How a business can find its credibility stories
To find your credibility stories, first, identify the three most common objections or challenges – the ones you hear on a regular basis. Here are a few that my clients tell me they hear often:
Do you have a current customer or client who initially had one of those objections or challenges? Did you find a creative way to get past the objection? Are they now one of your “happy camper” clients who sing your praises?
The story of one of your current customers who told you your price was too high but ended up hiring you anyway is a perfect credibility story. However, it has to be carefully constructed in a way that triggers an emotional response. It’s not just a touchy-feely story, however. It also contains facts, data and percentages.
Do storytelling sales techniques work for technical products?
Using stories to sell is even more important when your product is technical in nature. While salespeople love to talk about how their product works, going deep into the technical details and data often makes the customer gets lost and slip into a content coma.
Bullet points and dense technical slide decks tend to serve the needs of the salesperson, more than the needs of the customer.
Consider the story I share about giving my sick dog a pill. Every time I shoved the pill down her throat, she spat it back out. When I hid the pill in a scoop of peanut butter, she swallowed the pill very easily.
This metaphorical story explains what I teach salespeople to do. The pill is your content, data and product knowledge. When you overload your sales conversation with too much “pill”, your customer can’t swallow it. They get bored and check out on you. But when you embed just the right amount of “pill” in a story, it sticks like peanut butter.
Make your message memorable when storytelling
It is very important for your message to be memorable. When you understand how the brain of your listener is activated by a story, you can use storytelling to be more persuasive and memorable. If after your speech, no one remembers anything you said, you have failed in your communication.
Take a moment now to think about a movie that you first saw over ten years ago. What do you remember when you recall this movie?
I bet that the first thing that came to your mind was an image or a scene. If I asked you to describe the scene, you could do it in vivid detail. You remember the actors, their clothes, the location, the situation, and the emotions. You can see these images as easily now as you did when you were watching the movie.
First, we remember in pictures and images. Next, we remember the emotions connected to those pictures and images. We see and feel and re-experience the scene in real-time.
What you often remember last is dialogue. But compared to how vividly you remember the images, you probably don’t remember much of the dialogue. Maybe you remember a line that has become famous by repetition, like “make my day” or “life is like a box of chocolates.” Your brain remembers pictures first. It then remembers the emotional context, and finally, it remembers language.
How to make your sales story stick
To make my stories stick, I use what I call a Phrase That Pays – mental velcro that makes a point of your story stick. Because they (your audience) remember the story, they remember the point. When they remember the point, it becomes actionable. What’s the point of developing a sales presentation filled with great content if no one remembers anything, takes action, or changes his or her behaviour?
By its very nature, a story is an emotionally arousing event that engages listeners and holds their attention. With the advent of cell phones, competing for your audience members’ attention is the first challenge a speaker or leader faces. Good storytelling solves that problem. Then, using storytelling craft, we can attach meaning to the story with a well-chosen point.
Doug is a former US actor who has brought lessons from the theatre and the power of great storytelling to lead, engage and sell, to the corporate world. He has translated these techniques into what he calls The Story Theater Method for Strategic Storytelling in Business and has successfully taught the skills to a wide range of salespeople across diverse companies and industries.