Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Sales Stories

Storytelling in sales is our ability to express ourselves in a way which is engaging and persuasive.  We capture the attention of the buyer because we have taken the client to a world unexpected.  This might be because the real essence of their problem has just now been revealed to them.  The salesperson who can marshal the discussion to elucidate the hidden insights for the client is the storyteller par excellence.  
The content of the story can also be a description of a better place than where the client finds themselves today. This discussion shows the path forward for the client to realise their goals.  To understand that better place requires the salesperson to set up a dialogue, where the questions asked unveil a story from the client of what success would look like.  Employing examples, cases and proof where this solution has worked before, must be brought to life if the storytelling is to have impact.  The ability to describe this better place in vivid word pictures is what separates the average salespeople from the master.
The delivery of this storytelling facility is not just a constant babbling by the salesperson but is punctuated by periods of silence. The client is given the chance to talk without having their sentences finished for them, interrupted by a segue, observation, joke or distraction.  Often sales people are loquacious, ill-disciplined speakers, who are in love with the beauty of what they are saying.  Counter-intuitively, being a skilled storyteller also requires the salesperson’s patience to encourage the client to tell their own story.
The words chosen by the salesperson are important.  The majority of the conversation with the client should consist of the client talking. The quota of words allowed for the master salesperson are therefore very limited.  They only use clear, concise constructs because they know they need to give up the floor to the client as much as possible.  Short sentences of inquiry which draw out rich information are the golden path to sales success.  It sounds a snap, but to do this takes a lot of practice. 
When the client hesitates, pauses for more insight, information or outright rejects what they are being told, then the salesperson’s level of communication skill really becomes apparent.  The balance between speaking to add light and employing silence to gauge reaction is a critical facility.  
There is a natural tendency when salespeople hit resistance to want to pour it on to overwhelm the client and their objection with a thunderstorm of data, facts and statistics. They want to dominate the discussion through sheer force of personality.  This is never going to fly.  "A person convinced against their will, is of the same opinion still" is an old saw, we salespeople forget at our peril.
Our way of telling the story makes a huge difference.  We need to be matching the personality style of the person we are talking to. Their energy level, pacing, the degree of detail they require.  All of this must go into the mix of telling the story for the client.  If they are a very detailed oriented person, then we need to get with the programme. If they are action orientated, we must become the same.  We like to do business with people we like and we like people who are on our wavelength.  
In sales we need to foster the ability to be on as many wavelengths as possible.  Our clients will be of various styles so we need to move graciously between each, without losing our core beliefs in what we are doing.  The telling of stories draws out the situation truths needed to understand the correct and best solution for the client.  It also means the capacity to package our solution up in such a way that it is highly appealing to our buyer.  This storytelling skill separates the professional from the dilettante.  By the way, nobody wants to buy from an amateur, so let's become more professional and tell our story well for the client.
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