- By Nelson Anthony, 10 November 2020 | 6 MIN READ
Selling has swung far away from the days of pushing information down to people’s throats and by using borderline shady techniques to close sales. Sales now is about people who want to listen to you. The markets are changed, so are the subtleties. Today, storytelling is a must-have sales skill.
Storytelling existed long before documented history. It’s been always there with which humanity has passed information from generation to generation.
A narrative or story is much more effective when you’ve dry pieces of facts to persuade – An engaging story builds a connection with the consumer while they buy a product or services. Salespeople often use the skill of storytelling instinctively to have the most powerful impact on how people feel and close deals.
The hard part is knowing which stories we need to tell. It is not all the time that the brand narrative, of the product or service, is the “hero” that saves the day. This is, of course, an important component. But is it the one and only we should always be telling on sales calls?
Veteran sales professionals believe they are not bringing their own story (or the brand’s) into the relationship, nor are they using the sales call to weave a story from scratch. Instead, they enter with a pre-existing story as a supporting character who is there to help the “hero” — the client and not at all times the “brand”.
Experience is compelling—even when it’s not yours. Be watchful with an eye to detail and use the experiences of your other clients, preferably in the same trade, to tell the story of how your product improves business. Take the prospect through the process. Present the case study in the story form.
A compelling opening – featuring the client as the hero who faces great challenges.
A clear build – How the Brand conquers obstacles, reduces pain, and increases success.
A powerful close with CTA — a signed contract, down payment, or the scheduling of a future meeting.
The psychology behind storytelling
People retain more through stories. With stories, we remember them, the cartoon you have watched when you were five, the stories that your grandma told you when you were eight you remember them all, isn’t it? Think of Age-Old Telephone, and it’s just the name Alexander Graham Bell pops up in your mind.
When facts and figures are outlined within a compelling story, you will attract the listener’s attention and help them connect bits and pieces of the story to their context. This results in better retention.
Often 65 to 70 percent of the information, when shared through stories and visuals, are effectively retained AND only 5 to10 percent of information is understood through a dry presentation of data and statistics. While the sales process is rarely a one-call affair – [make it essential] customers want to listen to you.
Tales, narratives, stories appeal to both logic and emotions – Purchases and business decisions, in general, are choices made with both logic and emotions. Rich imagery with a powerful story stimulates the brain. As it happens, emotions and logic are in play. Subjective preferences are tapped and are considered when thinking. When demons and even just conversations are comprised of stories, the human brain is gripped.
Stories help clients visualize the product in the context of their operations – Bringing up pain points and prospects’ coupled with a storyline can help clients arrive at purchasing decisions
Some techniques to hook your prospects until your call to action:
Keep the client in the center of everything – Even when you’re talking about other clients make them essentially a part of the stories ALWAYS.
Avoid being flowery and overly literary – You just want to hook the prospect. If you prepare well, you’ll get the points across succinctly.
Learning to paint scenarios – Stories are a terrific leap from dry presentations. Practice them on colleagues when possible. Each of us hates being sold to, but everybody loves a story to be told to.
A seasoned inside sales professional exactly know how to place information and bring them to life through amazing and data-driven stories. There is no dearth of experience on the side of your company and that of your prospects. You just need to weave a story on information that will fit in neatly along with your stories.
About the Author: Nelson Anthony is a Revenue Growth Consultant in Zomentum, a results-oriented sales professional with experience in the SaaS market. Nelson specializes in implementing E-Learning and CRM solutions for enterprises and help improve productivity.
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