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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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