Sales Storytelling Tip #1 - Buyers Care Most About Their Success

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It was a "great" sales presentation

I once gave a detailed presentation about my products. It contained slide after slide of features. It used vivid colors. It contained stunning graphics. To prove my case, it even included a million bullet points.

I thought it was very impressive. I thought the product's manufacturer should give me a trophy, for representing them so well. 

The problem I created (which you can avoid)

There was only one minor problem with my amazing presentation: it had nothing to do with the buyers or their needs. They rewarded me by ending the meeting. They whispered something about being clueless, but I didn't hear it clearly.

How I Fixed It (which you can leverage)

I always perform a lessons-learned session after each meeting. I took out a sheet of paper and divided it into two columns, "What Worked Well" and "What Bombed." Then I wrote the top three points in each column:

Lessons Learned

What Worked Well (that I'll repeat next time)

  • Product knowledge
  • Product knowledge  
  • Product knowledge

What Bombed (that I'll never repeat, ever)

  • Not asking questions, to learn the buyers' needs
  • Not tying product features to buyers' needs
  • Not seeking acceptance that my features met buyers' needs

Did you see the common theme about what bombed?

The Cure

I solved my sloppy sales presentation problems with a two-pronged approach:

  1. Ask questions to learn the buyers' needs.
  2. For each need,
    • Tell a story of someone with a similar need, and how my product met it.
    • Ask them how their need was similar to the hero of my story.
    • Point out that I solved it for the story's hero, and I could do the same for them.
    • Use a summary close to ask for the order.

How Stories Affect Buyers' Brains

The right stories can release these chemicals in the brain:

  • Cortisol, when they feel distress
  • Oxytocin, when they feel empathy
  • Dopamine, where there's a happy ending

Imagine the following short story, and its effect on the brain:

  • The hero is in trouble (Cortisol)
  • The hero is struggling to succeed (Oxytocin)
  • The hero succeeds (Dopamine)
  • If you want to be like the hero, do what the hero did: buy my product.

We all make decisions for emotional reasons first, and then we rationalize our decisions. Imagine how your well-crafted story can help buyers choose you.

What's Next?

Watch your Inbox for the next Sales Storytelling tip.

In case you can't wait...

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Tip #2 - The Structure of a Compelling Sales Story

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Tip #3 - How Stories Fit Into Your Selling Process

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Bonus Tip #4 - Next Step