How to Tell People What You Do in 3 Easy Steps

Interview with Donald Miller, J.J. Peterson, and Nigel Green

Episode Description

[Listen to this episode on iTunes]

Say you’re trying to convince your friend to go see a movie with you. You’ve got to pitch it, don’t you?

“Dude. Liam Neeson is falsely accused of a crime. But he goes to his estranged son who’s a cop, and they team up to clear his name while running from the FBI. Also everything blows up.”

In the film industry, that’s called a one-liner, and it’s a way to quickly, clearly explain the driving force behind the movie. If people can’t understand what it’s about, they won’t go see it.

Your business needs a one-liner, too.

When someone asks you what you do at a networking event or over cocktails, you can stop saying, “Uh, well, gee, it’s complicated,” and instead have a concise, compelling answer that gets people interested in how you can help them.

In this Building a Story Brand Mini Episode, I’m joined by StoryBrand staffers J.J. Peterson and Nigel Green. We talk you through three simple steps to write a one-liner that will clarify how you talk about your business. Use it to unify your staff, amplify your marketing, and grow your business.


Step 1: The Problem

What’s the pain point you help your customer resolve?

In this step, identify your customer and the major problem you help them eliminate. Where is life painful or uncomfortable? You can get specific, but keep it concise.

Here’s an example for a premade dinner delivery service so you can see how this might look:

Parents are so busy in the evening with kids’ activities and homework that they don’t have time to make a healthy dinner. They end up ordering takeout or eating processed stuff from the freezer.

There’s the target customer, there’s the pain. It’s clear, it’s relatable, it’s specific. Boom.

Step 2: The Solution

What’s your unique solution to that pain point?

In this step, show how you take that pain away. What’s your solution? The key here is to show how your solution is different than other stuff they’ve tried before.

Back to our meal delivery service:

So I deliver pre-made wholesome frozen dinners at an affordable weekly price — not just a box of ingredients with a recipe.

This service takes away the pain of scrambling to make dinner or ordering take-out instead. And it’s different from other meal-delivery services because the meals are already prepared. There’s no extra effort involved for our busy moms and dads.

Step 3: The Reward

How does your customer’s life look after their pain is resolved?

Finally, your one-liner needs to describe how someone’s life changes as a result. This is where you get to describe the transformation of what’s possible when that pain goes away.

So, one last time with our meal delivery service example:

With dinner handled, parents can stop stressing about it, relax, and enjoy time with their family.

There’s the transformation — because customers who say “yes” to this service aren’t really saying “yes” to dinner. They want that stress-free time around the table with people they love.

Here’s how I describe StoryBrand. See if you can spot the three steps:

Most business leaders have trouble explaining what they offer. They’re too close to it and they fumble their words. So we have a seven-part framework that helps business leaders clarify their message. When they do, customers engage. It’s the fastest way to grow your business.

In the full episode, we talk about what you can do with your one-liner once you’ve got it to maximize its effect. Hint: it goes way beyond cocktail parties and networking events.

Listen here, and then leave me a comment with your one-liner once you’ve written it!

Need Help With Your One-Liner?

Join me for a free webinar I’m hosting tomorrow called Words that Sell. I’ll show you exactly how to dial in those pain points and clarify your message so people buy.


Podcast produced by: Tim Schurrer
Additional editing by: Nick Jaworski

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