How To Differentiate Yourself With Storytelling

Let’s go back to your childhood for a moment.

Was there a special meal that a special person would always make for you? Maybe it was your grandmother or some other comforting and kind figure in your life. She made that special dish just for you when you came to visit. Maybe it was a delicious lasagna (but feel free to imagine whatever meal is special to you). Think of the smell of it cooking, the look of it on the plate in front of you, and of course the delicious taste and texture as you eat it.

Absolutely delicious, right? But there was an unintended side-effect to that amazing lasagna: grandma has ruined lasagna for you for the rest of your life.

After eating grandma’s lasagna, all other lasagnas seem cheap and hollow. But how? She didn’t use any “secret ingredients” to make hers so much better. It was your emotional connection to your grandmother that made her lasagna the only lasagna you’re willing to eat.

I call this “The Grandma’s Lasagna Effect.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers felt the same way about your product or service that you felt about grandmas lasagna? That’s what we’re going to learn to do in this post.

A proprietary process is like grandma’s lasagna; it’s your “secret recipe” for how you get results for your customer. It’s a narrative for you to communicate the “what” and “how” behind the results you bring people

Why You Should Have A Proprietary Process

It Empowers You

The beauty of having a proprietary process is that it empowers you to talk about your business in a way that’s both clear and thought-provoking. This not only impacts how people receive your message but also how you deliver your message. With this process in place, you draw upon your own story and the deep aspects of who you are. Your story, a deeper purpose behind what you do, your core values. This sense of purpose creates something bigger than yourself and changes how you show up every day. You’re not just trying to make a profit, you’ve got a system to solve a problem and get results for people you care about.


You Will Get More Clients

The magic of a good proprietary process is that it gives your prospects a way to visualize being successful with you. It creates a roadmap to working with you; they have every step outlined for them and understand how each step will serve their goals. Instead of being bogged down in details, they’re imagining themselves experiencing the success and satisfaction of working with you.

Since they have a complete and clear view of what working with you will look like and how you’ll get results for them, they’re much more likely to trust you and work with you.


You Can Charge Higher Prices

The “Grandma’s Lasagna Effect” you create with your process transforms your business from another one among hundreds of competitors to the one and only business that provides what you offer.

This means you don’t have to compete on price anymore. No longer do you need to discount yourself when your client mentions, “I just talked to Jimmy down the street and he said he could do it for half.” Nobody wins in the race to the bottom.

You can finally charge what you’re worth because you have the tool that explains the unique value and experience you bring to the world and that there’s nowhere else they can get it.


It Makes Presenting Easier and More Effective

Let’s face it, when most of us talk about our businesses, we might as well be speaking German. Usually to get to the point where we feel like we’ve “actually explained” what we do requires several minutes of dull details that leave our listener wishing they’d never asked.

Whether you’re talking to someone you met at an event, speaking on stage at the same event, or on a sales call, your proprietary process gives you a tool to talk about what you do in a way that gets people to “lean in,” not “tune out”.


You Will Have A Better Team

A process won’t only change how you interact with customers and your audience, but also how you work with your internal teams.

Your process makes it clear on the unique value you provide and gives more context to your team to see how they fit into that story. When they understand your process and a bigger picture of what you do for clients they

It’s also likely they’ll resonate with the story of your reason “why” behind the process or with “who” you serve with that process. This creates added meaning for them in their work, which leads to more motivation, productivity, and loyalty. A meaningful job that connects with their own “why” means it will be much more difficult for your competitors to try and poach your talent, even if they offer higher pay.

Example Proprietary Processes

Podcast Launch Gameplan By FullCast

The Ultimate Podcast Launch Gameplan™ is FullCast’s strategy for launching a successful podcast.

Launching a podcast can be overwhelming for many people, which either results in:

  • A launch that does not get results.
  • No launch at all, and burnout.

This process simplifies a podcast launch and makes it step-by-step instead of a chaotic sprint. FullCast uses this process as a high-value lead magnet that they offer for free, but it is also their process for a service they offer to their clients. Those who start with the lead magnet get educated and invested in the process, and if they choose to work with FullCast, they’ll already understand what’s going to happen. This means that their sales process is easier.

One Clear Path By The Story Engine

“The One Clear Path To Sales” – A faster way to sell with storytelling:

One Clear Message: Get clear on the message and language your customer needs to hear.

One Clear Lesson: Craft one piece of content that empowers your customer and gets them a “quick win”

One Clear Offer: Align your message and lesson with an offer that gets results for your customers.

Many people overcomplicate the process of selling a product or service online. They often try to add a lot of extra “bells and whistles,” such as:

  • Long books
  • Teaching too much on webinars
  • Telling distracting stories that don’t add value

By following the “One Clear Path To Sales” process, entrepreneurs are able to get results faster for their business by creating an easy and automated system that sells for them.

The Harvest Method By The Story Engine

The Harvest Method is a process to predictably build relationships with peers and influencers using content marketing.

Step 1 – Plow the field – Start small and work your way up – Don’t email Gary Vaynerchuk yet. Start with peers who are at the same level as you in your business. As you build more of a following, then you can aim higher.

Step 2 – Fertilize the soil – Add value before you ask – Find a way to give freely to them before you ask to collaborate.

Step 3 – Plant the seed – Make it easy to say yes – Do your homework first, and approach them with a clearly formed plan for how you want to collaborate.

Step 4 – Harvest and feast – Make sure everybody wins – What you create together should be valuable to their audience, your audience, them and you.

Here’s a video of how I’ve used this process to inside of a talk to tell a story and educate the audience.

The 3 C’s by OfCourse

The team at OfCourse has a 3 step process they follow to build courses that are engaging for the audience get results for the educator.

  • Clarify – Create a plan on how your course fits in with your other products so your audience buys more than just one course.
  • Craft – Leverage the content you’ve already created and arrange it in a way that retrains how your customers see you and are ready to move forward with you as they get educated.
  • Captivate – Examine and update your marketing materials to improve course completion.

The way they lay out their process on their “work with us” page is very powerful. Their copy focuses on how each step benefits their client in both the long and short term.

The Namaste Of Sales By Amira Alvarez

Amira Alvarez helps empower women entrepreneurs to increase their income through better sales. Her process, “The Namaste Of Sales,” reframes sales from “pushy” to “authentic” and “high integrity.” This enables her audience to sell more and charge what they’re worthwhile still feeling aligned with their purpose.

Building Your Own Process

Start With The Specific Results You Get

Most of us focus on “what you do,” with the specific nuts and bolts of how that will work. Your proprietary process focuses on results and what your customer will get out of the process. By focusing on results, you instill confidence in your listener, and they will begin to imagine themselves experiencing the results and benefits you offer.

Starting out, your process and promise should be easily explained in one sentence that goes something like this:

“We do [name of your process], so you can [solve a problem], and get [what you really want].”

Each section should have a clear result that you can promise at the end.

What Does It Take To Get Them There?

Once you’re clear on the big result you get, you need to create a roadmap for how you’ll get them there. This means creating 3 to 5 steps or ingredients to your process. Limiting the number of steps to 3 or so is recommended because it’s easy for people to remember and internalize, but there are plenty of processes out there with many more steps.

Steps – Your process goes in a sequence, and each step builds on the last, leading to the ultimate result you promise.

Ingredients – These do not need to be completed in a sequence. Instead, getting the right balance and mastery over each of the ingredients and combining them will lead to the result you want.

Building steps into your process allows your customer to see a big picture view of how you’ll get the results for them, and it allows them to have more context and meaning for each step in the process.

It can be difficult to decide how many steps or which steps to include in your process. Below is a simple framework for a 3-step process you can use to ensure you’ve got a process that is engaging and gets results.


Step 1 – Onboarding / discovery: Your first step should involve collecting information from your customer or audience. This can take the form of an assessment or discovery session. Assessments or quizzes also make for very good lead magnets, collecting new leads and information on your audience while providing personalized value to your prospects. (For more on figuring out what your prospects want check out A Smarter Way To Create Engaging Customer Avatars)

Step 2 – Build: You take the information you collected in your assessment and start to build a tool or plan based on that information.

Step 3 – Action: With the new tool built, your customer now has what they need to get the result they desire if they take the action necessary to get it.

Connect Each Step Of Your Process To Your Story Or A Metaphor

A proprietary process is scaffolding for your stories. It gives you predictable and relevant opportunities to share your personal stories while discussing your process.

You’ll want a story to connect with the big picture of the process. Usually, this is your origin story. How did you discover this process? How were you the first case study that proved the power of the process? What was the pain you experienced that motivated you to take action and solve the problem for yourself?

For more on connecting story with your business check out: 26 Storytelling Tips for Content Marketers

You’ll also want to have some smaller stories ready to help illustrate every individual step of your process.

Your Process Should Have Something For Everyone

Your process should have information and stories that someone at any level of awareness could get value from. If you only address topics and ideas that beginners can understand, then the experts will feel that your service is not for them, and vice versa. You can solve this problem by ensuring you’ve got stories that address every segment of your audience.  

Within each step of your process, you should outline concrete actions that people can take to get the result you promise. Within these steps, you need to have something for your whole audience. Remember that your audience has a mix of experience and familiarity with what you’re teaching. You need to reach both the beginners and the experts in your presentations.

When designing your steps, make sure you address:

  • Beginners – Something that someone who is totally new to your concepts can take action on right away.
  • Experts – Something to show the experienced professionals in the audience that you’re not just repeating what everyone else is saying.
  • Short-term wins – Something that can get fast results and be applied immediately to their business.
  • Long-term wins – Something that takes time and investment, but yields good long-term results.

Embedding “Sales” Into Your Stories

When people know they’re being “pitched” something, their defenses go up or they check out. Often, when speaking on stages, webinars, or podcasts, we won’t be allowed to directly pitch our products anyway. But there’s a way to use stories to communicate how your audience can move forward with you without putting their guard up.

The parts of the brain that process sales are different than the ones that process “content.” With sales, they’re naturally skeptical and distrusting, while with content they’re open and perceive it as being valuable.

Often in webinars, podcast interviews, or other content, we make a very visible transition from education to selling, which feels awkward and forced.

If we embed stories of the “next steps” into our process, we can educate our audience on our product suite without triggering their defenses.

Here are a few ways to embed the next steps into your content:

  • Testimonies – Instead of just pasting a quote, tell a story of how a client used your process to get results.
  • Next steps – Right before you’re about to teach something powerful, tell a little story about how you do X with your clients, or mention how this is one of the “favorite” strategies people in your membership site use.
  • Value offer – If you give away a gift or lead magnet at the end of your content or in a podcast interview, mention it early on in your teaching. Just talk about why it’s useful or how people use it. In this way, you build desire and perceived value so they anticipate the gift and understand its value to them.

Embedding Is Like “Salt” In A Cake

More food references… Hopefully, you’re not reading this while hungry.

When baking a cake, you need to throw in a pinch of salt or it does not taste quite right, but if you add too much, it ruins the cake. Embedding works in a similar way. You should embed stories about your offers very lightly throughout your content and focus primarily on high-value education and adding value to them.

Start With One

I recommend you start with just one–create a process that describes the full spectrum of your business and the results you get. This will become the foundation for your marketing and brand storytelling.

Once you have your foundational process established, you can create multiple proprietary processes in your business.

As you begin to create multiple processes, think about the “big picture” result you want to get for people and try to create a proprietary process to solve the major problems keeping your audience from that result. Your processes should relate to each other, but they should not overlap too much. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your customers and your messaging.


In a world where you have potentially thousands of competitors and standing out is difficult, a proprietary process can be a powerful tool to differentiate. But the benefits of creating and owning your own process do not just stop at differentiation.