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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: September, 2022

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

Sep 28, 2022

Human beings persuade others—and ourselves—with stories. Successful salespeople communicate using stories and it differentiates them from the rest. It’s important in any interaction. So Bob Apollo implores salespeople to “resist the itch to pitch” and instead, tell a story. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:50] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess
  • [1:37] Can you become a gifted storyteller?
  • [2:41] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [4:00] Characteristics and attributes of a great storyteller
  • [5:45] How to improve your storytelling capabilities
  • [9:24] Top storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [13:27] Resist the itch to pitch

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Bob is convinced anyone can improve their storytelling skills. If you’ve ever participated in debate or theater, it can develop your confidence. It can make a powerful group exercise with other salespeople. To become a better storyteller, all you need is a simple structure and consistent practice. 

Bob points out that the essence of a great story dates back to the Greeks. Aristotle identified the three elements of a great story:

  • Ethos: Can you tell a story with credibility and expertise?
  • Pathos: Can you inject emotion into the story? Can you use your voice as a vehicle to support the story? 
  • Logos: How can you use logic and facts to demonstrate a point? 

If you assess what makes a good sales story, they always include these elements. 

Characteristics and attributes of a great storyteller

Empathy, emotional intelligence, curiosity, and a desire to persuade through rhetoric are important. Can you read the audience and pick up signals from the listener? Can you adjust and adapt accordingly so your stories have the greatest possible impact? 

Good stories require that the salesperson can put themselves in the shoes of the listener. Really good stories are stories where the hero is the listener. It’s the best way to convince the audience that they can do better and be more successful. 

Top storytelling dos and don’ts

What are Bob’s recommendations? 

  • Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Imagine what will be interesting to them. 
  • Make sure that the story is about them or what they can achieve, not just about you or your company.
  • Don’t over-simplify the customer journey. If you’re trying to do something complex, there will be obstacles. Instead of sugar-coating the story and trying to con your audience, inject gritty reality into the story so it’s credible.
  • Don’t over-simply something that your audience will suspect is difficult. Story is to help your listener become confident about an issue they might have doubts about. They won’t believe you and your story will be less effective.
  • Don’t lie. It’s never a great way to start a relationship and lying will not build trust.

What else? Resist the itch to pitch.

Resist the itch to pitch

Bob was working with a company that had one salesperson that was far more successful and effective than anyone else. To understand what set him apart, Bob looked at everyone’s proposals. The underperforming salespeople ended their proposals with summaries about how they were better or why the prospect should buy from them. They were pitching the prospects.

The top-performing salesperson told a story. He didn’t start with “why us” but why the customer needed to change instead of carrying along the current path. He also shared why the customer would benefit from immediate action. Only once he established those things did he share the “why us.” 

Unlike his colleagues, this salesperson realized that by the time you get to a proposal, you aren’t competing against other vendors. You’re competing against the other projects that the customer could be spending money on. The last element they had to overcome was proving why they should approve this project rather than all the others. 

What happened when his colleagues attempted to embrace his storytelling style? Listen to hear the whole story!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bob Apollo

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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Sep 21, 2022

Storytelling helps the listener connect emotionally to the message you’re trying to convey. It’s also helpful for the listener (prospect, customer, etc.) to remember concepts, pain points, and more. You can use stories to demonstrate that other people are facing the same challenges and how you helped them with your product or service. Most salespeople avoid personal stories in the sales context, but not Kristie Jones. Find out why in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] Why storytelling is important 
  • [1:59] Can you become a better storyteller?
  • [3:33] What makes a great story that sells? 
  • [5:06] Attributes and characteristics you need
  • [6:56] Resources to improve your storytelling
  • [8:55] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:48] How do you make a story concise?
  • [12:13] Why personal stories have a place in sales
  • [16:15] Learn more about Kristie’s book 

Anyone can become a better storyteller

Kristie points out that storytelling comes easier to some people than others. In fact, she never used to tell stories. So when she started writing a book, she hired a coach. The first thing the coach asked her to do was write down 10 stories (so the coach could see a baseline of her skills). 

Kristie learned that she could use examples completely unrelated to sales to teach concepts. You can take things from your personal life within the same context and apply them to business. What in your own life could you use to relate a concept or message to a prospect? 

What makes a great story that sells? 

You want to bring the emotions and pain to the surface. Kristie likes to say that “Discovery isn’t an event, it’s a process”. Every time you get on a call with a prospect, you have to take the pain you discovered and make it tangible and real in the moment. 

Some of the best storytellers are naturally funny. Humor can diffuse many situations. If you’re funny, that’s your secret weapon—use it. How can you build suspense in your story? How can you build emotion and deliver the punchline? How can you connect the story to your point? Those are all things to consider when honing in on stories to use in the sales context. 

Attributes and characteristics you need

You need to know your audience. You can relay a funny or suspenseful story depending on who you’re playing to. Kristie loves sports and easily jumps to sports analogies. But if she’s talking to a musician, football may not be relevant. 

Then you need to find a way to connect with your audience. What do you and the prospect personally have in common? Learning this can help you determine what personal stories to have in your arsenal. You also need to have empathy to be a better storyteller. The stories you tell need to demonstrate that “you’re not alone.” 

What are Kristie’s 3 storytelling dos and don’ts? How do you make a story concise? Listen to find out! 

Why personal stories have a place in sales

Kristie’s book is geared toward helping sales reps figure out what their “lane” is, i.e. what category of sales do you want to be in? To use sales to sell your way into the life you want, you have to be in the right sales role (customer success, hunting, gathering, etc.). 

Kristie was 5 when she began playing softball and she continued to play through high school. She started playing first base, then she moved to a different team and played 3rd base. As she grew older and stronger, they moved her to left field because she could throw to home plate easily. One day, her team’s catcher got injured. She volunteered to play the position and fell in love. 

It took a few years to figure out what her secret weapon was. She took the skills she had that were the most relevant and used them to benefit the team. You’ll have to test drive some sales positions to find the one that plays to your strengths. 

This story isn’t business related, yet she used a personal story to get her point across in a way that anyone could understand. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kristie Jones

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Sep 14, 2022

Justin Zappulla believes storytelling enables salespeople to deliver a deeper, more emotional connection with their customers. It’s a fundamental human experience that everyone can relate to. It drives a deeper connection. When you’re communicating, you want that conversation to be as effective as possible. Storytelling is a critical skill to master in this process. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Storytelling drives connections
  • [1:39] Can you learn to become a better storyteller?
  • [2:50] What makes a great story that sells? 
  • [3:45] Attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [4:23] Resources to improve storytelling abilities 
  • [5:12] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [7:40] A story that demonstrates the power of story

Can you learn to become a better storyteller?

Some people are naturally gifted storytellers. For some, it’s how they prefer to communicate or they’ve simply told stories their whole lives. But if you aren’t one of those people, storytelling is a skill that can be learned. 

You just need to understand what makes a great story. There are a few components you need to use and need to practice. Above all, you want to share stories that are relevant to your customers that will drive a point home. 

What makes a great story that sells? 

Justin points out that storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated. It comes down to two things:

  1. Be authentic: People can tell when you’re forcing something. Telling a story shouldn’t be about manipulating an outcome. But storytelling drives connections, which can lead to the desired result of a sale. 
  2. Tell stories that directly relate to the client’s specific situation. What were the common challenges, conflicts, resolutions, solutions, and results? 

Remember, relevant stories are the ones that will make an impact. 

Attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller

Justin believes that salespeople need to master presentation skills. When you’re delivering a message, how the story is told is important. You need to use the right words to illuminate the key message(s). You must talk at the right pace to capture attention. You have to pause when necessary to create suspense. Allow your audience a moment to think about something.

What are Justin’s 3 storytelling dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

A story that demonstrates the power of story

In the late 2000s, Rob Walker set out to prove how powerful storytelling is. He went on eBay and bought 200 objects, around $1 each. Then hired 200 writers to write a story about each object and relisted them on eBay. One item was a plastic horse's head. After posting it with a backstory, the $1 item sold for $60. He ended up reselling all 200 items for $8,000—all because of the stories he told. 

How do you create value? How do you help your customers see you as a fit? How do they see the value in the price you offer? Storytelling does just that. It’s not just sharing benefits and features—It helps people relate in a way they haven’t. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Justin Zappulla

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Sep 7, 2022

Anyone can learn to incorporate storytelling into their day-to-day activities. Some people are more comfortable telling stories than others—but we’re all human. As humans, we tend to communicate via story, whether we actively recognize it or not. Even if you feel like you aren’t a natural storyteller, you likely are, you just aren’t aware that you can tell an effective story. Melissa Madian shares how to communicate with story in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:13] What storytelling is an important skill to possess
  • [1:58] Why Melissa believes storytelling can be learned
  • [3:11] The ingredients of a story that sells
  • [5:42] The attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [7:16] Resources to improve storytelling abilities
  • [8:18] Melissa’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:27] How humans communicate with story

The ingredients of a story that sells

Melissa’s husband is a screenwriter. His whole job is to tell great stories. According to him, a great story consists of a few main elements:

  • A protagonist: Who does the story center around?
  • Conflict: how does the protagonist go through a transformation? 
  • A beginning, middle, and end: The protagonist starts in one spot, goes through a transformation, and ends in a happily ever after state. 

There’s usually a mentor that guides the protagonist on their journey. But what makes that story sell?

Melissa emphasizes that when you communicate with story, you have to think about your audience. The best salespeople convey relevant stories that are about your customer or buyer. That’s when it becomes a more effective story. Who doesn’t love to hear a story about themselves?

The attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller

Great salespeople listen first. Salespeople need to understand the world of the buyer that they’re speaking to. When you can get in the head of the buyer, you’re better at telling a story that connects. It helps you frame the story in their world. It’s about them and how they’ll be better with your product or solution. Good salespeople set the stage up for the buyer. 

Melissa’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Melissa’s storytelling tips are spot-on. Can you spot a theme? 

  • Don’t make it about you. No one cares about you. It’s like going on a date and only talking about yourself. 
  • Don’t pitch your product or solution as the hero of the storyline that you’re telling. Nobody cares about you.
  • Don’t set up your story with, “I’m going to tell you a story!” 
  • Make your story about the audience and make them the protagonist. 
  • Tell the story in their world. What does their day-to-day life look like? What does their world feel like? Set the scene where they’ll understand it. 
  • Inject your own personality and sense of humor into the story. 

How humans communicate with story

Even if your prospect is a busy executive or the most technical person you’ve ever met, they’re still human, right? And the most effective way to tell a story to another human being is through metaphors and analogies. Everyone can do this. We all use stories and analogies to explain complicated topics. 

One of Melissa’s clients tried to explain their product to her. They started by saying, “Well, it’s a complicated system of data-cleansing that indexes and modifies files and allows you to transfer information.” To Melissa, it came across as “Blah, blah, blah.” So she asked him to explain it as if she were a child. So the client asked her if she’s ever moved. Of course, she said yes. 

So he went on, “When you move from house A to house B, do you toss everything you own into boxes and move those boxes and when you arrive, question where they’re supposed to go? Or do you purge things you don’t need, put things in clearly labeled boxes, and every box goes to a specific room in house B? That’s what our software does. It takes your data, purges what you don’t need and indexes what you do, and then moves it to your new data warehouse. It puts what you need where you need it.”

That’s the story he should have told in the first place. Simple stories take something abstract and complicated and make it understandable to your audience. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Melissa Madian

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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