14 May Why storytelling is your most effective sales tool
Let’s be honest, a good sales person has the gift of the gab and knows how to talk. But a great sales person knows how to tell a story. They know how to weave a narrative and understand instinctively that combining compelling facts with an engaging storyline is the pathway to sales success. But why is that the case; what constitutes a good story and why is storytelling the most powerful tool in your sales tool kit?
Art as well as science
There’s definitely an art to spinning a well-constructed tale but did you know that by telling someone a story, instead of just regaling them with facts and figures, that you can engage a much larger portion of their brain? Amanda D’Annucci in her TEDx talk on storytelling, psychology and neuroscience explains that the art of storytelling has a psychological and neurological basis that scientifically explains the natural human predilection for narrative. And that a vast portion of a person’s brain is activated during the listening to and telling of a story. Quite simply, narrative engages the entire human brain; the entire human experience.
Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner, who revolutionised cognitive psychology, suggested that we are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story, so it’s all about how we’re positioning the information and not just what we’re saying.
Because stories are memorable they help us grab the gist of an idea quickly. They trigger our emotions. They work on the sub conscious mind and allow us to experience them as if we’re living them ourselves.
In a sales context, when you tell stories and take buyers on an emotional journey, buyers don’t just understand where they want to be, they feel it and see it. Stories conjure memories that stir emotions. If that feeling is different and better than how they feel now, they’ll be compelled to do something about it and to do it with you. It satisfies both left and right brain thinking and ignites your audience to act.
All in all, facts and figures play a role, but typically they are used to justify decisions made on an emotional level and storytelling gives us a tool for combining rational and emotional sales triggers, which is a winning combination.
Recipe for success
But not just any old story will do if the story is to be a successful sales tool. Quite the contrary; you need to craft the plot carefully for maximum effectivity and to hit the right high notes.
Paint a picture. Use credible and engaging details. The specifics of a story create the connection in the listener and make the story compelling.
Keep it relevant. Connect it to your product or service and make it personal, not contrived.
Find the hook. Every successful story contains a problem and a solution. Every product or service solves a problem or meets a need. No wonder, then, that sales and stories go hand in hand so beautifully!
Less is more. Too often endless charts, tables and analytics do more harm than good. Data overload can quickly turn off your audience, weaken your message, and fail to spur anyone to action. Keep it simple and resist the urge to enact death by PowerPoint!
Success sells. Use the experiences of your other clients, preferably in the same industry, to tell the story of how your product improves their business rather than talk in hypotheticals. Testimonials are a powerful tool and bring credibility, detail and depth to the discussion.
Are you keen to understand what stories work for you? The AGA modules on Insight Led selling and Advanced Customer Management will help you to shape your sales narrative, so contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to find out how you can secure a place in the 2019 Academy Program.