Storytelling makes your proposition memorable. In the sales process, as unique as we think we are, all sales presentations start to sound the same. I know, I know, that just can’t be. Trust me, I was on the recipient end as a business owner for years and they do. With that said, throw in a couple of well placed pertinent stories… now I can differentiate you from the others. I have now peered into your persona at some level. You are more than someone trying to squeeze a buck from me. You make sense that I can relate to at a different personal level.
Obviously most sales professionals feel they do this successfully. In reality many don’t. Let’s turn that around.
10 items to think about before telling a story
Below are 10 items to think about before telling a story:
2.) Storytelling should not be confused with rambling on various subjects not specific to the end goal. It should always have a purpose.
3.) Storytelling makes the recipient, potential customer, more relaxed.
4.) Sales Storytelling should never include items that you wouldn’t tell your grandma about. Well at least my grandma anyways.
“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” ― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
5.) Make sure you get to the point quickly.
6.) Never one-up the recipient with a “better” story. Very challenging for me personally.
7.) Never start a meeting with a story when you were just told there was a time constraint. As the conversation proceeds maybe you can slip one in if appropriate and short.
8.) Storytellers do close more deals.
9.) Keep age, religion, and politics out of your storytelling process if at all possible.
10.) Do not embellish. Well at least not too much. There are those out there that may know as much as you and will call you out on your “facts”. Once your credibility is gone it’s gone forever.
Sales Storytelling is more of a practiced art than most understand. It really is something that a sales professional needs to think about and practice prior to usage.
Sales storytelling is a key tool in closing deals
Take some time to perfect your craft. If you feel you’re a less than accomplished storyteller don’t fluff this off as unimportant. It can be a powerful tool that most likely will help you get to that next level desired.
Chris Lott has over 15 year’s Sales Management experience including Business Ownership, Product Management and Web Design/Marketing. He’s a national sales team strategist and trainer. Chris is the designer of the popular totallysales™ sales playbook with thousands of copies downloaded. He’s a nationally syndicated author with his articles on SalesBlog! rated as a “top must-read” on consultative selling.
The skills you need to improve in sales are mostly found in the fundamentals. While there are a great number of people and companies that promise that this technology or that one will improve your sales results, you are better off working on improving your ability to conduct a sales conversation with your prospective clients.
The skills you need to improve your sales include:
Scheduling a first meeting
Creating value in the sales conversation
Diagnosing client scenarios
Before we look at each of the primary skills that make great salespeople, it's important to recognize thatselling is a craft.The only way you can improve your results is through practice, and studying what works, what doesn't, and when and how to use certain strategies, tactics, and conversations.
When working to improve in any endeavor, it’s necessary to develop skills that support the outcomes you need. Selling is a series of conversations. The greater your skills, the better these conversations will be, and the more they help the client improve their outcomes. You have to practice these skills to learn them.
The first outcome a salesperson needs to create is a first meeting, so the first skill of a great salesperson is the ability to obtain a commitment from a prospective client. Every step forward requires you to gain another commitment from your contacts.
In theLost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales, you will find 10 different commitments that allow you to facilitate the client's buyer's journey. This starts with the commitment for time, exploring change, committing to change, collaborating, building consensus, investments, reviewing solutions, resolving concerns, deciding, and executing. In this book, you will find the Trading Value Rule, which helps your clients commit to the next step.
The goal of prospectingis creating a first meeting, which requires picking up the phone and calling a stranger. Those who do well at booking meetings are not conflict averse and don't worry much about the occasional grouchy person hanging up on them. They have the thick skin that prevents them from believing they were personally rejected.
Salespeople who are skilled at scheduling a first meeting trade value for the client's time. When a contact refuses the meeting, the salesperson gently restates the value the client will receive by taking the meeting. They are also skilled at addressing the client's concern that a meeting will be a waste of time.
Improving this skill means making many hundreds of calls and becoming immune to any negative outcomes. By practicing each day, you'll improve your sales results.
Creating Value in the Sales Conversation
This is a higher hurdle to clear. It's also the most important skill when you are sitting across the table from your contacts. To enable this skill, you must bring business acumen to a conversation with your clients. When we talk aboutcreating value, your primary goal is to educate your clients on a key aspect of their business. While your ultimate goal is helping the client make the best decision for their business, you achieve this through a series of business conversations.
This sales skill is the one to rule them all. If you are unable to create value for your clients ina sales conversation, improving your outcomes is close to impossible. This higher-level skill requires that you study the modern sales approach and possess the insights that your contacts find valuable. This skill is one you must practice every day, in every sales call. It is more difficult to acquire, but by studying, you can improve faster.
Diagnosing Client Scenarios
Your client has problems and challenges. What once worked for them now fails. They are uncertain about what to do or who to work with to turn things around. The person who can explain why the client has the problems that harm their results will grab their attention. Following that explanation, a highly skilled salesperson willdiagnose the root causeof the problem and what the client will need to do to improve their results.
Having practiced this for years, you will find that, at some point, you can immediately recognize the pattern that allows you to assess the scenario in a blink of an eye. The education you develop over hundreds of meetings with your clients adds up, making you a sort of expert in the different client scenarios you encounter over time.
There are a lot of people who believe the stories salespeople tell should be about their company and all the ways they have helped their clients. While these stories are sometimes helpful, modern storytelling is about the external environment and its impact on the client's business. It also tells a story about what works now, what doesn't, and why. These stories depend on business acumen anda perspective that helps clients learnand understand how to turn things around.
One way to think about your stories is that you are making sense of your clients’ world and how to best address their challenges. These stories carry more weight than some of the legacy stories about your company and your solutions.
In many deals, improving your sales skills will require you to negotiate with your contacts, even the nice ones who must do right by their company and ask for a discount or concession. When you are new to sales, you might fear that pushing back will cause you to lose deals. By improving your skills over time, you will learn to ask for something valuable in exchange for whatever you give your new client.
Like all the skills here, the only way to acquire them is to practice. Selling isn't something that you can learn from books alone. Reading can help you get started, but you need to practice to improve your skills.
While attending an insurance conference recently I was asked to participate in a Q&A panel called Ask the Experts where I was pinpointed as being very effective at networking and building relationships. I was then asked to provide some actionable steps someone can take to be better at relationship building in business. After giving a short, but effective response I wanted to expand on it more, and therefore in this article you'll find some excellent information on some simple steps you can take to truly build a vast network full of deep relationships that will allow you to elevate your business as well as the business of others.
"No One Cares How Much You Know, Until They Know How Much You Care."
We've all heard this old adage before, and as cliché as it may sound it is absolutely and unequivocally spot on. The first step in building effective relationships in your business is that you must genuinely and authentically care about people. This is one of those things that you cannot "fake it until you make it." If you do not sincerely care about the well-being and success of others you should cease reading this article immediately and go gaze in the mirror at your own reflection.
By definition caring is someone or something that shows kindness and concern for others. A person who is concerned about others and who does kind things for them is an example of someone who would be described as caring. Insert care emoji. But how do we effectively show someone that we care? Maya Angelou wrote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. In other words, if we want to build a positive relationship with someone, we need to invoke positive emotions. Feelings of love, happiness, admiration and appreciation. We'll know we've accomplished this when we see someone smile as a direct effect of our actions.
Consumer behavior and shopping habits continue to evolve within the Medicare marketplace. Today, marketers need to understand how to navigate these new paradigms to ensure continued success.
Check out the following four tips to reinforce your lead generation and sales strategies for AEP and beyond:
1.Understand the Digital Divide A tremendous shift has taken place over the last several years in the AEP lead generation marketplace. What was previously dominated by direct mail and one-to-one, agent-to-customer relationships have largely shifted to a digital marketplace. The major impact of this shift? Lead aggregators are bidding aggressively on search terms, which in turn is driving up costs year over year.
2.Know Thy Customer While customers are shopping more, the amount of switching lags the increase in shopping behavior. This speaks to the power of brand and the importance of meaningful customer relationships. To avoid being negatively impacted by switching, agencies must spend time before AEP (between October 1 and October 15) going after new customers and nurturing their existing customer base. One idea? Know your customers’ ANOC changes before they do, and have a proactive plan to help them make changes, if warranted.
3.Strike While the Iron’s Hot Search engine marketing (SEM)-sourced leads begin to lose value seconds after they’re generated. In order to maximize the value of a digital lead from SEM, agents must be prepared to contact their lead no more than 15 minutes after the lead is generated. That will, for some agencies, require new technologies and sales behaviors to make the most of leads from this source.
4.Not All Digital Leads are Created Equal While intent-based ads (such as SEM via Google) age quickly, other types of advertising such as interest-based ads on Facebook can have a longer shelf life. These particular ads have been shown – in the experience of our team team – to perform better when contact is made more than one hour after a lead has been received.