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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: August, 2022

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

Aug 31, 2022

“Story is a fact, wrapped in context, delivered with emotion.” – Indranil Chakroborty

What triggers the decision for someone to buy something? Emotions. Then we use the rational brain to justify decisions we’ve already made. When you’re selling features and benefits, you talk to the rational part of the brain. But storytelling is a beautiful way of connecting with the emotional part of the brain. When you can do that, you’ve engaged their sense of emotion (what drives the purchase) and sense of logic (which justifies the purchase). Objections are simply anti-stories that you must learn to combat. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Indranil Chakroborty shares how to combat anti-stories with story. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess in sales
  • [1:56] Can you learn to become a gifted storyteller? 
  • [4:30] The 4 critical pieces of a story that sells
  • [6:58] What makes a salesperson great at storytelling? 
  • [8:28] Resources to improve your storytelling abilities 
  • [10:11] Indranil’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [14:08] How to combat anti-stories with storytelling

Can you learn to become a gifted storyteller?

Indranil says to think about your kids when they were young. If you walked into a room and there was a broken vase on the floor, what would they tell you when you asked what happened? Did they tell you they knocked it off the table? Or did they tell a story? 

They probably told a story, right? But did you teach them to tell a story? Probably not. You teach your children mathematics, spelling, handwriting, etc. but you don’t teach them how to tell stories. Kids across the world make things up and tell stories. It is an innate human ability.

But many logical and analytical people label themselves as left-brained. When it comes to crucial business communication, they act like they're only capable of sharing bullet points, facts, and figures. 

Yet before the meeting starts, the “left-brained person” is chit-chatting and telling stories. You may call them experiences but they are stories nonetheless. Indranil emphasizes that salespeople need to open their minds and use that natural gift even in critical business situations. 

The 4 critical pieces of a story that sells

What are the critical things that are required to make a story?

  • It needs to have a sequence of events.
  • It needs to have a time marker and a location marker, i.e. “Once upon a time in a land far far away.” 
  • You need characters.
  • You need an “Aha!” moment that is unexpected, that makes you raise an eyebrow.

You have to be able to tell the story in a way that allows the listener to visualize what’s happening. You need your listeners to be able to empathize with the story. If you include the four elements of the story, get them to visualize the story, and feel it—that’s a great story. 

But how do you make that story sell? What makes a salesperson great at storytelling? Listen to hear Indranil share what it takes. 

Indranil’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Indranil shares some eye-opening dos and don’ts in this episode: 

  • Never use the “S” word. Don’t say, “Let me tell you a story.” People define stories dramatically differently than they define business. When you think of stories, you think of children and made-up stories for entertainment. Business is about adults and nothing should be made up. It’s about facts and data. It’s not about entertainment. So if you use the word “story” most people think it will be frivolous and a waste of time. 
  • Don’t use the “storytelling voice.” You know what it is—a low-pitched eerie voice that you think sounds suspenseful. You are not in the performance business. You aren’t acting out your story. When you modulate your voice, you’ve told people that you’re telling a story. 
  • Chisel out everything that isn’t critical to delivering the message of the story. You want your story to be 90 seconds to two minutes. It’s okay to insert irrelevant details when you’re at a bar talking with a friend—not in business. Share the details that are required.

What are Indranil’s three dos? Listen to find out!

How to combat anti-stories with story

How do you handle an objection, i.e. an anti-story? Indranil notes that pushbacks stem from someone’s belief systems. They come in three forms:

  1. They don’t have enough information
  2. They have a different data analysis
  3. They have a different belief 

You can break through the first two objections with facts, data, and analysis. But you can’t use facts to fight belief. Why? Because belief is a story in someone's mind. And you can only replace a story with a more powerful story. 

Whenever you get pushback on something, determine why they’re pushing back. If it’s based on belief, no amount of arguing or data will work. That’s why you must combat anti-stories with story. So find a story that’s opposite of their belief and share it with them. You’ll put a seed of doubt in their minds and open the door to further conversation. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Indranil Chakroborty

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Aug 24, 2022

Storytelling is the first thing you can use to bring a situation to life and help someone connect with your product or service. Stories also give you credibility. That’s why stories should consist of genuine and relevant examples that help you better connect with your client. Even someone naturally skilled as a storyteller would benefit from learning skills to stay relevant. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s a skill you can build and find success with. Amy Franko shares more of her thoughts on the topic in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] Why storytelling is incredibly important
  • [1:55] Can you learn how to tell stories well? 
  • [2:45] The 3 ingredients of a story that sells
  • [3:59] Attributes of a great storyteller
  • [5:18] Resources to improve your storytelling
  • [6:13] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:09] Involve your clients in your stories

Relevant Examples are key to stories that sell

Amy notes that relevant examples are a key ingredient to great storytelling. So is brevity and credibility. If a client is able to visualize the relevant example you’re sharing with them, it helps them connect to you as a credible source. Secondly, it helps them to connect and visualize—in their own environment—what you’re trying to convey. Do your examples in your stories help your clients challenge their thinking? Do your stories help them see things in a new light?

What are the attributes of a great storyteller? Listen to hear Amy’s thoughts!

Amy’s 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

What can you do to improve your storytelling? Amy’s dos and don’ts are spot-on: 

  • Keep a list of your stories and examples. You experience so many things in your personal and professional life that it’s impossible to catalog all of them in your head. So keep a running list in a notebook or a word document that you can pull from when you’re searching for a relevant example. 
  • Ask 2–3 of your best clients if they’re willing to share the story of your work together. Anytime Amy works with a prospective client, she asks for 2–3 people they can talk to that would be willing to have a conversation.
  • Use data to augment your examples where it makes sense. Don’t lean heavily on data and metrics. The best storytellers can use that data to support a story. It can tell you how you need to change. The more comfortable you are with data, the more useful it becomes.
  • Don’t forget to make your story relevant to the client. You’re better off with no example or story than using one that isn’t relevant to the situation. 
  • Don’t forget what you’ve learned—your own stories and experiences—are valuable to your client’s scenario. Everything that you’ve learned along the way makes who you are. Use it as part of your storytelling process.
  • Don’t forget that brevity is key. If you’re listening to someone tell a story and you lose track or forget what the purpose is, it’s too long. 

Involve your clients in your stories by sharing relevant examples

Amy had successfully made it to the final round in the running for a big opportunity with a client. She knew that she had to stand out from the other two competitors, which can be challenging when someone is seeing multiple presentations. What was her competitive advantage? Stories

Amy got to meet virtually with a number of the stakeholders who were going to be part of the decision making process for this RFP. In that process, Amy learned about them, what was important to them in the project, and what each person’s decision-making process looked like. 

Then she weaved that information into her presentation. She had built rapport through initial conversations and shown that she had listened to them by using relevant examples in her presentation. It helped her overcome the challenge and she ultimately won the RFP. 

Involve your clients in the story where you can. It helps them feel connected. What can you learn and takwary from what they share with you that can be woven into a story? Lastly, Amy emphasizes that you must use stories to connect. People remember stories long after facts, figures, and data. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Amy Franko

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Aug 17, 2022

Human beings are intuitive storytellers. We look up to certain storytellers and clam up and think “Maybe I can’t do that.” But through practice and utilizing narrative frameworks, we can transform from being intuitive to intentional storytellers. Anyone can be just as compelling as someone they seek to emulate. But in this episode of Sales Reinvented, Mark Smyth points out that it helps if you use the “Three Forces of Story.” Learn more about his framework in this episode! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:51] Why storytelling is an important skill
  • [2:11] Can you learn to be a great storyteller? 
  • [3:17] The three forces of story
  • [5:03] Great storytellers are insatiably curious
  • [6:37] Resources to improve storytelling abilities
  • [8:10] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:14] Why a compelling story is impactful

The three forces of story

Mark notes that every story contains a familiar structure: A setup, a problem, and a resolution. Act I, II, and III, a beginning, middle, and end. What makes a great story work? You need to include the “Three forces of story.” You want to start with a statement of agreement. 

You clarify: Who is your audience? What do they want? Why does your solution matter to them? Then you introduce the contradiction, i.e. the problem. Without a problem, you don’t have a story. Then you share the consequence or resolution, or “Here’s how I can help you get over the issue.”

Step two is adding in necessary details. The power of a story rests in the specifics. Add in simple things like when it happened, where it happened, who the character is and what their backstory is, what happened, and the revelation. What will help prove your business point? 

Great storytellers are insatiably curious

Great storytellers are great listeners. You have to be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes—and take the frameworks you’ve learned—and listen for the components of a client’s story. Doing this helps you learn what story to tell at the right time. And when you can repeat their story back to them in a way that’s even more clear, you build trust and connection. 

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Take an authentic and human-first approach to connect with your audience. Storytelling is the greatest human connection tool ever—and more important than ever.

Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Mark shares some great storytelling dos and don’ts: 

  • Don’t repel, do compel: Don’t bore and confuse your audience by leading with facts, figures, numbers, charts, data, etc. without the context of a story. Instead, help your audience understand what you’re trying to say by wrapping it into the context of a story that compels them to action.
  • Don’t be the lightbulb, be the flashlight: Don’t shine the light on yourself. Be the guide that illuminates your audience. Understand what they want, why it’s important, the problem they have, and how you’ll help get them where they want to be. It’s about what you make possible. 
  • Don’t multiply—simplify. Don’t include multiple narratives that will confuse your audience. It’s too easy to let your excitement overwhelm your customer—especially when you know how to solve their problem. You want to tell the world, right? But when you say too much, it’s worse than saying nothing. Focus on the one thing that matters the most to your audience. 

Why a compelling story is impactful

Four years ago on a crisp fall day in the suburbs of Chicago, Mark got a knock on his front door. When he opened the door, he knew he was standing in front of someone about to sell him something. It was a charismatic young gentleman around 10 years old, holding a rake that was twice his size. He introduced himself and explained that he was trying to earn money and noticed that Mark’s yard was full of leaves. He offered to rake his yard.

Mark had been putting the project off for weeks, so it was an easy yes. The young gentleman, Charlie, got to work. Before heading back inside, Mark paused in the doorway and said, “What are you saving up for?” Charlie said he was saving up for a gaming system. His parents said he could have one but he’d have to earn the money to buy it himself. Completely impressed, Mark headed back inside. 20 minutes later, Charlie knocked on the door. He couldn’t possibly be done with the yard.

Charlie’s cheeks were bright red, his nose was dripping, and he had a look of utter defeat written across his face. When Mark asked him what was wrong, he said, “Sir, you’ve got a ton of leaves in your yard. It’s so windy, this is the best I could do.” Mark glanced over to see some barely recognizable leaf piles. But he offered to pay him anyway and asked what he’d charge. 

Charlie proceeded to ask Mark to pay him what he thought the work was worth. Mark paid him a premium because his story was compelling. His story—paired with his oversized rake—made Mark’s day. The look on his face when Mark handed him the money was priceless. 

What’s the lesson? Never miss an opportunity to share your story or discount the power that it can have on your audience. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Smyth

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Aug 10, 2022

Stories are the earliest form of communication. They’re also the most effective way to connect with someone else. When we tell a good story, the buyer can see themselves in that story. As a result, it cuts through the logical part of the brain and goes straight to the emotional part of the brain. Decisions are made on emotion and backed up with logic. You can leverage a story to connect with your buyer, demonstrate an outcome, and make a sale. Stories make you stand out. Learn how Bernadette McClelland crafts stories in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Stories make you stand out from the crowd
  • [1:44] Can you become a gifted storyteller? 
  • [2:55] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [4:09] Attributes + characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [6:14] Resources to improve storytelling abilities
  • [6:56] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:13] How telling stories helped Bernadette get her green card

Can you become a gifted storyteller? 

Bernadette works with technical CTOs and salespeople. They argue that everything they do is technical and data-driven and that they don’t need storytelling capabilities to sell. When they realize that there is a structure, a process, a purpose, and a logical flow to delivering an impactful story, they embrace it. Some people are natural storytellers. Others realize that they can learn a structure to bring out the stories they already have, the stories that make them stand out from the competition. You have to be open to the idea that a story is a powerful mover and shaker in a sales conversation.

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Everyone is familiar with the “Once upon a time” and “Happy ever after” stories that you tell your kids, right? Those aren’t the stories that Bernadette is talking about. A great story that sells needs to have a relevant business point. You can tell a story, but what is the point? What is the outcome for the buyer? When you tell a great story—for the buyer to feel themselves in the story—it needs color, movement, and dialogue. The story needs some drama.

Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Bernadette shares some storytelling tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t waffle. Bernadette jokes that everyone has been in a conversation with salespeople where they question: Where’s this going? What does this mean? How is this relevant? Will they just shut up?! You need to have a structure to your story.
  • Don’t make up stories (or lie about them). If you don’t want to share someone’s name or business name, make it anonymous to protect their confidentiality. 
  • Don’t put yourself as the hero of the story. Too many salespeople do this. 
  • Prepare stories. You conduct research before you speak to a buyer, why not do the same with your stories? Prepare a story to connect with someone (and make sure you’re vulnerable, too). 
  • Be relevant. What is the point of your story? How is it relevant to that particular buyer? Think of stories strategically. 
  • Make the client the hero of the story. A salesperson with the best of intentions might try to share a case study. But a case study starts with, “I have this client…” The minute you say “I” or “we” you’re making the story about yourself. 

Even if a buyer likes you, some part of their psyche is still screaming that you’re a salesperson. There's a lack of trust. If you can demonstrate vulnerability in your story—perhaps where you made a mistake or a buyer had an objection—it lowers their distrust. Stories build trust. 

How stories make you stand out

Bernadette had to sell her economic value to the US Immigration Department. She remembers that it was a huge challenge to overcome. Bernadette approached the National Visa Center at the American Consulate and petitioned to get her green card.

She put together a series of nine stories that she shared with her guide, an attorney. Through these stories, she was able to demonstrate her value to the immigration department. The result? She was given a green card. 

She provided evidence from her past in the form of stories to demonstrate how she could be valuable to the US economy. She fully demonstrated her mantra that stories make you stand out. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bernadette McClelland

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Aug 3, 2022
Storytelling is the fundamental method of communication that reaches the deepest part of humans. You can share an experience from your life to demonstrate why you understand someone, that you understand the problems they’re experiencing through the lens of your own story. This creates trust. 

People want to know that the person on the other side of the email, phone call, or presentation understands them and cares. Storytelling introduces you, helps you overcome objections, and shares how your products and services have helped other people. What does choosing the right story look like? Kyle Gray fills in the details in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess
  • [2:14] Can storytelling be learned?
  • [3:42] Meet your audience where they are
  • [5:15] The attributes of a great storyteller
  • [7:07] Choosing Your Perfect Story
  • [8:56] The purpose of a framework 
  • [10:32] Top storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [13:38] Choosing your perfect story from your experiences

Meet your audience where they are

You need a deep understanding of how your ideal client experiences the problems related to your product and service. The level of your depth of understanding will directly impact the rest of the stories you tell in the sales process. You need to know how they’d describe the problem they’re experiencing as if they were talking about it with a friend at coffee. Learn the words they’d use. Once you know their problem, ask yourself when you’ve experienced something like it. It will guide you to the right story to sell to them.

A powerful skill to learn is how to speak. Do you use musicality, tone, and rhythm? Do you pause and take a breath in the right places? You also need empathy. You’ll want to share stories that will create trust and openness, stories from vulnerable or tense moments in your life. A great storyteller needs emotional intelligence to be authentic and convert prospects to customers.

Choosing your perfect story

How do you know what story to choose? Is it to introduce yourself and create trust? Is it to overcome an objection? Is it to give someone a glimpse into what your program or product is like? Do you want to shift their beliefs about what’s possible in terms of their problem? 

When people ask how to choose the perfect story, they typically want to know how they should introduce themselves, a sort of origin story. Kyle has a mini-course called, “Choosing Your Perfect Story,” that weaves in resources and ideas. 45 minutes of easy video content will help guide you to the perfect story to introduce yourself and help you put it into a simple framework to tell the story immediately. 

Top storytelling dos and don’ts

What does Kyle believe greatly impacts the success of a story?

  • Speak in the present tense as if it’s happening to you. It activates areas of the brain and makes the story more emotionally engaging. 
  • Whenever you use a list of examples, experiences, emotions, etc. in a story, use lists of three. It’s a naturally complete feeling number that keeps you from going into too much detail in any one place. 
  • Be conversational when you tell stories. The characters should be talking and engaging with you versus you simply narrating. It helps the listener imagine the story is happening to them.
  • Don’t be long-winded. People share too many details and it can bore the listener.
  • Don’t spend too much time in the pain point, which emotionally fatigues the audience.
  • Don’t over-teach. People overteach because they feel the need to prove themselves or they aren’t aware of what their audience needs.

Choosing your perfect story from your experiences

Kyle had a health coach come to him who was working with women dealing with hormone imbalances but she wanted to work with children with ADHD. She had just learned she had ADHD but didn’t want to share it with anyone. She felt ashamed of who she was and felt unable to help.

They examined her emotions and frustrations and he helped her realize that she was one of the best people to speak to the problem because she’s experienced it on a deep life-long level. Her story was exactly what she needed to share to speak to parents and children. 

When you’re choosing the perfect story, the first person you need to enroll is yourself. It should be so exciting for you that you want to overcome the objections you face and share it. You should feel so aligned with what you’re doing that you can face and overcome any challenge. No one should be as excited about your products or services as you are.

Connect with Kyle Gray

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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