The importance of stories cannot be overstated. I know that my little column does not have the same instructional value as the rest of the content in this publication. However, stories connect us in a unique way. Jesus Christ, history’s greatest teacher, used stories to connect to his audience as he expounded deep truths to them.
Throughout my years of selling sheds and related items to the public, I have found one of my most important tools was to simply tell the story of Better Barns. Our story is used in our marketing in several ways as well. Here is our story:
Back in the fall of 2002, Vance Wright and his father, Dallen, were looking for a way for Vance to earn more money. Dallen had moved his family to Pauls Valley from Hobbs, NM, so that he could pastor the church we attend in Pauls Valley. While living in Hobbs, Vance had built a lot of sheds for his dad’s company. He built his first one at age 12!
Since Vance had so much experience building sheds, it seemed natural to build a few in his spare time to see if they would sell. Dallen and Vance decided they would start a business venture together and called it “Better Barns” and Vance built his first few sheds in their front yard. They partnered together with Vance doing most of the day-to-day operation and Dallen operating as the “silent partner” in the early years.
Soon, his sheds had found a market and demand outpaced his ability to just build on the side. He quit his other job and started building, selling, and delivering sheds full-time. By the summer of 2003, the business had grown enough to warrant adding a helper. That is where I came in. I joined Vance in July/August and soon we hired another employee, Robert.
I joke that I was “Employee of the Month” for the first several months I was employed at Better Barns but have never earned that honor since we added more help.
In 2005 I married Vance’s oldest sister and became more than just an employee. Now, I was family. Robert married Vance’s other sister in 2007. Vance joked that he was afraid he would not ever find any more help since he ran out of sisters.
Our company is truly a family business. Dallen operates as CEO. I am General Manager, a title which sounds much more important than I actually am. Vance now manages our construction division building large metal buildings and other structures. Robert is the Sales Manager of one of our two corporate sales yards. Dallen’s youngest son, Dakota, manages another wing of our operation that is too complex to describe in my small space here.
We have about 20 employees at any given time and about that many more contractors. Our annual sales have grown four-fold over the past 5 years. God has blessed our team and we are delighted to continue to serve south-central Oklahoma with integrity.
This is a condensed version of almost 20 years of history. I have found that sharing bits and pieces of this story seems to resonate with people. They want to do business with people, not faceless entities.
Whatever your story is, share it with your audience. Tell it on social media. Let folks know who you are. Be vulnerable and share things that may even highlight your imperfections. Connection with customers is key to success!