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Storytelling for sales success

When you bring storytelling into your sales technique, you immediately make it more effective. Let’s find out more. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

Since the beginning of humanity, we have passed on life lessons by telling stories. It’s the oldest form of transferring knowledge. Even today, it is still the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. You can make the hardest concepts simple enough for children to understand when you put them into a story; stories help us remember, as well as help humans connect at a personal level.

If you’re in sales, you’ve probably heard trainers talk about the importance of storytelling in your conversations before. In fact, you’ve probably read articles just like this one; or so you think. In this article, I’m going to share some practical tips on how to weave stories into your sales conversations so it really works.

Once upon a time...

Many sales teams have already woken up to the power of storytelling, aligning their marketing and sales departments so they can work together to create a vivid, relatable narrative that finds common ground with customers.

Even at the start of the sales process, where SDRs operate, there is room for storytelling. Here are some quick tips to get your storytelling started:

  • Move away from features and benefits and into stories. For example, rather than ‘Our product does X, Y and Z.’ try ‘One customer who I helped this summer found that X, Y and Z helped her achieve her goals.’
  • Storytelling isn’t just about naming your prospect’s organisation in your conversation; it’s about making that personal association and making them feel close to you. Use your prospect’s name and look for relevant connections as you talk to them.
  • Integrate stories into your cold call scripts and cold emails. It creates a positive association with your brand. In a world of power dialling, a strong brand helps you maximise these traditional strategies.
  • Have a sound framework to ensure brand consistency, but have some fun with storytelling too. Experiment to find out what kind of stories resonate best with your prospects.

The hero’s journey

Now, we’re going to help you take your storytelling to the next level. Although, it’s actually quite simple.
Whether or not you have ever heard of ‘the hero’s journey’, I guarantee you have read a book or seen a movie that uses it as a story arc. From Jane Eyre to Lord of the Rings, from Star Wars to Moana, it’s a story that is familiar and simple, yet inspirational and life-affirming, which is why people like it.

The hero’s journey goes like this:

  • The hero is called on a quest, usually because they have a problem to solve
  • Often with somebody’s help, they get close to solving their problem
  • It all goes briefly wrong, leaving our hero with two fixes to get out of
  • Our hero, usually through some kind of uncharacteristically daring act, achieves their goal. Achieving this goal has a massively transformative impact on their lives.

I’m sure you recognise that story, but you’re probably now wondering, ‘What does that have to do with sales?’

The customer as a hero

It’s easy to bring the hero’s journey, one of the most compelling storytelling concepts ever, into sales. When you’re talking to your prospect, position them as the hero. The story you tell is the journey they go on as they look to solve their problem.

The trick is to go really deep into the problem they want to solve. Spend a long time talking to your prospect about the pain they are facing. Approach it from as many angles as possible. That way, when they solve their problem (with the help of your product), you can show them the life-changing, transformative impact it will have on them.

Focus on the value through vivid analogies and bold statements. Enable your customers to understand the impact and how it will lead to them achieving their goals.

Remember, you’re not the hero. Your product isn’t the hero either. Your customer is the hero.

...and they all lived happily ever after

And now, we come to the end of our tale. Stories help you make difficult concepts sound simple, build connections and make your prospect feel like a hero. Make sure you use them in your next sales conversation.