Bitesize Business Breakthrough the time it takes to drink a cup of tea


How to use the power of storytelling to increase sales revenue in your accountancy firm...

Wouldn’t it be great if you could achieve more sales for the same marketing time, same marketing effort and same marketing spend?

Increase the sales revenues from your existing marketing and your firm grows without it costing you a penny more!

Here’s a bitesize business breakthrough you can start implementing today...

Let me quickly explain…

  • You may be getting visitors to your website, but too few are taking any action or turning into clients
  • It could be you’ve written a brochure and nothing happens, even though you send your brochure out to your whole contact list!
  • Or maybe you put on events and you can’t get enough people to show up or take action at your event?

An old selling adage goes like this:

“facts tell… stories sell”

The insatiable human appetite for stories proves this. 


The sheer scale of the story business proves the point – In 2012 there were 1.36 billion visits amounting to £7billion of film revenues and book sales totalled £76 billion.


You make more profit and generate more sales when you make every marketing pound you spend work harder for you.

You make your marketing work harder for you when your marketing messages put the power of story-telling to work.

Start with 4 helping hands here or read on for the full Bitesize Business Breakthrough.  Use your device's back arrow to return to this point.

Here's the proven solution for youR FIRM...

Use more stories.

The big question is how to construct great stories in your marketing.

You currently spend time, money and energy on marketing your firm – you use some (or all of) brochures, adverts, website, events, a sales team and so on.

Continue to use them as before, but use better words in a better way and you’ll get better results.

When you put the power of stories to work for you, your marketing results radically improve.

Most firm owners and client managers fail to share powerful and valuable stories in their marketing… preferring the safe harbour of facts and figures – even though facts tell and stories clearly sell and will probably lead to more referrals.

‘Probably’ the best marketing SUCCES checklist in the world?

S = simple (and profound)

U = unexpected

C = concrete

C = credible

E = emotional

S = story

Write or tell your product or service marketing message as a Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Story. SUCCEStories work…

  • Share your SUCCEStories and more people will read your marketing material, more people will respond, more people will buy
  • Share your SUCCEStories and the same marketing investment will deliver more sales leads, more lead conversions and you will grow your business

Now for two concrete examples using the SUCCES writing formula...

Every culture on this planet of ours has a phrase which goes something like…

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.

A simple statement, with something quite profound being communicated in a handful of words.

Just 11 words.

Now for a world-beating commercial example:

“Piping hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or you don’t pay”

This is simple and profound too!

This phrase launched Domino’s Pizza into international business stardom. It’s also underpinning the meteoric growth of Domino’s Pizza in India now.

How could you share your firms marketing message(s) in such a simple yet profound way?

A simple statement, with something quite profound being communicated in a handful of words. Just 11 words.

Be unexpected…

The “bird in the hand” phrase has been around for thousands of years. It doesn’t necessarily tick the unexpected box as well as we would like, because it’s so well used.

But it does unexpectedly challenge our ‘want more’ urges. 

Offering free pizza unless it’s piping hot and delivered in 30 minutes was unexpected in American and European pizza marketing.

It’s even more unexpected in India because of the difficulties of delivering anything in Indian city-centre traffic!

How can you build in ‘unexpected’ into your firms marketing message?

Be concrete…

When you use tangible, physical examples with your clients, like “a bird in the hand” - they get it.

It’s tangible, it’s concrete, it’s solid. No ambiguity at all.

“Delivered in 30 minutes” is concrete, unambiguous.

How could you use metaphor or concrete tangible ways of communicating your message?

Be credible…

Because the “bird in the hand” phrase is used so much, everyone is familiar with the phrase, it’s credible, it’s believable.

And we’ve all experienced the ‘moral’ of the message at some time. Build credibility into your writing.

For example, guarantees increase credibility – what’s your equivalent of “piping hot in 30 minutes or it’s free”?

How can you use guarantees, statistics and testimonials to build the credibility of your message?

Be emotional…

We recognise the emotion attached to actually owning something (bird in the hand).
And there’s the distress emotion of losing something in favour of chasing something you might achieve.

Connect with your client’s emotions and you’ll get a better response too.
“Piping hot” has emotional value.

If you’ve got ravenous kids, a 30 minute guarantee has emotional power too!

What sort of emotional reaction from clients do you want from your marketing message?

Tell a story!

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” is a simple, concrete, emotional story example of SUCCES writing. It’s not a list of facts.

You can almost sense the speed of activity at Domino’s when you place your order. 18-20 minutes to take the order and make the pizza 10-12 minutes to deliver it.

How can you tell a story in your marketing message and powerfully connect your clients to your product or service?

Your guide for producing top-quality SUCCEStories...

START DOING Every time you are writing or editing use the SUCCES checklist. You’ll find a SUCCES checklist in the supporting tools for this edition of Business Breakthrough.

STOP thinking you can write by ‘winging it’ or ‘making it up on the hoof’. Use this SUCCES formula and your marketing messages will be stronger and help achieve greater results for your firm!

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“It looks like it’s too time-consuming. I want results for my firm now!”

Yes, following the SUCCES writing checklist means you’ll be writing slower to begin with, but as with anything, it will get easier the more you do it.

What’s clear is, continue to write in the same way and you’ll get the same results.

Instead, with a little time and effort (to begin with), you’ll get one over your competition.

“My firm/my services aren’t simple, so getting a simple message is wrong for my firm!”

It is tough to take a complex product or service and make the message simple.

Chances are though, your clients are most interested in one or two core benefits of what you do.

IBM’s big corporate computing solutions are pretty complex.

In the 1980’s they shared a simple yet profound message which was worth its weight in gold:

“Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”

This is simple and profound. It’s unexpected too.

Concrete, credible and emotional?


And it tells two stories – one if you buy IBM and one if you don’t buy IBM!

It pays to work on creating a simple and profound message in your marketing. What’s yours?

“I don’t want to be different, I don’t want to stand out. I might lose clients”

It is true, you can be too different. For  example……

As an accountant you wouldn’t dream of dressing up as a clown because accountancy is a serious business to you, as an owner of an accountancy firm.

In the same way that Nurses dressed up as the grim reaper in a children’s ward would be unexpected, but completely inappropriate. 

Unexpected, being different, is about having a blend and a balance of being unexpected and fitting with the expectations your clients have of you.

Strike a balance.

“Getting concrete, tangible, physical messages is really hard in our firm”

What a relief!

If it’s hard for you, it’s hard for your competition too!

It is worth the effort though.

It’s the business owner who communicates concrete, tangible, credible deliverables, who will cut through the masses of marketing clutter your clients are fighting.

Concrete and credible communication will make a big difference to the lead generation results you achieve.


“How do I know this will work for me and my firm?”

Like anything else  – you don’t know until you try.

We know that accountants are risk averse, but try it, test it!

Generate a new SUCCES marketing message and ask for feedback from a colleague or even from a loyal client!

See what they have to say!

4 helping hands for you…

Gather some core facts about your firm or service and work out how to make them appear more concrete, less ambiguous or vague. Then ‘prove’ your facts are true using four sources of credible evidence –




Case studies





IMPORTANT: Guaranteed delivery times aren’t concrete or credible unless there’s a payoff for non performance –

“It’s free if it takes more than 30 minutes.”

Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:


Make your message SIMPLE and PROFOUND

  • How can you simplify your message so an 8 year old understands it without explanation?
  • How well does your message connect with the most important reason (or two) for buying your service or product?



Same old, same old doesn’t work. 

How are your and your competitor’s message different to each other?

If your message IS different from your closest rival, what is it?

How are both your messages different from other players in the market?



Is your message ambiguous (vague, open to interpretation or imprecise) or concrete (tangible, physical, real)?

How would you score your competitor’s message?



To what degree is your competitor’s/your message credible (believable, authentic or trustworthy)?

As opposed to questionable (doubtful, suspicious or dubious).



How would you score your competitor’s/your message for emotional power?

How well does this connect with the feelings of buyers?



The components of a great story are:

characters (heroes and villains), journey (problems overcome, opportunities grasped) and outcomes.

Want to know more?

Made to Stick

Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Chip and Dan Heath (best-selling business authors of “Made to Stick”) have researched the power of story-telling from a marketing perspective.

They created this world-class writing model to follow. Write your marketing material in a ‘made-to-stick’ way and you’ll improve your marketing results.


Go to the link below and you'll find out how to make SUCCEStories work for you.


This report is shared by

Paul Shrimpling
Paul Shrimpling, Managing Director


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