» Storytelling Is Selling

Der Grossvater erzählt eine Geschichte

Image: "Der Grossvater erzählt eine Geschichte" by Albert Anker .

There are times when you get only one shot to make an impact. No do-overs, no second chances. We all want to be the hero of a story.

Few of us are.

Will you be the one to shift the status quo into a brand new way of thinking when that chance to make an impact, the one and only chance you might ever have, stares you in the face and demands a decision?

Such is storytelling.

Storytelling has been around since ancient humans gathered around the very first campfires. We all love a good story. Some would say it's coded into our DNA.

Storytelling and sales

The New York Times says, "In listening to stories we tend to suspend disbelief in order to be entertained, whereas in evaluating statistics we generally have an opposite inclination to suspend belief in order not to be beguiled."

Good stories can stir emotions and incite desire. Using the right mix of words for your story is critical when your objective is to move a prospect into making a purchase decision. Look for ways to incorporate storytelling into your sales presentations and start by injecting these ideas into a sales framework.

According to Entrepreneur a good sales presentation requires four components: rapport, need, importance, and confidence.

Before anyone will care about the story, your responsibility is to deeply understand your sales prospect.

  • How is the prospect motivated?
  • What aspects of your product match what your prospect thinks is important?
  • Are your materials and preparation polished enough to give you an air of credibility?

Storytelling is only effective when it has a sturdy presentation to support it. With a solid presentation in place, you can then work on weaving the elements of your story together into a narrative uniquely customized for your prospect.

Storytelling components

Here are the ingredients you need for a good story:

  • Strong beginning. Have you hooked your prospect in the first few sentences? Is your prospect paying attention?
  • Stakes. What will be gained or lost?
  • Metaphors and comparisons. What is the present reality versus what could be?
  • Repetition. Do you repeat important elements throughout the story so your prospect has them firmly in mind?
  • Strong, clear ending. Is your ending the defining point of the entire story? Does your call to action encourage a sale?

Build a solid presentation using those principles Entrepreneur suggests. Weave the components of a good story into your presentation. And practice. Practice until it all flows naturally.

It matters in the end

Your sale is at stake. Sure, you may be hitting your quotas, but how close are you to the line? Why would you want to settle for what everyone else is doing when one more closed deal could be your ticket to a paycheck big enough to afford a nice car and a much deserved vacation?

Storytelling is your key. You have work to do, and you can succeed. Work those storytelling principles into your sales process then watch as you close another deal. Your sale is at stake.

How do you use storytelling to aid your presentations?