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How To Effectively Use Storytelling In Sales

How To Effectively Use Storytelling In Sales

Storytelling in sales, really in general, is more powerful than most people realize. The connection you can create with your prospects from a story allows you to create trust as you build the relationship.

Who doesn’t love a good story? You get sucked into the person speaking and don’t even realize its impact on you until you find yourself nodding your head along with what they’re saying.

C’mon… I know that’s not just me. Even though I am a sucker for a great motivational speaker.
Storytelling in sales can captivate your prospect the same way a motivational speaker can captivate their audience. Finding topics that your prospect relates to like sales coaching, replicating your top reps, or even something like managing their tech stack.

Give value and the prospect is hooked.

So let’s take a closer look at the best ways to tell a story when you are selling your product or service.

 

When To Tell A Story In Sales

Before we dive into the tactics, let’s think about the situations when storytelling would make the most sense.

  • Your demo/sales pitch on the initial call
  • Sales deck
  • Cold Calling Playbook

One of the problems reps get into is they think the most important part of the meeting is the demo/sales pitch. That’s a big no-no.

What’s even crazier is we’ve seen reps go the entire hour demoing and showing the feature or function of the product – without a single story. You guessed it, it was a pretty boring meeting.

 

How To Tell A Story In Sales

Now here is the juicy stuff you’ve probably already scrolled down skipping the information above. Storytelling in sales and how you actually get it done:

  1. Figure out what story you want to tell. Give it a beginning, middle, and end.
  2. What is the goal of your story? Does it relate to what you’re telling the prospect? This will help you construct the right type of story for your audience.
  3. Say your story out loud. Go find a stranger (aka family member or friend) and see if it makes sense to them. Were they able to follow along?
  4. Does your story have a hero? Can the prospect relate to that hero? Maybe you make the prospect the hero…. or find a way to tie them into the story so they can better relate.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get emotional. And no we don’t mean crying! Emotion can be in the form of honesty, showing a time when you failed, or even bringing something personal into your story like your family.
  6. Make sure there is a solid ending. Was there a “victory”? How do you end it and move on to the next portion of your meeting? You want to tie this into how you are going to try and close the deal or book the next meeting.
  7. Length matters. If your story is too long… they won’t pay attention. If it’s too short then it will be hard to relate to any of the characters.
  8. Show, don’t tell. Get your prospect to work out the meaning of your story for themself. Be a guide, but not a spoiler. As you’ve probably experienced, a story can have multiple meanings.
  9. Most importantly, give them a story they can easily retell themselves, again, something to remember. Don’t make it look like you’ve planned it too much though!

Stories Build Connections

So you’ve added your story in your cold calling playbook or sales coaching talking points, now how do you measure it? Because we don’t want to be telling stories that don’t help us reach our end goal.

With everything we do, we need to measure and test different methods. Test one story for a couple of weeks and see how many next steps you received from prospects. Did you get any referrals from those prospects, etc?

Then test another story.

At the end of the day, you want to create a story that builds connections. Do you see a prospect stay engaged when you’re telling the story or are they looking at something else?

 

Leave Out The Boring Fluff, Focus On The Value

Say goodbye to fluff! What does your prospect get out of what you’re telling them?!?!

Always go back to asking yourself – what value does this give? Cold calling playbooks are the perfect example. If you are giving value immediately, you’ll probably get hung up on. So when sales coaching is top of mind, help your reps focus on giving value right away.

This also includes emails. Don’t ask the prospect to book a demo, give them something that could be useful. When they are ready to close the deal or book the demo, they will let you know.

So what have you learned about storytelling in sales? Hopefully, something in this post has provided you with value. If not, let us know!

Author

Clare Dobson - VP of Marketing

With experience from SaaS to home services to non-profits, Clare has built proven marketing strategies for various customers. She is passionate about the customer’s success as well as empowering those around her each and everyday.