How to be a Good Story Teller

Episode 64: How to be a Good Story Teller, with Michael Hauge

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How to be a Good Story Teller? Michael Hauge — a Hollywood storyteller, unveils his techniques for how to be a good story teller.

On this episode of Sell With Authority, I am excited to welcome very special guest Michael Hague. Michael is one of Hollywood’s top script consultants and story experts. He helps writers, speakers, entrepreneurs and filmmakers increase their impact and grow their businesses by telling better stories. In addition to his consulting work, he has conducted workshops for over 70,000 participants worldwide, sharing his invaluable expertise.

Throughout his career, Michael has worked on films featuring renowned actors such as Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, and Morgan Freeman.

How to be a good story teller? Today’s discussion focuses on the power of storytelling. Michael shares insights on how you can connect with your clients’ issues and challenges through stories that are informative, helpful, and devoid of self-aggrandizement. By employing this storytelling technique, you can effectively teach valuable lessons while forging meaningful connections.

We also explore the importance of identifying the right ponds – the specific areas where your ideal clients gather. When you align your stories with the appropriate business problems and share them in the right contexts, you increase your chances of being invited to share your smarts with your target audience. This strategic approach allows your stories to become what Michael aptly describes as “stealth marketing.”

The insights and wisdom he shares throughout this discussion will equip you with the necessary tools to tell compelling stories, as well as incorporate stealth marketing into your agency, how to be a good story teller and attracting a steady stream of right-fit clients.


What you will learn in this episode is about how to be a good storyteller:

  • Michael’s definition of stealth marketing and how to implement it to build a connection with right-fit prospects
  • How can we get the right-fit prospects on the hero’s journey and celebrate the victory with us
  • Michael’s philosophy and goals when standing in front of right-fit prospects
  • The six-step process Michael recommends for how to tell a story
  • The power of sharing the hero’s inner journey as well as their outer journey when telling a story to connect with the audience and how to be a good storyteller.



How to be a Good Story Teller: Full Episode Transcript 


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of predictive ROI. My team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner or a strategic consultant, and you’re looking to fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right fit prospects, you know, to be able to get the at-bats in front of right fit prospects that you need in order to build and scale, then you’re in the right place. Do you want proven strategies for becoming the known expert in your niche and attracting all of the clients that you need? Yep. We’re gonna cover that. You wanna learn how to step away from the sea of sameness so you actually stand out from your competitors and own the ground you’re standing on. Yep. We’re gonna cover that too. Do you want to future-proof your business so you can successfully navigate the next challenge that you know is going to come our way?


Well, absolutely. We will help you there as well. I promise you each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights, tangible examples, and best practices, never theory, from thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So, I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests has built a position of authority and then monetized that position by growing their audience, nurturing leads, and, yes, converting sales. But all the while, they did it by being helpful. So every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were with a helpful answer to an important question. So, the RightFit prospects never ever felt like they were prospects. I also promise you every strategy that we discuss and every tool we recommend will be shared in complete transparency in each episode. So you become the known expert in your niche, and you fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit clients who never were made to feel like one of your prospects.


Learn more about how to be a good storyteller by tuning in to this episode, “8 Steps to a Great Story, with Michael Hauge


How to be a Good Story Teller: Michael Hauge’s Introduction


Okay, so I am very excited and honored to introduce to you our very special guest today, Michael Hague. So, if you’re meeting Michael for the first time, he’s regarded as one of Hollywood’s top script consultants and story experts. For more than 30 years, he has consulted and shared his expertise with screenwriters, filmmakers, professionals, and business owners just like you and me, helping them create or transform their stories using the principles of Hollywood’s most successful movies. Michael has consulted on films starring, among many others, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon uh, Julia Roberts, and Morgan Freeman, and has taught workshops to more than 70,000 participants worldwide. Michael was also my rockstar, excellent guest, uh, back on episodes 184 and 250 of our Onward Nation podcast. And we’ll be sure to include the links in those episodes or for those episodes in today’s show notes. Okay. So why was I so excited when Michael said yes to my invitation to join me for today’s Sell Wealth Authority episode?


So, let me take you back to episode 53 of this podcast that aired a couple of months ago. Episode 53 was a solocast. It was just you and me working through a topic together, and that topic was how to find your ideal clients. During that discussion, I broke down the three sections within what we call the WHO framework here at Predictive. Section one was Find and Identify. Section two is called Emotionally Logically Connect. And then section three is called Niche Deep Dive. So, I invited Michael to join us today so he can help us shine an even brighter light on section three, the niche deep dive. Why? Well, you may recall that Section Three consists of three sub-areas, and number one is problems. These are the business issues or challenges that, you know, your right-fit clients are struggling with day in and day out, but if they could solve them, it would be genuinely impactful for their business.


Number two is stories. What are the stories you could tell that could connect you with the business issues and challenges, but make the connection in a non-self-aggrandizing way and instead teach something helpful and smart in the form of a story? And then lastly, number three is ponds where we identify the right business problems. When we do that, and we connect it and tell the right stories to those problems, it is more likely that we’re going to get invited to teach those stories to our right-fit prospects who are swimming around in the suitable ponds. So creating and telling a story and telling that story well is important because when we get it right, your stories turn into what Michael calls stealth marketing. And I’ll ask Michael to pull back the curtain on why he believes that to be true as we work our way through the interview.


Learn more about how to be a good storyteller, and you can find Michael’s article here 


How to be a Good Story Teller: How Stories Shape Your Niche Strategy


How to be a good storyteller? So, I’m excited for you to have this opportunity to learn directly from Michael. He’s not only gonna share his best practices with you, but he is also gonna take us inside a real-life story of his business, how it unfolded, and then the result outcomes. I promise you the insights and wisdom Michael shares during this conversation; we’ll better equip you on how to tell a good story. And if you put it into practice, you’ll be adding stealth marketing into your agency so you can attract a steady stream of right-fit clients. Okay? So, without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. Michael,


Thank you so much. I hope we can live up to that introduction. set the bar kind of high with that, but I think we can do it. And it’s great to be back here on the new podcast. ’cause those, I thought I’d been on three times, actually, not just two on the previous podcast. And, uh, it’s been a while. So those were always fun, and I’d love to work with you. So great to be here.


Thank you for saying yes. And maybe it felt like three interviews because those introductions were all so long and it just felt like we’ve spent so much time together. But I felt like it was important to share that sort of context because this conversation about stories is gonna be really super helpful. Um, and, and I’m excited for our audience to be able to, uh, to learn from you and, and, and so forth. So let’s, let’s start maybe with a foundational thing. You know, like just the other day, in fact, I think it was yesterday that you and I were talking about stealth marketing. I’m like, oh, that’s pretty cool how you connected stories to stealth marketing. And I had asked you, I’m like, okay, if you wouldn’t mind, like peeling back the curtain and sharing that as maybe a, a definition as we continue through this conversation. So, would it be all right if we start there with getting your definition of stealth marketing, hooking that into stories is a good place to start?


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Selling Without Selling Through Stories


Want to learn more about how to be a good storyteller? Sure, absolutely. I sort of came up with that idea, I guess was I was, I was giving a presentation and telling a story, and I said, it’s like stealth marketing. And what that means to me is, uh, selling without, without your actual primary goal to be, to sell, but even more than that, that it doesn’t seem like you’re selling anything. And so, in generic terms, it’s telling stories either about yourself, your own autobiographical stories about how you accomplished a goal or overcame a problem, or about clients you had or have well mostly had ’cause it’d be passed in successful clients that you worked with. And as a result, they overcame a problem or they accomplished a goal of theirs. And through the story, what happens is the audience. It’s just like when you go to a movie, the reason we go to movies is that we wanna feel something, not because we’re, I mean, you could go to a documentary, or sometimes there are things to learn, but mostly we want to feel, we want to be emotionally involved.


And the way movies work is we’ll watch, you know, Tom Cruise in, uh, top Gun Maverick Mm-Hmm. It’s not interesting to watch him fly that plane really fast, it’s emotional for us to be in a cockpit. We become that character. Hmm. So when you tell a story about, say, a satisfied, successful client, and you tell it, well, your audience, whether it’s on the page or from the stage or on Zoom or whatever, your audience is going to create a subconscious connection. They’re gonna empathize and identify with the hero of that story. Okay? So now, instead of you saying, well, I can do this, and I can do this, and here’s the data, and so on, you are giving the recipient of that story the emotional experience of actually experience being a success by working with you of actually overcoming the problem you overcame when you developed your process or your principles or whatever.


How to be a good storyteller? So now they don’t feel like they’re being sold to. And let me tell you a quick story because I think this was the story that made me come up with that phrase. Okay. I had a client named Alek. Alek was a high net-worth financial advisor in New York, very successful, and founded his own company. Um, and in every way, he was, you know, top of the line. But he was very excited because he had gotten a call inviting him to come to, uh, I think it’s called The Conference of Titans or something like that. Titan is in the word, and it’s at MIT once a year high honor to get involved. Okay. He was very excited. And so until they said to him, and the topic this year is courage. And he thought, oh crap, what? I don’t know what to say about courage.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Transformative Storytelling


He thought he was gonna talk about t-bills and investment strategies and so on. And he happened to hear me giving a presentation right around that time, I think it was only two weeks ago. And he asked me if I would help him with the story. So I coached him on the story, uh, and the story involved his childhood and a difficult situation he had in his childhood and how he was frightened, but he had to be courageous about it. And finally, in this situation, his father came to the rescue, solved the problem and, you know, he over, he overcame the situation, okay? And I said, well, first of all, the problem with that story is you’re not the hero. You’ve gotta make your father the hero. So we worked on that, and he went ahead and gave the presentation with that story, which consisted of several others for his whole hour.


How to be a good story teller with relates in marketing? So here’s where the marketing comes in. He had no desire to pitch his company his product. He wasn’t trying to sell anything. All he wanted to do was touch the people in the audience. He ended up getting a standing ovation from everybody he thought, and, and was getting all these compliments. But when it was done, people were, you know, saying, great job. And he saw these people lining up to talk to him, and they were all lining up to say, how can we work with you? And he had no desire. He ended up, he ended up booking, and he gave him a testimony. I think he ended up, uh, booking $400,000 worth of clients from telling stories that had no, it, it was, he wasn’t even trying stealth, he was just touching them deeply enough that they thought, this is somebody whose values I honor.


This is somebody I wanna work with. And there’s an epilogue, I don’t wanna take the whole, but it’s epilogue after it was over, there was one woman who, uh, was just sort of standing in the back, like wanted to talk to him, but wasn’t really bold enough until everybody else had Yeah. And she came up, and she had tears in her eyes, and she said, until I heard your story about your childhood, I never thought anybody had lived what I had to go through when I was a child. And it touched me so deeply to know I wasn’t alone in that situation. And to him, and to me, that’s really down deep why you wanna do this. It’s great to be marketing and stealth marketing do that, but when you can touch people that deeply with your stories they feel that kind of connection. Yeah. Let alone if people feel a connection to get them to sign up for your business, then you’ve really hit a grand slam for me.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: How Shared Stories Inspire Growth


Yeah. Because it’s not about the storyteller. Uh, it’s about the audience and the emotional connection that they’re feeling. Right? Like, like the journey you’re taking them on if you, if you craft it correctly. Right? Yeah, exactly. Um, I mean, one of the things in your introduction, you were talking about, it’s kind of tied to this stealth marketing idea. A lot of people feel like, well, I don’t wanna tell stories. First of all, people don’t wanna sit still for them, which isn’t true. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be watching TV every night. Also, I don’t wanna sound like I’m bragging, you know, I don’t want to sound like that. But here’s what you need to understand. If you get on a stage, whether it’s video or live, or even put a story in a book, when you do that, if your opening is some version of, I am a great success, and I make a lot of money, and I do really well, and I’m gonna give you information now. ’cause my hope is that you can some pay reach the high echelon ivory.


Now, there are people who do well with that opening because they’re really well-known. Or if, you know, somebody’s become a billionaire, I suppose, yeah, I’d like to hear what he has to say about this, but probably not the way to touch the deepest number of people and draw them to you. Yeah. But when you tell how you got to where you got, when you start out as the ordinary, unheroic person who was struggling in the same way your audience was with finances or with health or whatever it might be, and you take them on the journey of the hero, even if it’s you, you take them on the journey you went through to achieve success. When you get to that level of high, high success, they will celebrate your victory because it’s them who has gotten to go on this journey, not just with you, but as you, as they empathize with you as the hero of the story


Story. Okay. So, celebrate your victory, but then do they also see themselves in that celebration, making it? Well, if that person could accomplish that journey, then perhaps I could, too, because I’m wrestling with the same issue theoretically in my business. Right? Does that happen?


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: The Power of Storytelling


It not, well, it happens, but you’re not quite making it strong enough, I don’t think. Okay. Okay. ’cause it’s not that that’s an intellectual thought. Yes. Okay. But I’m saying if you are riveted if I’m riveted by the story you’re telling, I am experiencing it with you. I’m celebrating my victory. I called it your victory ’cause you’re telling the story. But I, it’s like I did it on a subconscious level. We’re not thinking of it that way, but that’s the way it works. I mean, when Tom Cruise wins at the end of pretty much any Tom Cruise movie, we feel like we’ve crossed the finish line, right? We stopped the bad guy, we’ve won the prize, whatever.


That’s really quite brilliant because if I’m telling a story about, like, going back to the example where you’re talking about how you got to where you got where, where you got, and in that story, if I am, if I’m talking about business issues and challenges that I had to get over in order to get to, you know, the end result, the victory, like using your word,

And, if I know that I’m standing in front of who happen to be the right fit prospects for our business, and I’m telling that story, and I happen to know that they’re dealing with the same business issues and challenges, then that’s putting the stealth marketing at play, right? Because at the end, they’re celebrating the victory. And then maybe the same sort of result outcome that you mentioned with Alan is going to be realized.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Crafting Stories for Stealth Marketing Success


Yeah, they’re celebrating the victory, but it may sound a little convoluted, but they want to have that experience again in real life. Yes. And they’re, and they’re gonna trust you because they’ve empathized with you that you, they become you and you, you, they understand, oh, you get me. You know what I’m doing. You, you know what I’m about. And by the way, it does emphasize something you said in the intro and just mention again: one of the things you better be sure of is that if you’re gonna tell a story, it’s a story about someone who solved or faced the same problems your target market does. Or, uh, I mean, you know, I could, I could, I could tell stories about my childhood that I would find riveting right now, but they’re not gonna help anybody listening be a better storyteller or be able to do that. So you know that going in, you know what your target market is. Mm. But you said at the beginning, you know who the pond is. And so you gotta say you, number one question I always ask entrepreneurs or business people is, what’s the problem you’re promising to solve?


So it’s not just, well, tell us, tell us about your childhood. That’s usually not the best opening for most stories unless something riveting, something happened there that really established the foundation of your principles or something. It’s, when I when you talk about an origin story, I say it’s not your origin. It’s not; I was born here, and I grew up there, and so on. It’s the origin of the process, the principles of the product that you’re trying to market. This is how I found this is how I invested lots of time and lots of money and lots of effort and lots of false starts to get where I am. I’m gonna cut all of that out because I can help you do it. And you don’t have to go through what I went through, and we’ve already been through it ’cause of your story.


Okay. So then, let’s go to the story that you shared with me yesterday and then, and then it turned into like, oh, that’s a really cool story. But, so, like, when you architected those two hours when you stood on stage, and you taught for two hours, Mm-Hmm. , like, is, is that what you like were, was that a stealth marketing crafted two hours? Or like how, because it manifested into something really interesting in a follow-on conversation. So, how did you knit together what you wanted to teach for two hours?


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Empowering Marketers Through Storytelling


I guess it was a stealth marketing possibility. I didn’t look at it that way. Okay. I generally don’t. I’m a pro, but I may not be the best example of how shrewdly I could use. I sort of am, and I’m not. I’ve, I’ve been successful. But to me, it’s always been kind of lucky. Only it’s not. I understand that it’s not luck, but what I’ve always been, my philosophy has always been as best as possible: do the things I think are fun and do, and teach and show people how they can live better. That’s just what I love to do. My avenue for doing that happens to be stories because of my love of movies and working in Hollywood. And it was, it was born when I was six years old and so on. Yeah. So my goal in getting up on the stage was just, I’ve got an audience of 200 plus people.


This was at, uh, one of Russell Russell Brunson’s, uh, you know, uh, uh, retreats or conferences. This was for what he calls his inner circle. It’s one of his high-level, um, masterclass groups that he does. So there were about 220 people in the audience. All I knew was my mission is to help them tell better stories as much as possible, you know, with their marketing. ’cause this, this is all marketers ’cause this is, you know, ClickFunnels and Russell Brunson and his followers and so on. So I didn’t, I didn’t think, uh, very consciously. I didn’t have an offer at the end. I did, and we did give away copies of my book. And I captured their emails by saying, you get a free video if you link here. And so on. That was about as much marketing as there was.


But I spent like 90 minutes and then Russell joined me on the, for 90 minutes. I talked about here’s what makes a great story. Yeah. Which is on one level, and I illustrated with some examples of clients I’ve had who had, these were all clients who’d gone on and in their testimonials had said, and, uh, I made millions of dollars on what I learned from Michael. Okay. Okay. So that’s nice. ’cause I like to press. I wouldn’t be up there if I didn’t wanna be the center of attention. Right. And so in that regard, I tell those stories, but I’ve learned that those are valuable stories to tell because, one, it gives me credibility. It shows that I’m able to do this, but it’s also emotionally involved because people think, yeah, that’s cool. You know, I want to be doing that.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: How You Can Tell Better Stories


It gives me credibility, but also it creates a deeper emotional connection. So that was sort of the extent of it. I wanna do this. I’ve known Russell for 10 years. It was an honor to be invited. I wanna do an excellent job of that. And I got to do what I love, which is this. Talk about how you can tell better stories. Take the Alig story that I started with, okay? I was telling that story using what I call the six-step process of how you tell a story. And I could, you know, it’s like I, I introduced him so you would identify with him, okay, I, I set up a problem for him. We feel sorry for him, or we’re worried for him. That creates greater empathy. Then, I set his goal. I came into this story because it’s not about me.


And, I’m sorry I go off on a tangent ’cause I get excited about story stuff. But that’s another thing to keep in mind. Don’t create a story about a satisfied client and then commandeer the story. So you become the hero. It’s, you’re not the hero of that story. Your client is, you come in as what I call the reflection character, the mentor, the guide. So I said, so I worked with him, and I told, I said, I told him, you need to change the hero. That was all I really said about myself. But that’s another aspect of stealth marketing. Oh, okay. So now you’re gonna hear that story. You’re gonna empathize with Al, but you’re also gonna be thinking, yeah. So he, this guy, just helped me as I, with, as the hero I’m identifying with. So that’s another aspect of it.


I don’t think I answered your first question. Well, you did. And then you added some additional context, which is great because you actually demonstrated the answer. So how about this? Let’s go through the six, uh, just so that we can get the six into our notes. Yeah. And then we’ll be more cognizant of the six when we hear you tell the follow-on story of what happened next after the two hours.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: The Six Steps to Engage and Connect


Okay. That’s good. I, I haven’t, I haven’t practiced the, I just told you what happened yesterday. I wasn’t thinking about it, is this appropriately structured? We’ll see how I tell it, and we can judge for ourselves. Okay. The six, I’m gonna do this very quickly ’cause, of course, I can spend a day doing this, right? But here are the things, and these, these, if you jot these down, you’re going, first of all, to any successful Hollywood movie. You’re gonna see these six steps. Okay. Or any great speech that involves marketing or from someone on the stage who is trying to help someone solve a problem. Here they are. Yeah. Number one is the setup. That is, you introduce your hero. And this is key. Living her everyday life before they started, before anything extraordinary happened, before the action began, or before the goal was even necessarily set.


If you’re telling a story about your client or your customer, ask yourself what would portray a day in the life, right? Before, they were faced with a problem that made them hire you. We’ll put it that way. Okay. Okay. What’s yours, what was your life like before you finally said, can’t take this anymore? It’s usually a situation where you’re tolerating something that is negative. And that’s when you enter, you create the empathy. So you, you create a day in this person’s life that we will either feel sorry for them or worry about them. That was the thing without a pic. ’cause you, you know, ’cause I already established he was, he was well off. But the danger was he might fall on his face with this thing. Okay? Or you make him likable, good-hearted and kind to other people. Okay? That’s the set. Then, you present them with step two.


That’s a crisis. Now, you could call it an opportunity, you could call it a tipping point. But something has to happen that shakes the character out of, uh, this, this kind of stuck place they’re usually in. Or the place all was. ’cause it happened very quickly. And what happened, he was excited. So he wasn’t tolerating anything terrible. He didn’t know that, oh my God, I’ve gotta talk about courage. I’ve never given a talk like that. Mm-Hmm, . Okay, so what is that? Or it might be, it might be what I call the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s someone who’s got a horrible job when they get the memo, the 14th horrible memo that they say this is that I can’t take it anymore. And they decide I gotta find something better. Okay. Yeah. So there’s that crisis. And in response to that, part of that step means I’ve gotta figure out how am I going to, what is my goal gonna be now?


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: The Key Steps to Get Your Audience’s Attention


Okay. And the more visible and specific that goal is, the better. Okay. So if you say, now I wanna have a better job. Okay, well, I can sort of picture that. But if you say, I wanna become a successful internet marketer, that would be more specific. If you say, I want to, I want to, I wanna be able to make the annual salary that I have now as an internet marketer in the next three months, now we know exactly what it is. It’s a figure that you would say, okay, so what’s the goal? Okay, what was the thing in the goal? Now, steps three and four are pursuit and conflict. What does the character do to achieve the goal? Not everything, but if you’re the guide in this, if you’re the mentor, what are one or two steps? You, you have this person. Do I put in one with Al’s story now that it’s changed the hero?


And what were the obstacles, one or two of the obstacles the character had to face as you help them, not before, but as you help them. Because if you say, and they started working with me, and now it’s easy street, and you make it seem like it’s got gonna involve work, who buys into that? Maybe, maybe, if you’re buying Ginsu knives or something like that. But I mean, you, we see those ads all the time. But that’s not compelling. And if your goal is to create an emotional experience, emotion grows out of conflict, not desire. So, uh, you know, what’s the pursuit? What are a couple of obstacles that had to be overcome? Step five is like any good movie; we need to see the climax, and we need to experience the moment of victory. We need to see the person look at their ledger and say, oh my God, I just, I’ve, I’ve just made $30,000, whatever the salary was, and it’s less than the three months I gave myself to do it.


Okay. And then, uh, the final step, and this is one that is really critical. A lot of people skip it. And that is the aftermath. It’s not enough to say the hero won that crossed that finish line. It’s what is the new life that that character is now living? What’s the new life you were living after you achieved your goal that you’re now gonna help your audience or your followers? And that’s, and that’s a vivid image of, it’s like the setup. It’s a vivid image, but now it’s not someone who’s stuck. It’s someone who is living the rewards of having gone on that journey. And when you’re crafting your story, you want that aftermath to match what your target market dreams that their life might be like.


This is brilliant. Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: The Aftermath


Well, I just, not specifically. I mean, your aftermath might be, uh, you’re on a world cruise, and they don’t want that, but they want freedom and independence or time of their family or wealth or wanna be flourishing in some way. That’s the way it has to connect.


Yeah. Uh, and maybe I shouldn’t have been, but as you’re going through these, uh, steps one through six, and you had mentioned, you know, top Gun Maverick, and it just, probably because I know that movie so well, I, I was going through all six of these with you, and I’m like, oh, that’s what happened to that scene. That’s what happened in that scene. That’s what happened in that scene. And I’m like, wow, what a brilliant roadmap.


Yeah. Wow. This guy, this guy knows what he is talking about. You were so relieved. Weren’t you, Stephen? I was a little worried. I didn’t know if


I’m Wow. All that time we’ve spent together over the last seven years was not a waste, Michael.


That’s right. This guy knows a thing or two.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Unplanned Journey at Russell’s Event


I should probably let everyone in on a little, that little secret yesterday when Michael and I, uh, connected, uh, he goes, do you remember when we first met? Like what year? And I said, uh, 2016. And holy bananas, it’s been seven years we’ve known each other. Okay. So, take us into the story that you shared yesterday. And it was like one of those unintentional things. I’m like, wow, that’s a great story. Would you share that, share tomorrow when we do our interview? So how, how, how do you wanna step us through that?


Okay. I’ll just have to tell it what happened. Like I told you, and let’s just, let’s just assume, uh, it’s not gonna follow the six steps. Maybe it will organically, but I haven’t thought about it as a story to present to you, you’ve backed me into a corner, Steve. But I’ll tell you what happened. So here was the thing: my goal was to give this talk. Okay? And, and the climax was I got at the end of this, I got what I believed to be the longest-standing ovation I’ve ever gotten for a presentation


At Russell’s event.


From these, At Russell’s event. Yeah. From these 220 people. Okay. And you can tell when you’re up there. I knew they were really connecting. Nobody le left, and nobody was texting. You know, it was just a really fun experience. And I was loving it. ’cause I got to do what I love. Okay. Aftermath. That was the climax. That was my goal in that story. The climax was, I, I got a standing ovation we’ll use, but then, that’s a visible representation of not how wonderful I am. But they really connected with it. And the sign was they did that. The aftermath was the new life I was able to live. That’s what this is gonna be. It’s the aftermath, is the setup for whatever would come next in the story. But the aftermath was everybody had been given a free copy of my book that was available after my talk.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Insights from Russell’s Mastermind


So afterward, people were coming up saying, that’s great. Asking me for my autograph and so on. Okay. As part of the essential part of Russell’s, uh, inner Circle mastermind group or this gathering is everybody gets to go into breakout rooms and have small group activities where they share their ideas with each other and then they ask for help. Okay? So I, uh, I was, you know, I, I was done, my job was done. It was a two-day thing and I finished the first day. So now I’m breathing easy, I’m not anxious and so on. And I said, uh, to the person in charge, Miles Russell’s person who runs the event, would it be okay if I sat in on one of these groups? And he said, sure. And he found one that had an extra spot, and I would hear other people’s presentations, you know, and so on.


Great. Getting good ideas. Finally, I asked the group monitor if it would be okay if I got up. Uh, they’ve already heard me talk, but could I ask? Could I ask for the help of the group? And she said, sure. And so I got up, and I said, okay, here’s what I need your help with. I just had this great response from 220 people in your group who are all high-end earners. ’cause they, you know, they pay 50 grand or something a year to be in this group. And they’re, you know, they really loved what I said. And they’re even coming and talking about possibly working with me and so on. Here’s my problem. I have been told repeatedly I don’t charge enough for what I do. And I said, you know, I think it’s a what, well, we can touch on this in a minute if you want to, Stephen, but I said it’s an identity issue.


It’s like, my fear is I don’t wanna upset anybody. I don’t wanna, I mean, I know people on this podcast are thinking to themselves, yeah, I’ve been told I don’t charge enough either, but it’s, oh, I’m afraid I’ll lose clients. Or they’ll upset, be upset, or I’m too big for my whatever. That was my thing. And so I said, so I’ve always been told that, but now I got this thing. What should I do? And like, this group just went, they didn’t go crazy, but they were just fighting me with things. You have to charge more. They said, you’ve got to, you’ve gotta really raise your prices. And they, and then they almost all said, but don’t, don’t raise ’em until we get to work with you at the old price. I said okay. So they did. And then they filled out cards, and I went and looked at ’em, and they had a number of ideas.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: A Storytelling Success Journey


And now, so if in that part of the story, my goal was to get new ideas, then that would be the climax I got them. And the aftermath would be this. But I was thinking even better. It’d be great if I could get some clients while I’m here, but I had nothing at that point to offer and so on. But I talked to a few of the people afterward and made an appointment for the following week. Once we got home, I made an appointment for a Zoom call because one guy had been interested and had a lot of good, uh, you know, suggestions and so on. So we set up a meeting. Okay. And he wanted my help. So I got on Zoom with him, and I’ll just go ahead and shall I’ll do the numbers.


I don’t care. Whatever it is, it’s totally your call. Okay, I’ll do it. So I’m not gonna name the person ’cause I would break confidence. But anyway, uh, my biggest package that I, at, up to that point, had ever offered was $10,000 to work with me on a story. Like all the stories in a book. Uh, for three months. I would, I would have, you’d have full access to me for three months. And then, um, we’d have weekly meetings. I would coach you on all the stories that go into your book. Let’s say it could be for a big webinar presentation, something like that. Or just with your team, with your company. I could work with your team and help you create a story, get stories, an organic part of your business so everybody knows how to tell the origin story and so on. That’s the typical thing.


$10,000, three months. I talked to this person, and at the end of the call, he decided he wanted to work with me to do precisely that for the stories he wants to develop. ’cause he wants to raise his business to the next level. Really take it up, up, up it to, I don’t know how else to say it, you know what I mean? This level. And so for that package that I had been charging $10,000 for, he’s paying me $80,000. So I ate x the fee for that one thing as a result of that. And later that week, I had another conference for another person in the room, actually two people who were partners in a company. And the same thing happened except for them, I’m working on a single story over a shorter period of time to perfect that. And that also ended up being probably at least five times what I’d been charging before.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Unintentional Stealth Marketing Success


And so I guess that’s the story. I haven’t started working with these people yet. We haven’t even begun the thing, but they’re, they’re got those oversized packages, and it just sort of was ex I, I mean, I just went nuts. I was already talking to my brother about buying a beach house in Oregon. I got a little trade. 20 grand is nice. I don’t think it’ll buy a new beach house for me. But you know how it’s, it was very exciting. But all of that was an outgrowth of what I had done up on stage because, and, again, it was even unintentional stealth marketing. ’cause he wouldn’t have said that if he hadn’t seen if he hadn’t found it would be credible, trustworthy, you know, good information.


So when, when, when you landed on the 80, I think one of the questions you asked him was like, what would you be willing to pay for it? But did he know, did he know the previous price was 10 when you asked him the question?


I’m not sure of that. He could have found, he, he may have, uh, because, and I may have told it in the small group, but he could have gone to my website and seen, ’cause I was posting, okay, one of the things, you know, I was advised immediately is pull down all your, all your, your prices on the website. ’cause nobody must see, well it says here, you know, 10 and that’s it. Yeah. I didn’t include that part. But after the group and I talked to him, and I wasn’t honestly really pitching him, but I wanted to know. ’cause, on his card, he had said, uh, his, one of his recommendations was, you need a top end item for a hundred thousand dollars. Okay? Mm-Hmm. And you need a middle-level one. You could do that with group coaching or individual coaching.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Having a Course But Wouldn’t Involve My Direct Involvement


And then, you need a low-level one. And that would be like a course or something that would be evergreen but wouldn’t involve my direct involvement. Something like that. Okay. That was the suggestion. And I, I hadn’t seen the card yet where he said that, but I was talking to him out in the hallway or after one of the group breaks. And I said, and he was saying, well, what do you do? And so on. I said, okay, look, I’m not gonna hold you to this, but I wanna know because everybody’s saying raise your prices. I said, here’s the package I have. I didn’t tell him what it was. How much would you pay me for doing that? Okay. And he said, a hundred thousand dollars. When I got ahold of him on the thing, I had told everybody in the group as a concession to the help and promised I wouldn’t charge them. You know, I’d give him, I wouldn’t go to the old prices, but I said everybody gets 20% off. And I don’t think he even remembered that, but I said to him, you know, you were in the room, so you get it for 80 instead of a hundred.


It’s amazing—absolutely amazing. And it really demonstrates, at least in my opinion, the power of the self-marketing piece that we started this conversation with. So, I guess I’m asking you, do you think it demonstrates the power of the self-marketing piece that we started this conversation with?


Well, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. You mean, oh, stealth market. I thought you said self-marketing. Yeah, no, no. Stealth steals marketing. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. It does. It’s, I mean, it sounded like a tactic when I said it. But the point is, it is, it is. It’s more you need an understanding of this is what the power of telling the story is. Not that you said, what, how am I gonna stealth my way into this? Right? I’ve never done that. Neither did Alek. He didn’t go and say, oh, I know, and if I do this well, I’m gonna get, he had no idea. Anybody would come up and say, I wanna work with you. And we’ll see. I, I don’t know if this is something you’d agree with, but my history has been, I’ve had a really wonderful career, and I’ve, I get to get a, I basically, I get paid to talk about movies at the end day.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Follow Your Passion


That’s really my thing. Okay. How great is that? Because it’s what I’ve loved my entire life. And when I look back on my successes, I can’t think of any that were a direct result of me doing what I should do to get clients. I was terrible at networking. I hated it. I didn’t back when I was in Hollywood and go to go to mixers or you know, go to this or go to that and so on. All I cared about was I wanna teach storytelling. I wanna help people with their stories, and I wanna write about stories, you know, with blogs. And I’ve written three books and so on. And every time I did something that I thought would be fun, I mean, the reason I worked with Will or on retainer with Will for like eight years and his company is because he saw a video I had done called The Hero’s Two Journeys.


Mm-Hmm. that I did with one of my associates named Chris Voer, who takes a mythical approach to this story as an afterthought. Years ago, when we were doing, I thought maybe I should film this, it got, somebody came along and said, I could turn this into A-A-A-D-V-D. You know, at that point, I think there might’ve been things you could do online, but it’s been that long. I will see it. He loved it. He had his person call and ask if he would be willing to talk to him about a movie he was making called I Am Legend. Now, if I had said I’d love to work with Will Smith, how can I get to him? I would’ve given up, I wouldn’t have known how, and I would not know any way to meet Will Smith and persuade him that you should hire me.


Well, yeah, and you would’ve probably been blocked by gatekeepers at every turn, right? Yeah. But, sure. But when Will saw the content, obviously, he’d reach out and so forth. And then that started a wonderful working relationship for you guys.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Transforming Challenges into Triumphs


Absolutely. And that was it. Same thing. Russell Brunson met me because he saw the same video and wanted me to talk about his thing. All I’m saying is it was it was the work I was doing. It was getting that out for people to see and then find it. Now, I’m sure that in there, I shouldn’t say, did you know, I’m sure I was doing things to do that. But I have been wanting to talk to Russell about this invitation, you know. I called, he saw my message and it, he thought, you know, he’d be great to come and talk to this event. So he invited me. So that’s it. I don’t know, I don’t, I think, I don’t know where that is, but of those of the chart you were talking about on the list you were talking about, that’s, that’s the thing to me. You, you said something like that. You said you, you had a phrase like, and you’re always there with how you didn’t use the word offer. You’re always there with your expertise. You, you worded it better. Intro.


Yeah. So that every time someone in your audience turns around, there you are with something helpful, and that speaks to a business issue or challenge that they’re facing. And, I would argue that Russell and Will Smith both had issues, challenges, and obstacles that they were trying to get past. Saw your content and thought okay, that’s the solution. And, and you told that in a story which made it easy to consume and not like you’re selling at all. ’cause you weren’t, you’re teaching. Yeah.


Lemme share one more thing ’cause I know we’re probably right out of time, and as you, as your audience, can tell, we could make these three hours not still be yammering away. What can I say? But there’s one more thing that they really responded to in that video and that people respond to more than anything in the lecture in the presentation I gave for Russell and so on. Okay. And that is what I call the Heroes Inner journey. That’s because the reason the video is called the Hero’s Two Journeys is the outer journey is is the journey of accomplishment. And, you know, I wanted to make more money, and I did these steps, and I overcame these obstacles and I made that money. The inner journey is the transformation that the hero goes from living in fear to living courageously. It’s the journey of having to overcome what I call our identities, the false self we present to the world, our persona because of some wound or pain or trauma in the past, or how we were raised, or what happened in our adolescence or something.


Learn more about How to be a Good Story Teller by tuning in to our tutorial: The “HOW” Framework


How to be a Good Story Teller: Mastering the Art of Storytelling


We have this belief that we can’t be too big for our britches. That we can’t fail, that we can’t succeed, whatever those things are that hold us back because we’re afraid of it based on beliefs that may always be logical but are never accurate. And if in your story you bake in, you include fears and vulnerability that you felt as you were on this journey, or you put in by interviewing your former clients or whoever the story’s about, and say what terrified you? Because you know, if you’re listening, you know, the biggest obstacle we almost always have to overcome in taking risks and moving forward or growing our business is we’re afraid. We’re afraid of taking risks. We’re afraid of leaving our comfort zone. And yes, there are lots of external obstacles in doing this, but it’s really that fear. But because we all feel that that’s, those fears are universal.


There are a thousand specific difficulties you encounter if you want to build a website or invest your money. But they’re different for each person. But, the fears we fear, there are a limited number in their universal. We all want to look good. We’re all afraid of falling on our faces. We’re all afraid of being judged. We’re all afraid of commitment and connection and being rejected. We’re all afraid of what people, how people will react if we change, and if we grow, we all have those same fears. So then you’re, you’re touching your audience at the deepest possible level. And that’s what Will told me. That’s what will be responded to. It’s what Russell Brunson responded to. It’s, it’s that level of storytelling


That’s so brilliant. Thank you for sharing your smarts so generously, as you always do. I am grateful for that. I know we need to come in for a landing because we’re just out of time. But before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, please tell our audience the best way to connect with you, Michael.


Oh, yeah. I, there are two things I forgot. Now, here, here’s my, here’s a marketing thing. Uh, in full transparency, here’s what I’m gonna do now. I mean, I’ve got a freebie, but for those of you who know about internet marketing and so on, I’ve got a lead magnet here, So first of all, if you want to get, you wanna find out all about me and read an abundance of articles I’ve written, and so on, it’s my website is story Okay. I think you’ll probably have notes and so on. You can put that in. Yep. But if you would like those six steps, you would like to get a free chart that lays them out, so you don’t need to just rely on your notes and give an explanation of what needs to happen in each of those six steps. You go to story six ss for six steps, success story. Okay. Story six Ss. And then we, well, you can download a free chart about what it is.


That is awesome. Thank you, Michael, very much. And o okay everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and re-listen to Michael’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. You have to take what he so generously shared with you, take it and apply it, and start telling better stories. And Michael, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I am grateful that you came onto the show to share your smarts as you brilliantly always do. But I’m grateful for that to help us move our businesses onward to the next level. Thank you so much, my friend.


Oh, thank you for having me. I hope it helps everybody and Duke tell great stories. Thank you, Stephen. It’s great to see you again.

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