The Stories Every Salesperson Needs

A great salesperson is a great story-teller. Throughout the ages, stories have remained the primary way of capturing people’s attention and firing their imagination; and in today’s over-hyped consumer society, stories cut-through the noise to powerfully influence your customer’s decisions.

Why Stories Work

One of the truest statements about human behaviour is: Logic makes them think; emotion makes them act. Most salespeople have no trouble with the first part – making their customer think with an impressive list of features and benefits. They are often frustrated, however, 모바일홀덤 because while the customer is acknowledging the value of all the enticements, they are still not buying! When pressed, some customers will even say, “It just doesn’t feel right.” This is because one part of the brain – the Neocortex which processes information – is very satisfied; but there is one major part which is unconvinced – the Limbic Brain which deals in images and emotions. This is the part of the brain that is engaged when we listen to a story. Most importantly, it is the Limbic Brain that is responsible for all decision making. Stories help your customer ‘feel right’ about their buying decision.

There are four basic stories that every salesperson needs.

The Purpose Story

The most powerful way you can influence the Limbic Brain is to move beyond the what and the how of what you do to the why. As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

So, if you are a Financial Planner, you might tell the story about why you moved into this profession – why helping people plan for a secure future is important to you.

The USP Story

Every company needs to work relentlessly to articulate their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). And, of course, this needs constantly updating, because in today’s fast-moving world, what was unique yesterday is commonplace today.

It is concerning the number of salespeople who, when asked to describe their USPs, gave answers that were vague, forgettable or irrelevant. So, assuming that these are understood, the next step is to identify stories that help customers to understand them.

Is your USP connected to your size (large or boutique), your specialty, your accessibility, or some other factor? What can you do better than any of your competitors – and what story best epitomises this?

The Values Story

Good salespeople are constantly trying to sell the ‘value package’. Unless customers are sold on the full value of the offering, they will fall into the trap of the lowest commodity supplier. They find out the value of back-up, customer service and reliability only when it’s too late.

Often, it’s awkward to work into the conversation how you value your professional reputation or how your company lives its values of fairness and excellence. And, sometimes, if you do say it, the customer can think, “They all say that.” When you tell a story that demonstrates these values, it shows by your actions what you stand for.

The Objection Story

For many salespeople, this is where it gets difficult. The willing customer suddenly becomes resistant – just when you’re about to ask for the sale.

Firstly, don’t be put off. Remember that they still want to buy – or they wouldn’t be wasting their time speaking to you. They may need reassurance for that side of their personality that is more cautious. There may be others that they feel they need to justify their decision to and the objections are really just the questions that they expect to be asked later.

In responding to an objection you are trying to – in the nicest possible way – tell the customer they’re wrong. And we all know how dangerous that is!

This is where stories are particularly effective, because stories are one of the few places where we are happy to be wrong. We love the story with an unexpected ending. We laugh at the joke with the twist in the punch-line. And we can use stories as a non-threatening way of changing a customer’s perspective or their belief about an issue.


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