Attract Clients with a Then-Now-How Story

attract clients

Would you like a subtle strategy to get your prospective clients, customers or even prospective employers leaning forward, wanting to hear how you can help them?

Try using a client attraction story with the the Then-Now-How strategy.  This strategy was developed by Craig Valentine, a top business speaker and a Toastmasters World Champion Speaker.

The secret to the power of the Then-Now-How story lies in the order that you present the points.

First, you tell about a “then” situation with a client like the prospect.  You want to focus on the problem that your client had that was like the prospect’s problem.

Second, you tell about the “now” situation.  This is a benefit focus where you talk about the client’s results of having used your product or service.

Third, you tell “how.” By delaying “how”  until after the “now” you get people leaning forward and wanting to hear the how.

It’s like when you see  weight loss products or services advertised.


You see the “before” picture and the “after” picture and you want to know “how.”

Here’s another example, one I use for Toastmasters:

Several years ago, Barb, an older woman in her 60’s joined my Toastmasters club.  I was thrilled! (Mostly because I was the only other woman in the club).  The day came for her to give her first speech, the ice breaker speech.  She walked up to the lectern like she was on a death march.  She set her notes on the lectern, gripped the lectern with white knuckles, looked down at her notes and never looked up.  Then she started shaking and her breathing became shallow.  I thought she was going to faint.  It was one of those speeches that both the speaker and the audience are glad when it’s over.

She sat down next to me and didn’t say a word until the end of the meeting when she turned to me and said, “That was awful.  I quit.”

I didn’t want her to quit.  I didn’t want to be the only woman in the club again.

“Barb, why did you join?’

“Well, I want to help do some fundraising for a medical missions team. But I don’t think I can speak in front of people.”

I managed to convince her not to quit that day.

Fast Forward 6 months.  Not only had Barb successfully raised thousands of dollars by giving presentations for the medical mission effort, but she had even won our club speech contest.

It was through the supportive, encouraging environment of Toastmasters that she was able to go from fear to finesse as a public speaker.  The regular practice and advice and feedback from fellow Toastmasters helped Barb meet her goals and gave her the skills that give her continued success.

Just like Toastmasters helped Barb, Toastmasters can help you, too.

Did you see the pattern (Then-pain of the fear of public speaking, Now—successful at public speaking, How-Toastmasters)?

Try a Then-Now-How client attraction story and get your prospects leaning forward!

This concept is in my new presentation for sales groups, “StorySELLing.”

Storyselling talk, Diane Windingland


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

4 Responses to Attract Clients with a Then-Now-How Story

  1. Thank you Diane. I’m currently cultivating opportunities in Organizational Development and this framework is perfect for highlighting the value I provide.

  2. Joe Sharp says:

    Great demo of a powerful approach, Diane Joe

  3. Thanks, Joe! Like the Toastmaster example? I’ll be using it at Home-Based Business Expo in a short speech on Sunday.

  4. Nicola–Yes! The approach works well in “cultivating opportunities” as well. Love that phrase “cultivating opportunities.”

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