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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: December, 2022

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

Dec 28, 2022

Sales is about making connections with your customer. Humans invented stories as the most powerful way to connect information and people. That’s why storytelling is something you have to learn. Learning to play any musical instrument is challenging. Every once and a while a Mozart comes along that is naturally gifted at a young age. But for most people, the reason they’re good at something is because they do it consistently. Just like learning a musical instrument, storytelling is a skill that you need to master. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:41] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess
  • [1:16] How to become a more gifted storyteller
  • [2:26] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [4:51] The attributes of a great sales storyteller
  • [6:18] Resources to improve storytelling abilities 
  • [7:28] Doug’s top three storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [9:33] How a story can pack a powerful punch

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Many salespeople go wrong when they share a case study, thinking that it’s a story. You’re laying out the company, the problem, and how your company solved the problem. You’re making the storyteller the hero and the subject the company. No one cares about companies. Companies are inanimate abstracts. People do care about people. They care about themselves. Make your story about someone’s challenge and how you solved a problem for the person. 

The attributes of a great sales storyteller

If you're going to play an instrument in a band, you need to know how to play a lot of songs. You also need enough knowledge of your genre to jump right in and play. Good salespeople have a library of stories in their heads that they can pull from when they need them. It needs to come naturally, in the same way that John Mayer can play any blues song. 

What are Doug’s top three storytelling dos and don’ts? Listen to find out! 

The Hero’s Journey isn’t the be-all and end-all

Doug believes that the Hero’s Journey isn’t what you want to use for business storytelling. You don’t need to tell a long story. The stories you tell need to be short-form and anecdotal. The story should share what happened, the challenge, and how the challenge was resolved. Don’t buy the doctrine that every story has to be a hero overcoming a huge challenge to find the truths about themselves. 

How a story can pack a powerful punch

In the mid-1980s, Doug was standing in the office of his production and communication agency. He was reading a story in the newspaper. The story was about a startup package delivery company, Federal Express. Federal Express promised their customers that they would get their customers packages to their destinations on time. No one had ever done that before. 

A huge snowstorm closed some local roads and a delivery driver couldn’t get to his destination in his truck. So he drove to the airport, rented a helicopter, and flew the package to its destination

The press thought they’d be out of business by Christmas. But the CEO said their drivers were smart enough to know when and how to deliver packages. They supported the driver, who became a hero in the company. 

Doug’s clients included large technology companies and banks. They gave their business to Federal Express. FedEx became one of the world’s greatest brands. It all started with a powerful story in a newspaper. 

A few powerful stories that show what your company stands for or how you’ve helped others be successful can have a huge impact on your culture and your sales. A great story will stick. This story not only stuck with Doug but stuck so powerfully that he remembers it 30 years later.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Doug Keeley

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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PODCAST FAST TRACK
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Dec 21, 2022

Rob Stenberg likes to say, “The shortest distance between two people is a story.” And if you’re looking to make an emotional connection, being able to tell a succinct story is a critical sales skill. Some people are more intuitive storytellers. But just like any other skill, you can learn how to tell stories. It takes time and practice and training to gain mastery. Rob shares some of his strategies to craft compelling stories in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] Why storytelling is an important skill to have
  • [1:30] Can you learn how to be a great storyteller?
  • [2:05] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [3:10] The attributes of a great storyteller
  • [3:56] Resources to improve storytelling abilities 
  • [4:56] Rob’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [6:57] How to shorten a story to 60–90 seconds 
  • [8:06] Why sales leaders need an “I am human” story

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Rob notes that you need to set the stage where you introduce the hero of the story. Then there needs to be a complication or challenge—what’s wrong that you’re trying to overcome? Then there needs to be a turning point where the hero of the story has an “aha moment” and sees a new way of doing things. The final segment is the resolution—what were the end results? 

Rob’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

What else can you do to make your story stand out? Follow Rob’s dos and don’ts:

  • Make sure you add emotion to your story. If you don’t, it will flatline. 
  • Make your story brief, 60–90 seconds maximum.
  • Once you’ve told your story, listen. Pass the torch to your client.
  • Don’t only give facts. Facts tell, stories sell. 
  • Don’t tell a story that doesn’t have a point.
  • Don’t tell a story that the person you’re talking to can’t relate to. 

But if you struggle to be brief, how do you tell a short story? 

How to shorten a story to 60–90 seconds 

In Rob’s workshops, he teaches salespeople to put the ingredients of a story on color-coded cards. Each card is allowed two bullet points of talking points:

  • The setting of the story is a green card
  • The complication is a white card
  • The turning point is a blue card
  • The resolution is a red card

If you look at your cards and follow those talking points, you can keep a story within 60–90 seconds. Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in two minutes and two seconds. If he can do that, salespeople can get their stories down to a minute. 

Why sales leaders need an “I am human” story

Salespeople can be intimidated by sales leadership. Rob was teaching a workshop when the VP of Sales asked to speak briefly at the beginning of Rob’s presentation. The VP proceeded to tell his sales team that they were doing a terrible job

Rob was mortified. If he was part of the sales team, he’d be looking for a new job. But the VP of Sales spoke again after lunch. When he did, this is what he said:

“I grew up very poor. I was the youngest of three kids. I didn’t wear a piece of brand-new clothing until I was 16 years old. I vowed that I was never ever going to live like that again. I also vowed that nobody that works with me is ever going to live like that and ever be poor like that. That’s why I ask so much of you, and I just wanted you to know that.”

Rob would walk through fire for that guy. If you’re a sales leader, make sure you have an “I am human story,” a “vision story,” and a “customer hero story.” 

Everyone has a story. So you have to ask good questions to get that person’s story. Rob thought this man was a jerk. When he learned his “why” he saw him in a different light.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Rob Stenberg


Connect on LinkedIn

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Dec 14, 2022

Every salesperson needs to be relatable. Stories are the best way to be relatable. A great narrative helps connect people and drive sales. Learning how to become a good storyteller takes experience, which only comes with practice. 

AnnaMarie Platt-Miller emphasizes that the best stories are personal. But if you don’t have those, borrow others’ stories. Read stories. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Watch TedTalks. Do whatever you can to become a better storyteller.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:03] Why storytelling is an important skill to have
  • [1:48] Can anyone learn to be a good storyteller?
  • [2:32] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [3:59] The attributes of a great sales storyteller
  • [5:00] Resources to improve your storytelling
  • [7:16] AnnaMarie’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [9:26] Why you should personalize stories when possible

The ingredients of a great story that sells

You have to ask your customer open-ended questions so they can share their story. Because until you know their story, you can’t create an environment that’s comfortable for both of you to share experiences so you can close your sale.

Secondly, you need to be relatable. Find common ground with your audience. Lastly, you need to solve their problems. People are buying to fill a need—practical or otherwise. The stories they told you will help complete the transaction so everyone walks away happy. 

AnnaMarie’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

AnnaMarie’s do’s and don’ts drive home her point:

  • Be sure to listen to your customer, client, and potential buyer. 
  • Tell a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Know what kind of story will appeal to your prospect (a cautionary tale, a hero’s journey, etc.).
  • Don’t talk over your customer. You have two ears and one mouth—listen twice as much as you speak
  • Don’t be quick to judge how your story is received. If you aren’t sure, ask a question.
  • Don’t ever argue with your customer, let them win

Personalize stories whenever possible

10 years ago, AnnaMarie was in educational sales selling eBooks. eBooks were relatively new and people were hesitant to give up their paper books. She had to help her customers overcome the idea that no one would use them.

AnnaMarie’s son had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because of this, he had to change the way he learned. eBooks were one of the things that helped him. She shared that story with her customer, which helped them see how the tool could work for them. 

When you can share a personal story, even if it’s difficult, you should. It’s okay to be personal with your customers. It’s okay to share your ideas and experiences and listen to them. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with AnnaMarie Platt-Miller

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

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

Dec 7, 2022

People pitching their company often say things like “We are the market leader in…We operate in 200 branches…We spend 10% of our money on R&D.” Philipp Humm notes that while these are interesting facts that should be included, they aren’t very memorable. The moment you walk out the door, your potential buyer won’t remember those facts. To be remembered, you need to appeal to their emotions. The easiest way to do that? Tell a story

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:54] Why is storytelling an important skill to possess in sales? 
  • [1:53] Is storytelling something that can be learned? 
  • [2:50] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [4:07] The attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [5:13] Resources listeners can use to improve their storytelling
  • [6:10] Philipp’s top three storytelling dos and top three don’ts
  • [9:34] Anyone can share a mesmerizing story with the right techniques

Is storytelling something that can be learned?

Philip recently attended his undergrad reunion. Someone walked up to him and asked what he was “Up to these days.” Philip told him that he was a business storytelling coach. This guy said, “I never saw you as a storyteller.” Philip, feeling slighted, admits that he had been a terrible public speaker and storyteller. But over the years, through practice and repetition, he learned how to do both well, proving that anyone can learn the art.

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Philipp believes that there are three ingredients you can’t forget when storytelling. 

  • Emotion: Is there anything that touches hearts? Is there any challenge overcome? Is there something that makes the listener care
  • Surprise: When you’re sharing your story, you’re fighting for the attention of the listener. You make someone pay attention by sharing something unexpected that they didn’t see coming.
  • Visual moments: You want your buyer to be able to see whatever you’re telling in front of their eyes. They should be part of your story. 

What are the attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller? Listen to learn more!

Philipp’s top three storytelling dos and top three don’ts

Philipp shares some great dos and don’ts: 

  • Don’t make it too complex. You have 60–90 seconds to tell a story, so don’t try to cover the 16 steps of the Hero’s Journey. 
  • Don’t give too much context. Two to three sentences of building context are enough. You aren’t writing a fiction novel!
  • Don’t make it a performance. You don’t have to go into character to tell a story. You’ll create a disconnect between you and the buyer. Instead, weave it into your conversation.
  • Make the customer the hero. You are Yoda—not Luke Skywalker. You’re the hero’s guide
  • Make the story about a specific person. Humans care about humans—not companies. Who is impacted by your story? 
  • Make your story relevant. Do some research on your audience. Learn about their company, role, and interests, and then select relevant stories. If you don’t, your story may work against you.

Using the right storytelling techniques is key

Philipp was in his apartment in Amsterdam when he got a call from an unknown number. When he picked up the phone, it was a gal who had taken one of his programs. She closed 12 deals in one month alone. Her boss asked her if she had been bribing her clients. She was simply using stories in her conversations. 

He asked her what made the biggest impact on her from his training. She said it was knowing how to turn water into wine. She learned how to turn any basic story into something interesting using the techniques she’d learned. Anyone can share a mesmerizing story with the right techniques. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Philip Humm

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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