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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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Now displaying: May, 2022

At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

May 25, 2022

Everyone has a filter and when they know they’re being sold to, they shut down. However, storytelling bypasses that filter and connects directly with the emotional brain. It helps your brain determine if you trust that person. Stories are the oldest form of communication. If it works so well as a method of communication, why wouldn’t it work in selling? 

That’s why—in his book “The Ultimate Selling Story”—Roy shares how to “Cut through the marketing clutter, forge a powerful bond with your market, and set up the sale using the hero’s journey of story selling.” Learn more of his methods in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:54] Why is storytelling important in sales?
  • [2:08] Can anyone learn the art of storytelling? 
  • [3:48] The great storytelling formula: PAISA
  • [6:47] What are the attributes of a great story seller?
  • [9:41] Resources to improve story selling
  • [11:07] Roy’s top 3 story selling dos and don’ts
  • [15:23] The Titans of Direct Response

Can anyone learn the art of storytelling?

Some people are naturally gifted at storytelling. If you aren't one of them, you can learn how. Everyone’s heard of the hero’s journey. There are equivalent templates in storytelling and story selling. There are common structures and common purposes. If you want to get better, you have to practice. You can also do things to get out of your own head. For example, Roy joined an improv comedy class. 

The great storytelling formula: PAISA

Roy notes that the story itself is important but telling a good story doesn’t make you a great story seller. You need to build a character that shows a relationship with the prospect. Then you need to nail the story context.

Then you have to implement the great storytelling formula: PAISA

  • Problem: You start by connecting with someone in the context of their problem—an actual problem or an unfulfilled desire. 
  • Agitate: You have to agitate the emotions that make them want to take action.
  • Invalidate: You have to invalidate the other options they’ve considered (i.e. a competitor)
  • Solution: What is an effective solution to the problem that you started with? 
  • Action: What action do you take in the end? What does it take to close the deal? 

You can use these two strategies to craft and tell great stories. 

The attributes of a great story seller

Roy believes that a great story seller needs three main attributes:

  • The ability to actively listen: You may think that sales is one-way communication and putting yourself out there. But you have to pay attention to what your prospect cares about and is interested in. It will improve your ability to sell because you can cater your stories to the prospect. 
  • The desire to gather stories: If you have your own great PAISA stories, client stories, etc. you need to gather them so you have a story available when you need to use one. 
  • The knowledge that you need to understand your audience: What matters to them? Are you curious enough to set your ego aside and pay attention to what your audience is engaged with? 

One of the best things that can happen when you tell stories is when you imagine the story you’re telling. If Roy is telling a story about what someone is facing at work, he starts by imagining what their office environment is like. Imagining the three-dimensional space makes the story more compelling because you’ll include details instead of just outlining points. 

Roy’s top 3 story selling dos and don’ts

  • Don’t think just because you tell a story that someone will buy. You still need a great offer that matches your audience. If your story doesn't build trust and serve the selling message, they won’t buy.
  • Don’t forget that your job is to move the sale forward. An individual story may not close the deal but it may take the customer further toward making a decision. Maybe the goal of a story is to get their attention, book the next phone call, or get them to believe in your product. 
  • Don’t tell a story without a purpose. If your story doesn’t have a sales purpose, it’s not doing its job—and may make the prospect question why they’re listening to you. 
  • Start in the middle of the action instead of at the beginning. You don’t need the backstory. Start in the context of what’s going on in the moment that’s closest to the point of decision or peak excitement. Eugene Schwartz once said, “Every good sales message should open like an action movie.” 
  • How does the story serve the buying decision process? The prospect needs to make a sequence of decisions to propel them toward a purchase. Your prospect needs a pathway.
  • Include conflict in the story to make it interesting. A level of animosity, conflict, etc. makes the story more compelling. 

Listen to the whole episode to hear Roy tell a compelling story that sells.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Roy Furr

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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May 18, 2022

Storytelling helps people make decisions. How? Cognitive science helps us understand that as humans, we don’t make decisions the way that we like to think we do. We aren’t always rational logical creatures who assess the data and come to the most logical conclusions. Most of the time, our subconscious emotional brain makes a decision. A few nanoseconds later, our logical brain justifies and rationalizes that decision. If you want to influence people’s decisions, you need to speak to both parts of the brain. Storytelling is a spectacular way to do this. Paul Smith shares the key ingredients necessary to craft stories that sell in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Why is storytelling an important skill to possess in sales?
  • [2:18] Is storytelling something that can be learned?
  • [3:27] The 3 key ingredients of great storytelling
  • [5:18] A great storyteller needs stories to tell
  • [6:40] Improve your storytelling abilities with these resources
  • [7:47] Top storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:16] A tale of swimming pigs

The 3 key ingredients of great storytelling

Most great storytellers—movie directors, screenwriters, novelists—will typically tell you that you need three key elements to build a great story:

  • A hero people care about
  • A villain they’re afraid of
  • An epic battle between the two

The hero people care about is a relatable main character that the buyer can relate to. Tell a story about another client who faced the same challenge they are. The villain is a relevant challenge that your audience is likely to run into themselves. The “epic battle” is a worthy lesson learned through struggle. If you translate those into a sales story it becomes a relatable character facing a relevant challenge who learns a worthy lesson. Simple, yet compelling.

A great storyteller needs stories to tell

It’s helpful for a salesperson to have an outgoing personality and the ability to talk to strangers. But most importantly, Paul emphasizes that you need stories to tell. Paul believes having stories to tell is more important than being a great storyteller. Why? Most salespeople aren’t professional performance artists, actors, public speakers, etc. No one expects you to be. But no one wants their time wasted with a boring or irrelevant story. So you must be intentional about cultivating stories. The story is more important than the delivery.

Top storytelling dos and don’ts

Never apologize or ask permission to tell a sales story. If you’re in a sales meeting with a potential client, don’t say, “Sorry to interrupt—can I tell a quick story? I promise it'll only take a minute!” That communicates that what you have to say isn’t important. If you don’t think it’s important, don’t tell it. 

Secondly, don’t announce that you’re telling a story. Doing so is neither exciting nor captivating. It turns most people off. They’ll automatically think that it’ll be boring and irrelevant. If you tell a great story, they’ll be fascinated and learn from it.

Lastly, Paul recommends that you keep your stories to two minutes or less—they shouldn’t be long epics. Leadership stories can be 3–5 minutes long because they can command an audience. You don’t have that luxury in sales. 

Need help with crafting compelling stories? Get Paul’s “25 Stories Salespeople Need” in the resources below. 

A tale of swimming pigs

Paul was at an art fair in Cincinnati with his wife, who was looking for some art to hang in their kids’ bathroom. They walked up to a booth selling mesmerizing underwater photography. One of the photos struck Paul—it was a photo of a pig swimming in the ocean. So he asked the photographer about it. That’s when the magic started. 

He said, “That picture was taken off the coast of an island in the Bahamas called “Big Major Cay.” A local entrepreneur decided to raise a pig farm on an uninhabited island. But there was no vegetation growing on the beach other than cacti. The pigs had nothing to eat. So a local restaurant owner on a neighboring island boated his kitchen refuse and dumped it just offshore. 

While pigs don’t normally swim, slowly but surely they all learned to swim so they could get to the good. Three generations later, all of the pigs on the island can swim. When the photographer got to the island to photograph the pigs, he didn’t even have to get out of the boat. The pigs swam to him immediately. Paul paid cash for the photo immediately—he HAD to have it. 

Two minutes earlier, that was just a stupid photo. After hearing the photographer’s story, he had to have it. The story is what made the art interesting. And that’s why it’s hanging in Paul’s bathroom. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Paul Smith

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
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May 11, 2022
Storytelling is the best way to help someone learn and understand the value of a new concept, product, or service. Mary Jane Copps also believes that it’s a great way to build rapport. In this episode of the Sales Reinvented podcast, Mary Jane shares how a good story is crafted, what makes a great storyteller, and even tells one of her favorite stories. Don’t miss it!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:46] Why is storytelling an important skill to possess?
  • [1:35] Is storytelling something that can be learned?
  • [2:08] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [3:26] The attributes of a great storyteller
  • [5:03] Improve your storytelling abilities with these resources
  • [6:38] Top 3 storytelling dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [10:37] The importance of follow up in sales

The ingredients of a great story that sells

What makes for a great story that sells? According to Mary Jane Copps, you need to start with a challenge that is customized to the audience you’re speaking to. The story must include some sort of lesson or challenge that you overcome. Mary Jane points out that there needs to be a hero. The hero may be the product or service—or even you. But storytelling is also a great way for people to get to know you. You can make them laugh. It allows you to build trust. A good story can help someone go, “I should work with this person.” 

The attributes of a great storyteller

When you’re telling a story, you need to pace yourself. You need a good tone of voice and delivery to build excitement and trust. You have to customize it to the audience you're speaking to. You must also be empathetic. It tells the prospect you’ll have empathy and compassion with them. If you’re telling a story about yourself, you must be humble. 

Want to improve your storytelling abilities? Be sure to check out the resources below!

Top 3 storytelling dos and top 3 don’ts

What does Mary Jane live by when it comes to storytelling? 

  • Humor is key. Once people are laughing, you know you have their full attention and that they're enjoying themselves. 
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable as a storyteller. Tell your story truthfully—share successes and the failures you had to overcome. Vulnerability allows you to build a strong foundation of trust.
  • Match the story to the audience. You shouldn’t tell a story for the sake of telling a story. Instead, it should match what is important to the prospect or customer.
  • Don’t be boastful. When you’re selling, you have to share the success you’ve realized with other clients. It’s an important aspect of growing a business and creating revenue. However, do it humbly.
  • Don’t make your story a novel. When you go to networking events or cocktail parties, no one wants to get stuck with the person who is telling stories and never stops. Make them pithy, easy to listen to, and don’t take over the entire conversation.
  • Don’t go off-topic. Don’t throw in a story that you enjoy but has nothing to do with the conversation at hand.

The importance of follow up in sales

Mary Jane met an entrepreneur with three young children who also owned three franchises. One day, she happened to be home and a young person with a lawn maintenance company knocked on her door to give her a quote on maintaining her lawn. As a busy young Mom, she would delegate anything she could. He left the quote in her mailbox—and she never heard from him again. They never followed up.

When she shared the story with Mary Jane, she said “If you want my business, you call me. It doesn’t matter how much I need the help…if they didn't have the time to follow up with me, they weren’t going to get my business.”

Don’t confuse persistence with pestering. You want to follow up to show your prospects you want their business. You understand they’re busy and you’re taking responsibility for making the relationship happen.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mary Jane Copps

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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May 4, 2022

Too many sales reps treat territory sales planning reactively. Many sales reps get a call from clients, jump in the car, and drive off. They aren’t managing their territory. How can they reduce reactivity? By time blocking. Block in different areas of your territory to visit on different days to help yourself stay organized. You can also time-block different segments to look at different verticals or disciplines. Rick Denley believes the key to success is proactive planning. Because if you don’t have a good plan, success will become further out of reach. Hear more of his thoughts on territory sales management in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] Why is territory sales planning underrated? 
  • [1:31] Reduce reactivity in territory management by time-blocking
  • [2:40] Rick’s ideal territory sales territory plan
  • [3:35] The attributes of a great territory sales manager 
  • [5:17] Tools, tactics, and strategies, to improve sales planning skills
  • [6:30] Top territory sales planning dos and don’ts
  • [9:00] Align knowledge and expertise in your territory

Rick’s ideal territory sales plan

Rick notes that you need to start by analyzing the market and your segment of customers. Then you need to identify the business environment that you’re working with. You likely have different verticals and different types of customers. 

Rick also suggests performing a SWOT analysis of the market. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? What is your position in the marketplace? Where do you want to spend more time? Where should you spend less time? How you use your time is vital. 

How are you organizing your time and efforts throughout your territory to make sure that you’re focusing where you need to? If you’re looking to grow and find new business, that dictates a different territory management approach than if you’re maintaining existing accounts. 

With very few exceptions, the 80/20 rule applies—you get 80% of your business from 20% of your clients. So you have to cover that 20% so you don’t lose business. It takes far more effort to get new customers. 

Rick’s favorite territory management tool: SmartDraw

Rick suggests utilizing SmartDraw to map out your territory. It’s software that helps you build a visual representation of your territory. This allows you to focus on where you’re spending time and where your business is coming from geographically. You can also color-code it to see what verticals the business is coming from. When account reps move things around or the organization changes, it’s easy to make any edits in this software tool. 

Top territory sales planning dos and don’ts

Rick shares his favorite territory management tips:

  • Time block: Time block a month ahead so you know where your focus will be each day. You will look professional and organized.
  • Set growth goals and establish targets within your territory. You want to drive more sales but need to do that by setting realistic goals. Maybe a portion of your territory isn’t well covered. Plan to go there one day a week for the next three months.
  • Develop a strategy map with your sales territory, targets, and goals. Create a strategy and use software to visually map it out. 
  • Review and track your results so you can measure success in your territory and categories. Create a visual map to show where business is coming from and growing.

Align territories with a sales rep’s knowledge and expertise

When Rick was in sales leadership, he was working closely with 12 sales reps. They were in the process of shifting them to different territories. Rick acknowledges that it was painful. People don’t like change. 

They had to map out each of their accounts. Back in the day, that meant physically mapping them out on a map of Canada. They had different stick pins for different organizations and industry verticals. 

They understood that aligning sales reps with knowledge and expertise in a specific industry with the clients who were the best match was key. Too many sales reps are given territories that they can’t handle. So they assigned food and beverage to one rep, pharmaceutical to another, and so forth. They saw tremendous results from aligning specialties with client needs.

You have to be open and flexible to change within territories—don’t act like you own it. Things will change on an ongoing basis. The customer needs to be first. Secondly, it can be good to get others involved in your territory to maximize the amount of revenue you can generate from it. 

Resources & People Mentioned 

Connect with Rick Denley

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

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