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Storytelling is the great sales differentiator…

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You’re hitting the sales trail with a great product. It’s a winner, in terms of design; the look, feel, and overall aesthetic will dazzle. Most importantly it will solve a problem, and help clients grow the top line. The product development team hit a home run. The marketing team has done their part, the buzz is palpable, the leads are coming in, and the product brochures are slick. You also have a sales quota that matches the buzz, no shortage of competition, and the highest price on the market. These things won’t just sell themselves, you need to resonate with your clients.

Rough sketch of piezoelectric sensor frequency response (relationship between force input and voltage output vs frequency). Low frequencies are filtered out by the leakage resistance, and high frequencies resonate. The useful region for a sensor is usually in the flat area. Imitating graphs on http://www.designinfo.com/kistler/ref/tech_theory_text.htm and http://www.sensorsmag.com/articles/0204/27/main.shtml.

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman

If something is so good it’ll just sell itself were true, then why are you on the payroll? Believe that old fallacy and we’ve got great low-tide real estate with your name on it. There are many factors that go into becoming a sales professional. It’s not just enough to be good. Being a great salesperson is more than just having a good product, that’s well priced, with quality prospects, and a lot of your own perseverance. Great salespeople are truly great storytellers. 

Just like public speaking isn’t “natural” for everyone; not everyone is a naturally gifted storyteller. Great storytelling is a mix of personality (you need a healthy dash of theatrics) and process (the sense of actual story structure). Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Bring your product to lifeTurn it into a character. Your audience needs to imagine how it talks, and what it will say. Give your product some dialogue, give it a life. 
  • Know your audienceStay engaged with your audience, and make sure they feel part of the story. Be in tune with their reactions, both verbal and non-verbal. 
  • Great storytelling will have an immense impact. You’ll be motivating and entertaining people. Your influence is an artistic and creative blend of your words, body language, facial expressions, and interpretations. You’ll be able to turn the unsexy into something so sexy and relevant your prospects will have to buy.

Storytelling is always about getting your audience fully connected. These are the three good story types to consider:

  • Make the story personal – take your prospect (step-by-step) through your own painful problem and how you achieved the result they’ll be looking for. 
  • Make the story historically relevant – turn something that’s abstract into a slice of history you prospect will relate to.
  • The “meet the expert” story – share how you worked with an expert who taught you how to solve the problem your product is about. 

Remember, if your story resonates with a potential client, you’ll have the best chance of winning their business. 

- Collin 

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