Smart businesses understand the client is always the hero of the story. We get it – you built something from nothing and rescue people from problems. It sounds very heroic, but it’s not actually our role. One clue is “I will save you” isn’t the tagline of any Fortune 500 companies. Another clue is we certainly aren’t the bad guy. So who’s left? The guide.
In every great story, every great hero has a guide. That’s who we get to be. Luke has Yoda. Neo has Morpheus. Katniss has Haymitch. The guide has the skills and experience to arm, train, and lead the hero to answer their calling. The guide brings out the best in the hero, and most critically – it’s their relationship that transforms the hero.
Go back to the idea of who is rescuing who from what problems. The client has a problem. We have skills on how to solve them. They enlist us. We train them. We enable them. We assist them. And then, after all that work, they overcome their problem. Heroically. With our support in the background (like a force ghost in Star Wars).
When we look at our marketing or even how we explain our work to our clients, we want to keep the guide perspective in mind. Instead of “We’re the best in our category,” or “Nobody does it like us,” we want to be communicating, “We see where you’re trying to go. We can help get you there, but here – let us show you the steps to take.”
Guides have two key characteristics to watch for: empathy and expertise. Guides recognize the hero’s situation and let them know they really see it, without judgment. Guides also have done the homework and have actual expertise in solving similar problems. When a company can genuinely say, “We know how you’re feeling and here are the steps others have taken to overcome this,” they’re on the right track.
Smart businesses take everything they’re doing and ask how it puts the client in the hero’s role. If our clients feel they’re being heard, seen, and treated with empathy and expertise under our guidance, we’ll make their lives better. Maybe it won’t save the world. But it will be a story worth telling.