Sales storytelling is the art of telling effective stories during a sales pitch. The intention of this practice is to point out the benefits of a product or service as opposed to discussing the price or various features, models, or uses.
Understanding sales storytelling
People have told stories for thousands of years as a way to build connections with others and relate to them on an emotional level.
In the modern world of sales, emotion is a powerful way to conduct a sales conversation that strikes a balance between communicating product value and making a personal connection with the prospect. With people remembering stories and only a few remembering statistics after a sales presentation, it is important to lead with stories first and follow up with facts and hard data second.
Despite the benefits of this approach, many sales executives still consider the demo or sales pitch to be the most important part of the meeting. They tend to demonstrate every feature without ever slowing down, bombarding the prospect with excessive amounts of information that they could never hope to absorb. The process of revealing every single detail at the first meeting also obviates the need for another meeting that could be used to close the deal.
In the next section, we’ll take a look at how sales executives can make their products more attractive by associating them with stories.
How to tell compelling sales stories
Here are some simple tips to telling better stories that are easy to remember:
- All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Sales storytelling is no different. Each story should have a basic theme to ensure it never strays from the core message.
- Base the story around a hero. In sales, the hero should ideally be the customer who must find a way to solve their pain points and emerge triumphantly. The idea here is to encourage the prospect to make a natural connection between the hero’s story and their own predicament.
- Ensure the prospect is engaged with the story every minute or so. This can be done by asking rhetorical questions.
- When the prospect has a lightbulb moment of clarity and can see parallels with their own story, seize the opportunity and move them closer to making a deal.
- The characters in a story should also be able to speak. Give them dialogue to boost their credibility.
- There is nothing wrong with a story that elicits certain emotions. These emotions help the prospect feel something for the product and make the meeting itself more memorable.
- Avoid stories that are cliched or where the meaning is too obvious. The prospect should be able to understand the key messages in the story themselves and be inspired to take some form of action that benefits the business.
- Focus on the value and leave out extraneous details. The prospect does not care about how many offices a business has around the world. They only care about what a sales executive or product can do for them.
Sales storytelling types
There is no single sales story that will be perfect for every situation. Ideally, the sales executive should have these six types in their repertoire:
- Problem stories – as mentioned in the previous section, this is a story where a hero overcomes their pain points and emerges victorious. The “victory” should always be explained in terms of solutions.
- Two-need stories – a simple approach where the sales executive describes a customer who experienced both a problem and a success.
- Personal stories – where the executive builds rapport by sharing a story about themselves that is relevant and to the point.
- Purpose stories – to build transparency and trust, these stories are used to explain how and why the organization was founded and came to be selling a product or service.
- Vision stories – in this case, the vision is a hypothetical situation the prospect may find themselves in if they do not take action. When used effectively, vision stores motivate the prospect to act.
- Success stories – how have previous clients who faced similar predicaments solved the problem? Success stories are relatable, relevant, and build social proof.
- Sales storytelling is the art of telling effective stories during a sales pitch. The intention of this practice is to point out the benefits of a product or service as opposed to discussing the price or various features, models, or uses.
- Sales presentations must lead with stories before facts and hard data because the stories are much more memorable. Despite this fact, many sales teams do the opposite and bombard prospects with information without first connecting with them on an emotional level.
- The ability to tell a good story is integral to sales storytelling. Stories should follow a logical sequence and be based around a hero – usually the customer – that the prospect can relate to. To ensure the prospect is listening, it is important to ask them rhetorical questions periodically.
Related Business Concepts
Main Free Guides: