Such storytelling isn’t easy to find.
When organizations and consultants go through branding exercises and come to be part of associating words with their brands, they rarely highlight “cold” or “heartless” (suppose someone selling ice fishing equipment might go for “cold.”).
After scouring the Web I finally found one.
Meet Nick Murray, a self-professed “premier speaker” on the financial services industry.
I don’t know Mr. Murray. He could be great at his profession and the second warmest human being in the world behind the Dali Lama.
But if you want information on Mr. Murray speaking at your fine organization, you’ll come to his speaking page structured with five core sections: Fee, Deposit, Expenses, NO-NOs and Conference Calls.
In spirit of analyzing how to suffocate storytelling techniques, let’s examine each module.
That’s big of Nick to be open (no guarantee) to allowing the client to fork over another $4,500 for him to speak a second time on the same day.
I always get a kick out of someone talking about himself/herself in the third person. Famous athletes employ this technique, “It wasn’t a good night for LeBron.”
I suppose Mr. Murray figured a clause like “Nick will NOT return the deposit if he has to cancel the engagement at any time for any reason” might not go over well.
Glad we’re clear on who keeps the original receipts and who receives the photocopies. I can’t even count the number of business relationships that have soured from this issue.
To Mr. Murray’s credit, he doesn’t make any weird requests like insisting that a six-ounce jar of watermelon Jelly Bellies must be in a hotel room upon arrival.
No question, this is the section where Mr. Murray bares his soul.
First, I love the use of informal language in the subhead, which softens the point. Going with the formal “What Nick Will Not Do” might put off potential buyers.
Still, if I am a potential buyer, I would find some of this language confusing.
Like what is the difference between people are drinking and people who were just drinking alcohol?
And while I appreciate that Mr. Murray wants all attention on him, the section on speaking at breakfast or lunch leaves too much open for interpretation. If he’s speaking in front of 100 people over lunch, must every single person be finished? What if just two people are slow polishing off the peach cobbler? Does sipping coffee count as eating? If the waitstaff can stand perfectly still like statures on the perimeter, are they allowed to listen, and if yes, does this incur an extra cost?
Savvy pricing strategy.
If $10K for a keynote is too high, you can still get Mr. Murray on a conference call at half the price point.
Knowing the audience will be so captivated they will insist on the 30-day audio playback for another $5K, Nick ends up with the same fee and with zero risk of running into people “who were just drinking.”
Obviously, I don’t have any insights into Mr. Murray’s operation.
It could be that the cold and heartless business communications serve as a filter to keep the speaker requests at a manageable level.
But I’m guessing that’s not the case.