Nobody Can Resist a Good Story Well Told
One of my favorite assignments is to work with sales teams and help them use stories to drive more sales. It amuses me to ask them, “Have you ever noticed that it seems as if our prospects are often trained to resist our sales presentations?” However, it is my belief that when we use well-chosen stories, examples, and case histories in our sales presentations, they become more memorable.
When we have strong competition, we must tell better stories. In this context we tell stories that relate to how we improve our client’s condition. You may call them examples or case histories. They are stories. The most important type of story is about your satisfied clients who are enjoying the benefits of your product or service.
The happy client story formula is situation, solution, success.
I might ask you, “May I have a reference of one of your clients who has benefitted from your service?” You would say, “Yes, Patricia, feel free to call Diane Brooks. Just like you, she is a successful entrepreneur who needed our help with managing her business finances, accounting, and bookkeeping. We have worked with her for the last five years, and she is very satisfied with our service.”
Your sales stories must be true, but not necessarily 100% accurate as stories shrink time. You can put what may have been multiple meetings and calls into one conversation. Developing your relationship may take weeks. Telling your story will take a few minutes.
This is the situation.
Remember when you first met your client and they said, “Help . . .” and clearly articulated their problem?
“Help! Our current technology partner is costing us too much!”
Or “Help! We are not compliant.”
Or “Help! We assumed experienced technology professionals would be able to tell our story effectively!”
In good storytelling, the situation is always told in the client’s words.
The client’s situation is their problem, the pain, and it is like that of the prospect you are now talking to.
The solution is what you did for the client with your product, your service, or your technology. This can be in your words. You explain your process so that your prospects can see what it is like working with you. You can use phrases like this: “What Diane benefited from is the usual three-step approach we take with each new client. First we . . .” This also answers your prospect’s unasked question: “If we say, ‘Yes,’ what happens next?”
The third part of this formula is success.
This is the end of the story, the happily ever after: How did you improve their condition?
Just as with the situation, this needs to be in the client’s words. You can repeat their glowing comments. When you use their words, they will be more expansive than you would be about yourself. However, their words are specific.
Let us go back to our example about Diane.
“Patricia, if Diane were here, she would tell you, ‘When I first talked to the people at Profit Results my accounting was in a total mess. My last bookkeeper had dropped the ball which resulted in $3,000 in fines and penalties. Even though the professionals at Profit Factor had nothing to do with creating my problem, they went to bat for me. Within three weeks of hiring them, not only did I get my $3,000 refunded, but they also found me more legitimate write-offs, and that resulted in another $8,762 refund. In the first two months of my hiring them, their efforts resulted in enough refunds to pay for their services for the next two years. They have my loyalty for life! You can’t go wrong talking to Jenna.’”
Good luck driving sales with stories. If you would like help, let’s talk. Consider the cost of losing a sales.