Eight tips for storytelling to improve sales effectiveness

sales call

Continuing the storytelling focus of a prior post, we came across another blog post on story telling. In that post, this central argument is reinforced: the ability to “sell through storytelling” is a consistent characteristic of top sales performers – particularly in new market categories or high-value purchases where the prospect often simply decides to “do nothing”. Prospects clearly prefer working with educators rather than pitchers and with advisors rather than order takers – and they vote with their wallets. Top sales performers appear to understand this instinctively.”

Here’s an overview of eight suggestions presented in that blog post:

  • Focus on the prospect
  • Leave jargon at home – use language familiar and relevant to the prospect
  • Have well-researched, provocative viewpoints regarding the customer’s environment that will raise the level of conversation to one that customers remember
  • Don’t rely on PowerPoints. While strong images are more powerful than words alone – there are other ways to share images that will encourage discussion, such as white boards or flip charts.
  • Dramatize the story so the contrast between the customer’s current state and desired state – after using your solution – is clear
  • Build up your story collection so you have an appropriate one ready to illustrate a point and advance the sale
  • Role play calls in advance – it always sounds different when you hear what you say aloud!
  • When possible, share unexpected benefits. For example after highlighting the benefits achieved, round off the story by saying something along the lines of “and on top of that, the unexpected benefit was…”

Click here to read the entire article in Entrepreneur Country.

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection.

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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4 Responses to Eight tips for storytelling to improve sales effectiveness

  1. Pingback: Eight tips for storytelling to improve sales effectiveness | Sales ... | Sales Courses in Adelaide

  2. Story telling is a great way to reinforce the benefits and help the prospect relate to the their situation. However, it is important that the sales person doesn’t get carried away and go “off-topic”. Remember the customer is more important and their views are critical to you gaining enough information to help you make the sale.

    • Richard says:

      Just wanted to thank you for your comment and to reinforce the point about “Off-Topic” – because it is a common problem. One should only be telling stories that help to bring to life a key point in the sales narrative and the connection needs to be clear to the customer. A some what related issue is the recognition that too much of a good thing is not a good idea.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Great points on story telling sales pitches! I think the author hit the nail right on the head with the suggestions given. Adding in an unexpected benefit is a nice touch. Thanks for sharing!

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