Story telling is an important life skill. We all love to hear a great story. Our kids spend endless hours in grade school learning how to draft, write and edit stories. We’re drawn to people that have great stories or are wonderful story-tellers.
So why have businesses and salespeople, for the most part, become so bad at telling their story? It seems like “Telling the Sales Story” is a lost art. I’ve got my running list of common reasons salespeople fail at new business development. Near the top of the list is the salesperson who doesn’t have or can’t communicate a succinct, compelling, relevant, differentiating and customer-centered story.
The sales story is the most used and most important sales weapon.
It’s essential that sales teams are equipped with the necessary weapons and that they’re proficient at firing those weapons. The story is the most critical weapon because it’s used all day, everyday.
The sales story becomes a source document or foundation for other key sales weapons: Snippets of the story get used to help craft proactive telephone call and voicemail outlines. Other parts end up in emails launched at prospects. Great probing questions are crafted from the powerful part of our story where we talk about the pains/problems/issues we solve for customers. Presentations are built by pulling elements of the story.
A great sales story produces confidence and pride.
I love the picture I found for this post. Check out the boy’s expression. He’s not embarrassed. He’s not scared. I’ve seen it over and over. Having a great story helps the rep be proud of what he/she is selling. The salesperson loves being able to articulate the value their solution brings and is excited to share it. A powerful story produces confidence in the salesperson. How much easier is it to make a proactive (cold) call to a prospect when you know your story is on-target and powerful? Unfortunately, the opposite is also true (and more common). Salespeople with a lame story usually lack passion and are less willing and less excited to talk with prospects. How sad is that?
Your story is an opportunity to differentiate in the market and justify your premium pricing.
The sales story is “gift-wrap” on your offering. It’s the packaging, curb-appeal of the house, the plating of an exquisite meal at a fine restaurant. It’s the verbal communication of your brand, of the value you create, the experience you deliver. Your story provides the chance to set your company apart from competitors. You can’t expect to win business with a premium priced offering if your story doesn’t justify the higher price!
It’s worth the time, thought and energy to take a look at what you or your team is using for a story. It’s your most important sales weapon.