How to tell an Effective Sales Story

Research and real world application suggests that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion. Accomplishing what facts or statistics cannot, storytelling creates necessary context and emotional appeal, which allows a sales pitch to be relational and impactful.

Recently Craig Wortmann gave the Acquirent team a fantastic sales training called Telling Your Story in Sales. For those of you unfamiliar with Wortmann, he is a rock star in the sales training world. You can learn more about him on his company blog at SalesEngine.com and read his book What’s Your Story.

Below are just a few of the key concepts we learned from Wortmann’s training and we plan on sharing much more on storytelling on this blog.

How we use storytelling in sales

The stories we use in sales fall into four categories: success, failure, fun and legend stories. While each story is best applied in different situations, every story can be constructed by establishing the following:

Setting

A setting and protagonist give your story context and identity.

Conflict or Need

The need gives your story a foundational theme or message to address.

Climax

The climax of your story engages your prospect by maximizing the ‘dramatic’ elements; it often serves as the turning point.

Resolution

The resolution allows you to summarize your story’s message and also close with a tie-down question.

An example “success” story using the above format:

Since 2011 Joe has been selling detachable smart phone lenses for a company called CapLenz Inc. (Setting)

In 2014, Joe came to Acquirent reporting that he has been unable to hit his annual sales goals for three years in a row. (Need)

Acquirent found that Joe was failing to differentiate his lenses from others in the market because he was failing to differentiate the CapLenz customer experience from the customer experiences of his competition. Acquirent taught Joe how to utilize stories to so that his prospects could better identify with the experiences of CapLenz products and how these experiences were beneficial. (Climax)

Joe has since tripled his annual sales goals and is now a top performing sales representative for CapLenz Inc. (Resolution)

Other tips for effective story telling:

  • Put your stories to memory so they come off as genuine and natural
  • Do not tell more than one story per sales call or presentation
  • Practice when and where to use stories to keep them relevant and reactive
  • Make sure the prospect is following along with the use of ‘check-in’ questions such as “still with me?”
  • Keep your story concise and preferably less than a minute in length

Granted this is a very high level approach to how a sales professional can use storytelling in sales, we will tackle this topic again as it’s key to sales. Check back for more examples of how you can incorporate storytelling in your sales process.[/fusion_text][one_third last=”no” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][imageframe lightbox=”no” lightbox_image=”” style_type=”dropshadow” hover_type=”none” bordercolor=”” bordersize=”0px” borderradius=”0″ stylecolor=”” align=”center” link=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ hide_on_mobile=”no” class=”” id=””] [/imageframe][/one_third][two_third last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_position=”all” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][fusion_text]Brett Merle has been part of the ACQ team for more than two years and contributes daily doses of enthusiasm for sales with his can-do attitude. In his free time he enjoys blogging, music, and traveling when able! Check back here for more contributions on topics such as Sales Training, Careers, etc.[/fusion_text][/two_third][/fullwidth]