Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, wrote, “The only reason our customers buy from us is because the external problem we solve is frustrating them in some way. If we can identify that frustration, put it into words, and offer to resolve it along with the original external problem, something special happens. We bond with our customers because we’ve positioned ourselves more deeply into their narrative.”

Miller hits the nail on the head. No matter what type of business you’re in, to be successful you have to find where your company story intersects with your customer’s story. Storytelling for business has become a favorite strategy in the past several years. Why? Because stories connect people to ideas and ideas back to people. Stories are what differentiate us. Connecting through stories turns customers into loyal fans. Keep these storytelling tips in mind for your company:

Start at the End

Great novelists know the end of their story before they even write the first chapter. The same should be true with the company story you’re telling. The achievement of your business goals is your story’s resolution. Everything you do in your business – from marketing to employee training to customer service – must align with those goals.

Create a Worthy Hero

A mistake people make when telling their company story is to position themselves as the hero. Think of it this way – heroes must overcome challenges. From that perspective, it’s not your job to be the hero of your story, it’s your job to give your customers what they need to be the heroes of their own stories. Your solution allows customers to solve their strategic challenges. Even though you’re telling it, the story is actually about them, not you.

Keep it Real

People are skeptics. For prospective customers to believe in your company story, they have to trust you. It’s okay to use emotion, or even humor, to tell your story, but stick to what’s real. Be genuine with your customers. Stay consistent with your messaging. Nothing ruins a story faster than contradictions in the plot.

Develop Strong Supporting Characters

A story is made of much more than just what happens between the main characters. Your employees are key to keeping customers engaged in your story. When you develop your employees, they’ll help you develop your company story in a way customers will love.