Written By: Colleen Francis
The power of a good story is something we as salespeople can’t afford to ignore. Here’s how and why you need to consider adding the skill of storytelling to your sales tool kit.
Storytellers have influenced public opinion over the course of history.
Have you ever noticed how political candidates weave stories of ordinary people into their speeches?
“Bob, the auto worker from Detroit who had to take a second job in order to feed his family…Carol, the retired widow from New Hampshire who had to go back to work in order to make ends meet…”
Because politicians know what storytellers have known for centuries: stories draw us in, involve us emotionally, and influence the way we think, feel and ultimately, act.
Think about how many stories you can recall that happened hundreds or thousands of years before you were even born.
You probably don’t remember setting out to memorize the story of Moses, Sleeping Beauty or urban legends like the lover’s lane murderer with a hook for a hand, yet there they are, ingrained in your memory.
On the other hand, you might not remember what you did last Tuesday or what your spouse asked you to pick up at the store this morning.
The power of a good story is something we as salespeople can’t afford to ignore.
Lets look at how and why you need to consider adding the skill of storytelling to your sales tool kit:
A short, well-crafted story can drive home your point better than a dozen busy Powerpoint slides. Stories package your message in a way that a listener can easily digest.
The real secret to their power, according to master storyteller Annette Simmons, is this: “Stories give people freedom to come to their own conclusions.”
And if a prospect has arrived at their own conclusion, doesn’t that make your job as a salesperson that much easier?
All day long a prospect listens to salespeople tell them how great their products or services are.
It’s no wonder they get a little jaded.
Not only is a story a refreshing break from that first person horn-blowing, but it also effectively hands over the burden of proof to an objective third-party, significantly increasing your credibility.
Cold hard facts and figures rarely move people. Put a face on those facts, however, and it’s hard to stay detached.
Stories have the ability to connect us with our emotions in a way that facts and numbers and beautifully designed pie charts can not.
Call it the Mother Teresa effect: “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”
A great idea is great only to the extent that it is remembered.
Our ability to remember is significantly impacted by emotion and since stories can create emotion, the right story can ensure that your message is top of mind when busy prospects are ready to make a decision.
We want our ideas to be what Chip and Dan Heath in their book, “Made to Stick” call “sticky,” which they define as: Understandable, memorable, and effective in changing thought or behavior.
The Heath brothers go on to explore why some ideas stick and how we can improve the chances of our ideas being remembered.
One of the methods they suggested as a way to make an idea stick is through the use of stories.
In a competitive market where prospects are short on time and attention, sellers who leverage the power of stories to deliver their message in an entertaining and compelling way can create an emotional connection with their prospects and significantly increase their chances of winning business.
Stories are a powerful sales tool for differentiating yourself and your product or service from the competition.
The exercises in the Improvised Sales Intelligence™️ Book of Play by Gina Trimarco give you the tools, tactics, and techniques to become a more effective and agile communicator in spontaneous sales conversations.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Colleen Francis…
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