Tell Your Story

By Thad Plumley

The audience of the lecture I sat in on—employees of convention and visitors bureaus—was certainly not my field. The message, though, was spot on.

My wife, Claudia, works in the travel and tourism industry and delivered the talk at The Greenbrier in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, a place every person should be required to experience at least once in their lifetime.

The talk would have worked perfectly if she was talking to a room full of magazine editors like myself or water well contracting business owners like many of you.

Claudia’s message was a simple one: To be successful, you have to tell your story.

She pointed out many cities and attractions simply say what they do or what they have, and then sit back hoping people show up ready to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Sound familiar?

It should. I have viewed countless websites of water well contractors who list what they do (residential wells, irrigation wells, etc.) and what they have (two drilling rigs, a pump hoist, etc.). After the sites go live, I’m sure folks sit back and wait for calls from customers with dollars to spend.

It doesn’t work that way.

Claudia stressed a key point Simon Sinek made in a TED Talk the author delivered a few years ago. Claudia found the point so important she repeated it twice to her audience in West Virginia:

People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.

Think about those words and then the websites of the drilling firms. They certainly say what the companies do, but they don’t address why. Potential customers needing a well system are going to look at multiple websites and every single one is going to mention the drilling of residential wells.

But what’s unique about you is the why. Your story is literally why someone will choose to work with you. So, when you address people on a website, in a brochure, or most importantly, in person, always tell your story.

Lead with the joy employees of your generations-old family business feel when they deliver life-sustaining water to your community.

Detail how you and others learned the trade on the back of a rig beside your father or grandfather decades ago.

Mention the importance you place on always learning so you can better serve those needing water around you. Explain that’s why you are certified and recall the pride you felt when you first earned that certification.

Most importantly, tell this story on a regular basis. Anytime is good, but the National Ground Water Association’s Groundwater Awareness Week is March 8-14 and is the perfect opportunity to get your story in front of your community.

You’ve got a great story. The better you tell it, the better your bottom line will be.

Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.