Learning to be a better storyteller can help you grow your business in multiple ways. In many ways communication is the lifeblood of business, and compelling storytelling is one of the most effective ways to communicate ideas. Whether you are trying to close a sale or motivate your team, stories can get the message across very effectively to help you grow your sales.
In sales, storytelling can work to your advantage in many different ways. People remember stories far better than they do facts and features. Stories appeal to people’s emotions and most sales happen on an emotional level. Stories can help build trust, and trust is a critical component of any sale.
When crafting stories for sales, always make sure to tell the story from the customer’s perspective. Focus on what’s in it for them, how buying your product or service will make them feel. For example every company touts its customer service and quoting response statistics can prove that your company does provide great customer service. But a story about a time when you or someone at your company went way beyond the normal to provide that exceptional service is way more compelling to your customer.
Why stories work in sales
When we listen to a presentation with lots of facts and statistics only a small part of our brains are engaged, the areas that deal with language and logic. But turn that presentation into a story and both sides of the brain light up and our emotions get involved. There are two main needs that people try to satisfy with a purchase:
- Avoid pain or loss
- Gain pleasure
So craft a story about how your product or service avoids a pain that your prospect is experiencing. You could also tell a story about how happy other customers who bought your product are after their purchase. Most people make a purchase decision emotionally then use logic to justify it.
Simply providing a better solution to their pain is probably not going to close the sale for you. Instead, focus on their pain and tell the story of how your product will solve that pain better, faster, and cheaper than anyone else.
What makes a great story
Storytelling, like most things, has some basic elements that should be included in every story.
- Setting. Where does the story take place. Provide rich detail so the listener can visualize the location and feel like they are part of the story.
- Hero. This is the protagonist in the story.
- Plot. This is the actual story, it needs a beginning, middle and end.
- Conflict. This is the center of the story and it’s about how the hero works to resolve the conflict. If you can, build some suspense that builds to the climax.
- Resolution. How the story ends with the hero solving the problem and everyone lives happily ever after.
As I said earlier, focus on your customer or prospect. Understand the pain they have that your product or service can solve. Pay close attention to how they frame the pain or problem and how it affects them personally. Listen to how they talk about their pain and then use the same language back to them.
Now it’s time to start crafting the story. The hero of your story should be the customer or a past customer that the story is about. Next set the stage, where is this happening? Describe the conflict the hero is presented with. What is the problem that needs to be solved, the pain the hero is experiencing? Then bring it all home as the hero solves the problem.
Here’s an example of a sales story. Fred is working with a customer who purchased a computer system from another company and is very unhappy with their poor support. This customer is considering switching to Fred’s company. They are very concerned about how Fred’s company will provide the level of service they need moving forward.
Here’s a sample story.
In the course of Fred’s presentation to this customer, he tells the following story about how his company dealt with a similar problem.
“I understand your concern about service and your need to maintain 99.9% uptime. I remember a case where a customer had purchased one of our systems and had a very tight delivery schedule. We were pushing to meet their timeline when I got a call late on a Friday afternoon that a critical component had failed. The customer was very worried that we wouldn’t be able to meet the Monday delivery guarantee.
It was too late to get a replacement component delivered through normal delivery channels and meet the deadline. We decided to have one of our service engineers drive the replacement to the customer and install it over the weekend so they could meet the Monday delivery deadline.
That engineer drove to the customer’s site, installed the new component, and tested everything. The engineer stayed on-site for the Monday launch, just to make sure there were no other issues. The customer was elated and has since purchased several other systems from our company. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service, and we will support and service you the same way.”
What kind of stories can you craft about your company and how you solve your customer’s pains regardless of the roadblocks thrown in your way?
I help entrepreneurs create and manage sales organizations that deliver results. Let’s schedule a no-obligation consultation to see if I may be able to help your startup with your sales challenges.
Originally published at https://thestartupsalesguy.com 4/1/2021