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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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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 

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