Comedian Ralph Harris is a genius. More than just funny, he is an actor with out of this world talent. Last night, as part of my work with him, I attended his one man play MANish BOY about his life, potential fatherhood, and lessons learned along the journey.

To say it was brilliantly done and that Harris morphs into so many characters seamlessly is an understatement. The real gem was the storytelling and how he brought life to each role. If you hadn’t loved Harris before the performance, you stood in ovation afterward, now a die hard fan.

Isn’t that what you want from your customers or audience?

Marketing today especially in social media requires smart businesses to tell engaging stories. Even a small operation of one can find compelling images, historical facts, statistics or customer experiences that can paint a picture that makes your audience love you.

Like Harris, your storytelling needs to be effortless, not forced, so your audience, in your case your target market and customers don’t have that butt clenching uncomfortable feeling when you’re marketing to them. It shouldn’t really feel to them that you’re trying to sell anything, but rather provide a service, educating them on all the benefits of your product, service or company.

What about the standing ovation Harris received at the end of the show? Does your customer service leave your patrons in awe, making them applaud you and tell all their friends about what you do?

If the answer is no, take a lesson. Give more than what it expected. Personally, while working with Ralph to let others know about the show, I had background information, a basic understanding of what the show was about. Also, there were immaculately designed marketing collateral that gave me a basic idea of what visually I could expect at the show. Yet, being there, experiencing a realistic and entertaining storyline, with humor and music, I got much more than I anticipated.

That’s what you should provide to your clients. They may have a basic idea of what you do and what they can expect while working with you. They may even see portfolios and case studies to help them anticipate what you are able to do for them. However, upon delivery, do you give a little extra, all with a smile on your face? Do you take constructive feedback and better your service so that you receive a standing ovation?

Of course, MANish BOY had nothing to do with entrepreneurs and business but just as I gleaned marketing lessons from a Janelle Monae concert, I could see how important storytelling impacted how an audience can view an actor and by extension how it could benefit the marketing efforts of a business. Be compelling, be multifaceted, overdeliver and see how you win friends and influence their buying decisions.