During a recent Mastermind, Dave Brown—Senior Partner and Vice President of Recruiting at Southwestern Consulting—explored an important topic for salespeople everywhere: the power of storytelling. Using names and stories can be your greatest advantage, or it can be a weakness. Learning the art of using stories can help you more quickly connect with others and, ultimately, influence buyers. Incorporating the following techniques will help hone your storytelling skills to engage more effectively with your prospects.
If you’re building a story from the ground up, focus on its core elements: the main character, the challenge they faced, and how you helped them overcome it. Have writer’s block? Draft each of these elements separately. If you’re still struggling, start with a basic outline. You can come back later and fill in the details.
Keep It Simple
The simpler the story, the more powerful its effect! A simple story is easy to digest in the present, and it’s easier to recall all the compelling parts. A good tale will stick with a listener for days, weeks, or longer—but one that’s too complicated might be forgotten quickly or remembered for the wrong reasons.
Focus on the basic components of 3D storytelling: the name, the fact, and the story. Don’t forget that the point of the story is to promote your products or services! Cut anything that doesn’t work toward that goal.
Believe in Your Story
The most effective stories are those you’re excited to share. Think about the times you were elated to help a client and accomplished something great together. Not only will your listener want similar results, but telling your story will also come naturally since you’re so happy about the outcome.
Make Your Prospect the Hero
Your listener may not know it at first, but the story is all about them! If you know this from the moment you put pen to paper, you’ll end up with a much better result. Here are a few ways to streamline your narrative:
- Only include relevant details. Ideally, your favorite parts of a story are also the most relevant to your client. But that may not always be the case. It’s important to craft your tale with this goal in mind: ensuring the client is clear on how the story relates to them.
- Grab their attention. Your story needs to do more than inform. Grab your listener’s attention by clearly stating the problem faced and how you helped solve it. Use simple, natural language, and get to the point quickly. Act out parts of the story where possible and speak with emotion when appropriate.
- Find a solid fact. The fact part of the story relates the subject to the client. Look for a common connection between these two people. For example, they could be connected by similar industries, challenges, or price points. Talk about tangible results the character in your story achieved, such as new customers, quota gains, or sales growth.
Have Your Stories Locked and Loaded
Say you once had an incredible moment where you demonstrated how committed you are to helping someone. Now imagine you run into a prospect who expresses reluctance because they experienced issues with reliability with other service providers. Your story is a perfect one to share with them, but only if you’re prepared to tell it!
Plan ahead, not only for scheduled meetings or presentations where you know you’ll get to share stories but also for those informal moments with clients where it’s easy to be caught unprepared. You’ll get the most out of your stories by always being ready to share them.
Work with a Pro
For more help reaching your sales goals, consider giving 1:1 coaching a try! Contact us for a free consultation on how personal coaching can help you improve your skills and increase your income. If you’d like to book a free workshop for your team, learn more here.