Your story is the starting point for developing a clear and compelling message—one that your customers are invited into. It’s the most powerful medium for building credibility through empathy and authority through experience. Story is an invitation—one that puts your customer at the center of a quest and establishes you as their guide.

So let me tell you a story! I’ll show you how it works…


John owns a second generation roofing and siding business in the land of Nor'easters and hail damage. John’s team stays busy! But even amidst success, you could hear the nagging discontent in his tone. “Even if I put a roof on every house for 20 miles every 20 years, it’s still not enough!” I just had to provoke, “Enough what? Money?” “No!” John nearly shouted. “Money’s great, but this is bigger. Somehow—I just have this gut sense—I can…my business can offer more than new shingles or siding.”


John responded by rattling off some high-quality products and services he could perform better than “the other guys.” I let him go on for a few minutes, just waiting for it—the awkward pause as he neared the end of his list without compelling closure. “This isn’t going to cut it, is it?” But John already knew the answer.


“My story? What do you mean?” John asked, hesitant to answer. “John, before we go any further, we need to revisit something. I want to know where you come from—what makes you who you are, why you believe the things you do and how your experiences have shaped that.” John grinned. “Oh boy! You really want to know? How much time do you have?”

He went on to tell me about his upbringing—his father who’d started the business, his run-ins with failure, his commitment to serving his neighbors and desire to leave something behind for his family, long after he was gone.


It revealed what made John who he was and why he ran his business the way he did, at times even putting profit second to neighborly love. For example, his crew once sacrificed peak-season works days to replace a widow’s rickety porch because her greatest delight was to sit  out front in her rocker and wave to the neighbors.

These values and beliefs are what drove John to action—the outward expression of something much deeper. We were uncovering the building blocks of his unique value proposition—the reason why John should be the number-one choice in his community, not the best kept secret.

All we had to do now was devise a plan to make that obvious! (Good thing I already had one.)


Many marketers will want to start with two things—your competitors and your customers. Here’s a tip. Don’t!

If you attempt to form your value proposition (the compelling reason why someone should do business with you) based on reaction to competitors —what they’re doing and what they offer—you’ll end up with little more than a discounted product list—nickel and diming yourself in the battle for the biggest coupon—and an ad expense black hole.

And if you start with your customers, your message will still miss the mark—inauthentic—a soulless parroting of what you think they want to hear. Bottom line, you won’t have a believable brand!


As John and I worked through his story and the values and beliefs that shaped his actions as a business owner, we discovered that roofing wasn’t “the end.” It was the means! John was passionate about the community he lived in. He wanted to do everything within his power to make sure his neighbors felt a deep sense of safety and security within the homes where they raised their children and made precious memories.

“Do you see now, John?” I asked from the edge of my seat. “You don’t work on roofs. You make a house a home because you make it possible to bring everyone under the same roof! Your values and beliefs drive action based on a much deeper motivation. Because you don’t just patch the occasional inconvenient leak. That’s just an external solution to an external problem. What you’re after is far-more internal. You restore peace and comfort to the worried and the restless.”


“But I thought you said to start with my story, not with trying to define my ideal customer!” John didn’t literally scratch his head, but I sort of imagined he was.

“Right, John! Don’t start there! (Bringing your customer into the center of your story is actually our next step.) If you start anywhere except for your own story, then you’ll never be able to connect your deeper ‘Why’ with how you serve others. Yes! We need to understand your customer deeply! But what will win them for a lifetime will be empathy and then authority. They want to know you understand them—that you can feel what they feel and have been where they’ve been. Only then will they receive you as their Guide to lead them forward on their journey. And remember! This isn’t a journey toward purchasing new shingles or cedar siding. Your message is far more significant! You just didn’t realize it…until now.”


If you’re a purpose-driven business owner that wants to make a difference and leave a legacy, I want to do everything I can to help you succeed. The world needs more of you—the few who refuse to compromise, love their children more than money, and seek the good of their community over edging out their competitors.

The Wilde Process is designed to leverage the power of story to clarify your message, develop strategic content, engage your ideal audience, and maximize the lifelong profitability and loyalty of your customers.

I’d love to tell you all about it! -Joe

Are you a purpose-driven business owner

looking to reach your audience, serve your community and build a lasting legacy?