The Power of Storytelling for Greater Sales Success and Building Trust.
Did you know that like a timeless Hollywood classic such as Casablanca, a great sales story can change the hearts and minds of audiences while differentiating you and your product/service and inspiring action…all in a way that information alone simply can’t? Conversely, a poorly crafted or executed story can cost you attention, credibility and, ultimately, the sale. Indeed, with all of this at stake, don’t you think it’s worth your time to learn a proven strategy that models itself on legendary storytelling?
You must first understand that the prospect that’s walked through your door has been told things all day long:“We’re the dang best…,” “We reach more customers…” and on and on. But if you take another route, that of SHOWING your message, solution or results in ACTION through a story or illustration and letting your prospect reach the desired conclusion, the lasting power will be much greater than if you hit him or her over the head with a list of facts.
Still, like the proverbial Stephen Kings, Tom Clancys and Martin Scorseses of the world, a story is only as good as its storyteller; if you learn how to apply an actor’s trade to bring your story to life with authenticity and confidence, you will leave a big and lasting impression on your audience – trust us.
Here are five tips for crafting and delivering a successful sales story:
1. Add Drama
Before one comes to an actual resolution, stories are based on drama and drama requires conflict and tension. Give your sales story a “so what?” test – if it doesn’t pass, you need to increase its dramatic tension. At every point in your story ask yourself, “And then what would happen?” Your tension should peak before you yield the solution.
2. Be Descriptive.
Using words that engage them through multiple senses, allow your prospect to experience the story in a three-dimensional way – but be careful not to go overboard with adjectives.
3. Be Specific.
Focusing on a few key details, don’t try to cover too much – providing excessive details will quickly overwhelm the listener and lead to them tuning out your presentation. To this end, highlight a few key elements of your story and quantify when you can (“Ninety-percent” rather than “most,” for example).
4. Get to the Point.
Otherwise known as “cutting to the chase,” this tactic asks you to consider where motion pictures begin: Typically with a car chase or a bomb threat…in other words, where the action is. Why? Because the average human’s attention span, though even embarrassingly lower as of this all-digital age we find ourselves entrenched in, is alarmingly short and film-makers have to hit them with the loud stuff right away. Prospects, like your average popcorn-stuffing audiences, have little patience for a great deal of introductory fluff…you have a precious few seconds to grab your listener’s attention and draw them in. Don’t waste it by preparing your story with a formidable amount of prologue.
5. Keep it Short.
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: The world has become increasingly short attention spanned, and in this realm of increasing demands and expedited communications, your story needs to be short and to the point. If you have followed along with the previous suggestions, your story should remain fairly concise; if it isn’t, consider the possibility that you are trying to get too much across, and sit down to edit some of the essence of what you’re trying to say.