Once Upon a Time: The Importance of Storytelling In Sales

Posted by Steve Staccato

Oct 8, 2014 9:30:00 AM

Using Storytelling in Sales

Storytelling is one of the most powerful sales tools for getting your prospect’s attention and drawing out their pain points and business needs. That’s because good stories are inherently memorable, allowing you, the storyteller, to differentiate yourself while helping prospects comprehend and relate to your company/brand, products and/or services. Stories are effective “pull” techniques, which can both surprise (gain attention) and build emotional rapport with your prospect.

Conventional “push” sales tactics rely upon presenting research and results and making product claims. There is no emphasis placed on relating to the potential client, who may feel alienated or turned off by the barrage of information. Storytelling, a “pull” marketing method, engages the audience, setting off a two-way exchange of information. Effective storytelling is authentic and based on life experiences and observations, which is much more palatable than viewing numerous charts and figures.

How To Craft an Engaging Story

  • Start with the outcome in mind, with what you’d like the prospect to do.
  • Create strong characters to sell the story, using yourself, your current satisfied clients (dramatize your case studies) or someone your audience can identify with.
  • Reveal the goals of your characters and explain what they’re trying to achieve.
  • Describe the obstacles and mistakes your characters have overcome. Reveal what they tried before finding your solution that may not have worked as well.

Using Storytelling to Identify Pain Points

Storytelling works both ways in a sales conversation. Open-ended, conversational questions help you to facilitate conversation and elicit your prospect’s stories. It’s an excellent way to learn your potential client’s problems and identify whatsolutions they’re looking for. To learn about their goals, try asking, “Ideally, in a perfect world, what would your company look like?” Uncover pain points by asking, “What hurdles are standing in the path of your business success?” 

While you learn about your prospect’s needs, you can also help them “sell themselves” on the need for your solution. Bring up the high-stakes nature of continuing with pain points unsolved by asking, ”If those obstacles aren’t addressed, what could happen?” Now position your product/service/brand as the answer to their problems.

Learn more about this and other innovative, effective sales tools and tactics — contact FRONTLINE Selling today.

  Learn more about FRONTLINE Selling.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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