Storytelling, Fly Fishing and Me


Last week I travelled to Arkansas to “talk loyalty”  with 350 tourism professionals attending the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Most of my audience either owned or managed tourist destinations, lodging, dining or some combination. “Find your firm’s  signature story” was one of the loyalty strategies I shared. Customers learn through your story and come to care about your business because of it.

Jim’s Story

Take resort owner,  Jim Gaston.  This 69 year old can talk Facebook marketing strategies with the best of us.  But Jim’s signature story began more than 50 years ago when his father Al bought 20 acres of White River frontage including six small cottages and six boats.  In 1962, Jim (then in his 20’s), took over the operation. “I didn’t have a clue how to grow the business, so I had to learn,” says Jim.  And grow it he did!

Today, Gaston White River Resort covers over 400 acres with two miles of river frontage and houses  79 “cottages” ( including a two-story with ten private bedrooms) and a fleet of 70 boats with a massive state-of-the -art dock to hold them.  A restaurant, three  nature trails, a fly fishing school, swimming p0ol, tennis court, airstrip and conference lodge complete this one-of-a-kind resort.

Says Jim, “People still visit us who were guests of  Gaston’s back in 1958. Many of them were children then and now visit us with their children.”

Jim’s secret sauce? “It’s a host of  little things that bring people back,” says Jim. For example, if we notice a guest has a flat tire, we get their cars keys and fix it. There are no scared cows in this business.”  Wise words from the man who just this month was named Arkansas 2011 Executive of the Year.

Loyalty Lesson

What’s your firm’s signature story?  It can separate you from your competition while building  a pathway to the hearts of your prospects and customers.  Bottomline, it helps your buyers care about your cause.

Gather your team and brainstorm on your signature story.  Whether you sell healthcare or hamburgers, you have a compelling story to tell.

Capture  it.

Then start sharing it with the world!

Already Have A Signature Story?  Please tell us!

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