12 tips for storytelling during sales calls

Salespeople who are able to share engaging stories that resonate with the listener make a connection. It’s one thing to list why a customer should do business with you; it’s another to be able to relate a past success story that brings that list to life. It’s not a little bit different – it’s a whole lot different.

Here are 12 tips for effective storytelling:

Focus on the prospect – Tell stories that relate to solutions that address the customer’s needs.

  • Leave the jargon at home – Translate the story into language familiar and relevant to the prospect.
  • Make the story make a point – Have well-researched, provocative viewpoints about the story that relate to the customer’s environment.
  • Don’t rely on PowerPoints – Verbal communication is a better way to create images when telling a story.
  • Dramatize the story – Make clear the contrast between the customer’s current state and their desired state after using your solution.
  • Build up your story inventory – Have an appropriate story ready to illustrate a point and advance the sale.
  • Role-play the telling in advance – It always sounds different when you hear what you say aloud!
  • End with an unexpected benefit – 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 …”
  • Punch up the story – Keep your audience engaged with your story, challenging conventional wisdom, and using appropriate humor.
  • Use images – Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Spend more time preparing – Your presentation should not be a features “dump.” It should be tailored to your audience, focusing on what you know about them, your understanding of their needs, and how your solution will help them achieve their goals.

©2018 Sales Momentum® LLC

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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