always very clear. And I think even though I would get rejected that there were so many girls who'd say yes, I would love to go on a date with you because everything was clear. And I think that's what we want to do with our customers. We want to [00:39:00] be able to say, look in no uncertain terms, I'm looking for a financial transaction that solves your problem.

You've got a leaky roof. I've got stuff to put on your roof. So it doesn't leak for 500 bucks. I could come to your house Thursday and do it. What we're not doing is giving somebody something to accept or reject. So calls to action are incredibly important. Now passive aggressive calls to action are things on our website.

Let's say things like learn more or get started. Those are actually passive aggressive calls to action. And sometimes people want to learn more, but basically they don't actually know where you want this relationship to go. And one reality that's going to be very uncomfortable for almost everybody listening to hear is that business relationships are by nature, transactional relationships.

It is about them giving you money in exchange for the solution to a problem. That's what it's about. Therefore, if you position your business as being friends with your customer, I think your being an authentic. [00:40:00] Friendship can come from a transactional relationship. But often does many of my clients are very good friends of mine now.

But it started by being authentic and authenticity is this is a business and I have a solution to your problem and I'm going to be professional and I'm going to be kind, but I'm not going to act like we're more intimate than we actually are. Now, if we become friends down the road, then that authentically can happen.

And I think businesses that say, look, we love our customers and we just want to be friends. And it's all about relationship. I think they're being incredibly inauthentic and people can smell it out and I've never once seen it work. 

Hala Taha: [00:40:35] I think that's super interesting. Let's talk about pricing. Is there a point in the story where we give our pricing?

I know you said we don't have to do it in order, but is there something with pricing and storytelling that we should be aware of? 

Donald Miller: [00:40:48] Just some principles that I've learned doing business over the years? The main principle is that people do not respect things they don't pay for. It's very important as young business professionals that we understand

[00:41:00] that almost everybody listening to this podcast is underpricing their materials that you're not asking enough for it. And when you don't ask enough for it, people don't respect it. It was very hard. Cause I'm by nature. How I'm a people pleaser. I want to be liked by people. I like people, and I just don't like charging.

I don't like charging money for things. And I realized recently, you know what you're doing, Don is you're using not charging people money as a control mechanism, because if you give them something very valuable and they don't pay for it, You have leverage over them and you now control them in some way.

They don't, let's not pretend you're being generous. And I thought, gosh, that was really convicting. And so these days I charge, I've always charged, I've got 30 employees, I have to charge, but I don't feel bad about charging. I feel good about it. So that's the main thing is that the hero needs to put skin in the game.

And if you aren't charging, you're letting them take further and further steps without putting skin in the game. I've had thousands [00:42:00] of people come to Nashville, Tennessee for my workshops and probably have let I know 10 15 of them in for free. These are free friends, family members those 10 or 15, it's a really good workshop.

And only three or four of them have looked at their phone or left for an hour at a time or taken long bathroom breaks or didn't get into a small group when they were supposed to every person who disengaged from my workshop, every single one of them got in for free. Everybody who paid money. They had skin in the game and they got more out of it.

And we need to remember that about our products.

Hala Taha: [00:42:36] I think that's so true. I remember starting businesses when I was younger and not charging enough for them. And then, you learn your lesson quick to your point. And also the people who pay less sometimes tend to be the most difficult customers.

Donald Miller: [00:42:50] That's right. I guarantee if you have a $20 product, you're gonna have a lot of customer service problems. If you have a $20,000 product nobody's going to call you, 

Hala Taha: [00:42:58] it's very strange how that works. 

Donald Miller: [00:42:59] It's very [00:43:00] strange. 

Hala Taha: [00:43:00] Let's get a real life example of these seven sound bites. Give us maybe Pantene,

Chick-fil-A like walk us through one of the companies you've worked with or any company and what their seven sound soundbites are like.

Donald Miller: [00:43:12] Right now the company, I look at my left and there's a big white board over here, Berkshire Hathaway home services. So Berkshire Hathaway has 51,000 real estate agents all over the world and we are helping them transform so that they are the guides and the customer is the hero.

So one of the things we do is we say, okay you need to do a little intake. If somebody is looking for a home, one of the first questions that you want to ask, or you want to find out in the intake interview, what problem are you trying to solve? And so if Nancy, our homeowner is absolutely sick of only having one sink in the master bathroom, you, she shares the sink with her husband.

Not only that they have kids who are running in and out of there, it's one sink and it's two clogged. I'm listening to Nancy and I'm going okay. I know Nancy is interested in a good mortgage rates. She's interested in being a [00:44:00] good part of town. I think what she's really interested in is two sinks in that stinking bathroom.

That's what she's interested in. And then I hear the story of Greg. Greg is Nancy's husband and he got up at three in the morning one night realized that he let the dog out to use the bathroom, but the dog didn't come back and they don't have a backyard fence. And he got. 10 degrees and in his pajamas and a flashlight looking for that dog and finally found them three houses over and brought the dog back.

So Greg needs a fence. Now I know what kind of house to sell Nancy and Greg two sinks and a fence is what we're looking for. But really, so now I know the problem they're trying to solve. I positioned myself as a guide and I'm just going to say to them, Nancy, if you find a house with two sinks, if I can find a house with two sinks, I think we solve your problem, Greg.

I think, I want to empathize. You should not have to deal with one sink. Nancy that is a crime. Nobody should have to deal with one sink, especially with a husband, as big as Greg. He's going to, he's like a bear in here, right? And then Greg, you should not be walking [00:45:00] around at two in the morning and your pajamas.

You need a fence. You're going to love having a fence. I want to be able to really help them understand I have heard your problem. It is now my problem, and I'm going to solve that problem. And when they hear that, rather than. I ignore their problems. And I just think their problems are everybody else's they want a good mortgage rate and they want to be in a good school district.

But there's hearing me say is you're not listening. And in order to be guides, we've got to be really good listeners. So I've identified what they want. I've identified what their problems are. I positioned myself as the guide and I say, look, here's how I'd like to do this. Every first Saturday of the month, I'd like to get out and look at six homes and we're going to find a home that's right for you.

When we find a home that's right for you. We're going to have the paperwork ready and we're going to be able to make an offer very quickly on that home and steal it from anybody else. And number three is I'm going to hand you the keys to that home. It's a three-step process. Nancy, Greg, it's actually very easy to buy a [00:46:00] house.

As long as you let me guide you. And then I say, do you want to work with me as a real estate agent? I want to be the exclusive person that finds you a home. That's my call to action. And when they say yes, I say, great. You're not going to have a home with one sink. You're not going to have a home without a fence.

And I think in about six weeks, we're going to be standing in a beautiful home. That's the home of your dreams is going to have two sinks and a fence. I promise you that what I do, I just give them a vision for what their life is not going to look like. And I gave them a vision of what their life will look like, all seven steps in one, five minute conversation, and now I've invited them into a story.

Now there's one more thing that I want to do after they buy the home. And a real estate agent probably will never see them. I'm actually gonna either. If I, if it was a really nice home, let's say it's a million dollar home. I'm going to call them and I can say, Hey, do you guys mind? If I swing by this coming Saturday, there's absolutely no reason for me to swing by no reason I've got the money.

They can not get me any more money. I'm going to go by and I'm [00:47:00] going to say, Hey, Greg, Nancy, I just wanted to see your home. See how it was working out for you and make sure everything was great. Can I just say something the way that you guys decided you wanted to go for your dream home and you wanted to treat your family and you wanted to make a good financial investment?

That's the kind of family I like working with. You guys are an exceptional family. Thanks for letting me be part of the story. If you ever need anything, call me that follow up, visit Hala. In a story, the guide comes back into the story and affirms the transformation of the hero. It's what many salespeople fail to get?

They don't do it. That family will now tell 10 times more people about that real estate agent than they would have if he would not have stopped by. It closes the story loop in their mind, and it affirms that they went on a journey and they are now different people than they were at the beginning.

And only the guide can do that. And so we're working with Berkshire Hathaway, 51,000 real estate agents to teach them how to do that. And they're going to, they're going to sell a lot more [00:48:00] homes because of it. 

Hala Taha: [00:48:01] I love that follow-up tip. How can we use that followup tip if it's like a recurring customer?

If it's a, 

Donald Miller: [00:48:07] in a lightweight, it's not as powerful, but it is powerful. Even a follow-up email a week after they buy a digital asset from you have an automated email that goes out and says, listen, here's the kind of people that we find by our products. There are people who are hardworking. There are people who want to get ahead.

There are people who want to provide for families. There are people who see the American dream and they go get it. Not everybody is wired that way. And in fact, we find it's about 5% of the population. And I just want to congratulate you on being in the 5% are actually driving the economy in this country.

And I'm grateful to know you, that's it. You write that email, it's automated and people feel affirmed and you mean it. It's not it's, that's the other thing is you got to mean it. And, we really do have to enter there. So these aren't tactics on how to manipulate people, they're tactics on how to guide somebody into a story.

Hala Taha: [00:48:55] So talk to us about how we can then what is the importance of customer [00:49:00] testimonials, customer references? How should we integrate those stories into our brand? And why are they so powerful? 

Donald Miller: [00:49:07] You want to make sure that your customer testimonials are affirming. One of the seven plot points in the story.

So a customer needs to say, I had this problem, but Hala helped me solve it. My life was going in the wrong direction, but, she helped me experience this scene in my life. That was really beautiful. Even your customer testimonials, what you're actually listening for are the seven elements of story.

And you, and the other thing rule about customer testimonials. You want them to be short. People scan them and here's another tip. Write them for the customer. They're not writers. So if they send you a testimonial, shorten it, clean it up, send it back to them and say, do you approve this? Is this essentially how you feel about the product?

Yes. Would you mind if I put your name to this and because they're not writers, better probably how to capture what they're trying to say than they do themselves. 

Hala Taha: [00:49:58] Okay. So I want to [00:50:00] talk about other elements to a brand aside from the storytelling. So there's a brand name itself, there's the one-liner or the tagline.

And there's a mission statement. There's probably other items that I'm not listing up. I would love to get your guidance on these types of items. 

Donald Miller: [00:50:15] Again, everything should come out of the seven elements. Let me just give you this. When I go to your website, what I need your website to do is pass what I call the grunt test.

So the grunt test is if I take a laptop and I put it in your lap and I open it up to your website, I need to be able to answer three questions within eight seconds. Those questions are, what do you offer? How will it make my life better? And what do I need to do to buy. What do you offer? How will it make my life better?

And what do I need to do to buy it? If I go to your website and above the fold, cannot answer those three questions. I think you're confusing everybody about what you do and what you sell and the same with your tagline and your mission statement. Mission statements are terrible. They're [00:51:00] just awful.

Here's a great formula for our mission statement. We will accomplish X by X because of X. Just keep it really short. We're going to have 250,000 people in our platform by January of 2025, because everybody deserves access to a life changing business education. That's a good mission statement. What most mission statements don't have is a mission.

They're just, there's no mission. It's we're going to increase shareholder value by providing excellent service. It's it's bitten by lawyers. It's terrible. And nobody can get behind it or no, nobody knows what to do after they read the mission. So you would think if you read a mission statement, you would know what to do after you read it.

But most mission statements you read it. It's I have no idea how to behave or what to do, or any of this based on this mission statement. So the clarity is the key clarity.

Hala Taha: [00:51:47] And then any tips on naming your brand. Does the name really matter? 

Donald Miller: [00:51:51] Where I do, but it does matter. I think if you name, let me give you example, I met a guy recently and I bought some kitchen knives [00:52:00] from him.

He has a boutique kitchen knife making store, if you will, it's not a story. He just sells them online. And I bought a chef's knife and I bought a paring knife and I bought, I'm trying to get better in the kitchen and his knife company is called Baby Knives, literally baby knives. And I said, okay, why?

These are beautiful knives. They're not for babies. Why is your knife company called baby knives? And he said my nickname when I was a little kid was baby. And so I wanted the name to reflect, me. And so I called it baby knife. I was just said, gosh, as a, it's so confusing because babies don't buy knives and we try to keep knives away from our babies.

Cause I know, it was my name and I was kidding. What you're telling me is you named your company something that has to be explained. The only problem is you're not around to explain it to the millions of people you want to find out about your company. And so what I told him is what I'll tell everybody, listening, if he would have called it boutique knives or.

He lives out in wilderness knives, or, whatever, [00:53:00] nobody would have been confused. At least he got the word knives in the company name that's good because he sells knife. But what I told him was you're going to have to spend a lot more money and work a lot harder to build this brand because you call the baby knives.

It doesn't mean it's not going to be successful. Uber is successful. And they don't say on demand, taxi services is not the name of their company, but they had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. And they had to make life very easy in order for it to grow. It could have grown faster, so we need to be aware of that. Yes. You can have a company name that is poetic and sounds beautiful, but you're going to have to work really hard in order to build it. Now, once it's built and you become a household name, you problem solve. It's fine. So I think the question is business made simple is the name of my company.

What do you think we do? It's not a, it's not Acme curriculum company. That's not what we call ourselves. We call us [00:54:00] those Business Made Simple because we make business simple. You work with young professionals, it's in the name, so I like names that are, that say what you do. And if you don't have that, then what you want is a name that is elusive and beautiful, whatever you want it to be.

And a tagline that says what you do, baby knives, the best kitchen knives in the world. Okay. That helps, it helps a great deal. So the idea is what we teach our people when we're training them is you want to constantly be asking yourself, how is it that I could be misunderstood? And if it's possible that you can be misunderstood, you want to fix that because

it's like Swiss cheese and you got an army marching across the Swiss cheese, everything, every way, you're misunderstood as a giant hole that some of your customers are going to fall into before they get to the cash register. 

Hala Taha: [00:54:52] Okay. Last question on storytelling, and then we'll give a teaser to your Business Made Simple book, which is one of your more recent books.

So social media, [00:55:00] do you have any formulas for telling a good story in your social media posts? 

Donald Miller: [00:55:04] Yeah. There's one thing that I really love. There's a lot of things you can do with social media. But the one thing that I really love that works over and over is images and stories of people who have succeeded after using your product.

So if you just, my social media has pictures of my dog, pictures of my wife. It's terrible example, but it's my personal social media. Business Made Simple has its own social media instead of StoryBrand my other two companies. But really what you want to do is show images. If you're a real estate agent, I would have couples standing in front of their dream home.

That would be my exclusive social media feed. Picture after picture, because what I'm doing is I'm showing the climactic scene in somebody else's story, that you can also experience yourself. And that's what you want to do is here's where I take people. Here's where I take people. Here's where I take people.

Here's where I take people. Here's where I take people over and over in your social media until it's just branded. And the mind of everybody who's following you. [00:56:00] This is where I take people. This is what their life looks like after they finished it, using my product. 

Hala Taha: [00:56:04] So show the transformation. 

Donald Miller: [00:56:05] Show the trends, show the end of it.

Show the end of the story. 

Hala Taha: [00:56:08] I love that. Okay. So let's talk about your book Business Made Simple. You have a chapter that's called how a business really works and how to keep it from crashing and you compare business to an airplane. So I'd love for you. If you remember that analogy to give that analogy and help us understand, and hopefully.

Inspire people to go grab your book. 

Yeah. 

Donald Miller: [00:56:28] Yeah. The way I grew my business and where we grew in about five years to about 20 million and we have a 64% profit margin. So it's just an insane business. I'm CA yeah, I can't believe the kid who grew up not paying attention in school. Got, got here, but I'm grateful.

But the way I did it was I kept thinking about business, like an airplane. And what I mean by that is an airplane really has six fundamental parts. There's the, some airplanes do there's the cockpit and that's where the leadership sits and the leadership needs to know where we're [00:57:00] going. And then you want to reverse engineer.

How much gas you need to get there. Who should be on board? How much food should be on the plane? You reverse engineer everything based on where you're going. So the number one job of a leadership team is to know where we're going. Then your right engine is your marketing. It provides thrust. It gets the airplane off the ground.

It moves the airplane forward. Your left engine is your sales. And what you want to do is you want your marketing and your sales to combine. And they have one goal that is to make the customer the hero of the story. That's the goal of the marketing and sales. And you do that in the thrust increases in the airplane.

Then you have the wings of the airplane. Those are your products and your products need to be in demand. And they also need to be very profitable. And at the more profitable, your products are the bigger your wings on the airplane are. And the greater lift you're going to get. So you want to always be analyzing your products and don't be launching products that don't have that have thin razor profit margins.

You're going to have to do too much volume. What that means is you're right into your [00:58:00] left and it's going to have to work harder. The less profitable your products are to get that plane off the ground. Okay. And then your overhead is your body of the airplane. So you want to keep your overhead small, I just heard a story yesterday.

I was with some friends and one of the companies that a friend of mine worked for, went out of work out of business. We were at a birthday party here at my house. We do a birthday party for friends. She ordered a milk bar cake. Hala have you ever had a milk bar cake? 

Hala Taha: [00:58:26] No.

Donald Miller: [00:58:26] You need to go order a milk bar cake tonight.

It is the best cake. It's the best cake you'll ever eat. It's astounding. This, these cakes are unbelievable. Anyway, they're expensive. And the company that she worked for would buy and ship a milk bar cake to every employee on their birthday. And I literally said that's a great way to go out of business because all it does is add money to overhead.

It's a very nice thing to do, but it makes the body of the airplane huge because the money that went into buying those thousands of bill park cakes did not go into [00:59:00] marketing and did not go into sales. They went into the overhead. So you just made an airplane huge. And of course, if you're buying cakes for everybody, you're buying all sorts of stuff that has nothing to do with making money.

And I love acknowledging birthdays, but you're buying milk bar cakes and I don't know where you're getting the money for that. And then, that's the overhead has to be lean. And then the last part of the airplane, the sixth part of the airplane is your fuel tank and your fuel tank is your cashflow.

And you always need an enormous amount of cash in the bank. In case something bad happens. That's how companies go under. They don't have enough cash to pay bills. And suddenly the IRS comes and says, we need X amount of dollars and payroll is due. And when all that happens at the same time, the airplane crashes, I hear you sighing.

You've been there. 

Hala Taha: [00:59:49] Yeah. Just thinking I only have two months worth. Is that enough? 

Donald Miller: [00:59:54] It's close. You actually just need about five. Yeah. You need about five and in the book [01:00:00] let's see if you go to businessmadesimple.com. I have a course called how to grow a business and I teach you in that course.

I teach the whole thing sitting in front of a triple seven, a 7 77. And I walk around the airplane. I show you the different parts of the airplane and say here's how business works. But when it gets to cashflow, I tell you why you need five checking accounts. And I tell you how to use them. You only want five checking account.

And if you can move money in and out of these accounts, the way I teach you, you will never run out of money. You'll always have enough money for taxes. You'll always have enough money for your personally. You'll always have enough money to pay bills. If you just let the if, and one of the rules is you want in a, what I call the profit account, you want five months worth of overhead, and that allows you to circle the airplane or the, a circle the airport for five months before you land.

If there's an emergency, you have plenty of time. And when COVID hit, we didn't panic. We had five months to figure it out. It took us two weeks to figure it out and we ended up growing the [01:01:00] business by 30% during COVID. Cause we were able, we had the time and the luxury of peace to sit down and say, how do we serve our customers now that everybody's needs have changed.

And we created some new products that did that, I would have panicked if I didn't have money in the bank. Two months, I'd say, Hala you are  doing pretty good. Yeah. You just want to get up to five. 

Hala Taha: [01:01:18] Yeah, we have some savings today. I, my business partner was talking about profit distributions and I was like, no, to save more money.

Donald Miller: [01:01:24] No, you are right. Tell your business partner. You are right. Profit distributions, you have to be very careful with profit distributions because they will bloat. They don't blow your overhead because it's profit distributions, but they negatively affect your cashflow. What I would do is do the equivalent of profit distributions, but I would make commissions on sales and I would make sure that anybody who's getting those commissions is directly connected somehow to that.

In other words, everybody's going to be paid based on what they sell, or if they're in a team that helps sale or helps create businesses, have to create product and sell product. So that's [01:02:00] how, I did profit distributions and I regret it. I did it with only a few people. What I would do going back is I would actually say no, we're going to give them the same amount of money.

An opportunity to be wealthy, but it's going to be connected directly to the products that they are directly involved in selling. And then what you're doing then is you're taking profit distributions, which contribute to the loss of cashflow. You're putting them into the right and left engine. You're increasing thrust in the company and that's going to mean more money forever.

Hala Taha: [01:02:28] I think that I need to either get a consult with you or take your course or do something. Cause I feel like you could probably help me with a lot of questions I have on my own business. So really cool stuff. The last question I ask all my guests, Donald is what is your secret to profiting in life? 

Donald Miller: [01:02:42] Secret to profiting in life is understanding for me personally, that life is more about experiencing meaning than it is about being successful.

And I take Viktor Frankl's advice when he talks about experiencing meaning it's a, he has a three-part formula. The [01:03:00] first is a project that you work on that hopefully is sacrificial and helps other people, an optimistic or redemptive perspective on all challenges that you face even tragedies and share your life with others.

And yeah, you do those three things and it's a rich life. I've read Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning 10 years ago. And I, there's been tragic days.  Days when I've cried myself to sleep, but friend of mine took his life, just really hard stuff, but there's not been a single day when I haven't woken up and felt a deep sense that I was supposed to be here.

And I was here for a reason and it's made all the difference. So to me, that's about it. 

Hala Taha: [01:03:40] Cool. And where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that you do? 

Donald Miller: [01:03:44] We had a lot of marketing advice and one of the best things I did, I put out a free lead generator and it's just three fantastic videos.

And it's at 5minutemarketingmakeover.com. You can either spell it out or use the number, but 5minutemarketingmakeover.com [01:04:00] will help you figure out how to talk about your company. 

Hala Taha: [01:04:02] Awesome. I can't wait to have you back on. I feel like there's so many other topics that we could dive into in terms of general.

Yeah. I would love to have you here on Clubhouse, so let's make it happen again. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Donald Miller: [01:04:13] Thanks, Hala. Appreciate it. 

Hala Taha: [01:04:15] Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting podcast. If you haven't subscribed to the podcast yet, make sure you do so and drop us a five star review while you're at it.

Donald was absolutely brilliant. I love this conversation and more than the conversation itself, I love the topic of storytelling and I'm so happy that today was an action packed conversation that had no fluff. It was totally something that we could take and start implementing today when it comes to better brand messaging for our businesses. And stories are so interesting to me because they are the most powerful tool in the universe to convince the human brain to buy. Research shows that messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 [01:05:00] times more memorable than just facts.

Stories inspire. Stories motivate. They help build familiarity and trust and leading with a story in a pitch is almost always more likely to lead to a yes. So there's two key things I want to talk about when it comes to storytelling. There's two things I want you to remember from this episode. Number one, when it comes to storytelling, less is more, as Donald said, if you confuse you lose.

So be sure to clarify your message. Number two, when you're storytelling, you want the customer to be the hero. As Donald said, when we position our customer as the hero and ourselves, as the guide, we will be recognized as a sought after character to help them along their journey. In other words, your audience is Luke Skywalker and you get to be Yoda.

It's a small, but very powerful shift. Historically businesses have made their marketing all about them. It's their story, their [01:06:00] founder's story, their qualification, their awesomeness. This, the StoryBrand framework really changes all of that. It flips it on its head and it puts the potential customer at the center of the marketing experience.

The best brands are guides that help customers find success. That's the type of messaging that customers can resonate with and trust. So I really hope you leave this episode, feeling more confident with your business storytelling, and I encourage you to incorporate storytelling into every single communication opportunity and to keep practicing, because storytelling is described as an art for a reason.

They always say the art  of storytelling and that's because it is like an art, it requires creativity, vision,  skill, practice. Storytelling isn't something you can just grasp in one sitting or one podcast you've really have to practice. So just get started. Start with one social post that incorporates business storytelling.

One email, one web page just get started. And if you haven't subscribed to Young And Profiting podcast yet, please do so you [01:07:00] can be alerted every time we drop a new episode, we put out content twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. So I hope you guys are enjoying our content. And if you haven't written us a five-star review yet, make sure you do that.

You can write us a review on Apple, Castbox, Podcast Republic, wherever you listen to the show reviews act as social proof. And they also largely impact our podcast rankings. I love to shout out people who drop us a review. This week, shout out, goes to poetic girl from Apple podcasts. She says, amazing! Hala is a true professional.

The amount of work that goes behind every single episode is unmatched. Each episode offers tremendous value and insights to improving the quality of your life and mindset. Wow. Thank you so much. Poetic girl. I wish I knew your real name, but it's alright. Thank you so much for the review. I love it. When people drop us feedback, it keeps us going.

It's one of the best ways to thank us here at Young And Profiting podcast. So again, make sure you guys drop us a review. If you haven't yet, [01:08:00] especially on Apple podcasts, it means the world to us. We are so grateful for our listeners and I love it. When you guys shout us out on social, you can find me on Instagram at Yap with Hala  or LinkedIn, just search my name.

It's Hala Taha, and now I'm on Clubhouse and Greenroom. You can find me at halataha. I love to engage everybody. We're doing live episodes all the time. So make sure you follow me on those social drop in audio channels. Big things to the YAP team as always. This is Hala signing off.