Everyone loves a good story. As sales professionals, we can use that universal truth to support our own sales effectiveness. Let’s first differentiate between “storytelling” and “telling stories.” “Telling stories” refers to making up facts and figures, or manipulating information to support our sales goals – never a good idea! “Storytelling,” on the other hand, is incorporating personal experiences (yours or others’) into your sales message to verbally demonstrate the benefits of the product or service being sold.
Why is storytelling so powerful? First, it creates a human connection with your audience. The importance of that human connection to cultivating long-term, productive customer relationships cannot be overstated. Storytelling also makes your message more interesting, more enjoyable, and therefore, more memorable. An entertaining and relevant story is often a highlight in the successful sales presentation, providing a nice contrast to the facts and figures of your sales message. It causes the audience to relax and get out of “decision-making” mode for a few moments. A good story allows the sales professional to give the audience a sense of who they are as a person, and perhaps share his/her sense of humor.
Think about the best sales professionals you know or have observed in your career. Chances are they have exemplary storytelling skills that allow them to consistently captivate, engage and move their audience to positive action. Isn’t that the very definition of successful selling?