Everyone has a filter and when they know they’re being sold to, they shut down. However, storytelling bypasses that filter and connects directly with the emotional brain. It helps your brain determine if you trust that person. Stories are the oldest form of communication. If it works so well as a method of communication, why wouldn’t it work in selling?
That’s why—in his book “The Ultimate Selling Story”—Roy shares how to “Cut through the marketing clutter, forge a powerful bond with your market, and set up the sale using the hero’s journey of story selling.” Learn more of his methods in this episode of Sales Reinvented!
Outline of This Episode
- [0:54] Why is storytelling important in sales?
- [2:08] Can anyone learn the art of storytelling?
- [3:48] The great storytelling formula: PAISA
- [6:47] What are the attributes of a great story seller?
- [9:41] Resources to improve story selling
- [11:07] Roy’s top 3 story selling dos and don’ts
- [15:23] The Titans of Direct Response
Can anyone learn the art of storytelling?
Some people are naturally gifted at storytelling. If you aren't one of them, you can learn how. Everyone’s heard of the hero’s journey. There are equivalent templates in storytelling and story selling. There are common structures and common purposes. If you want to get better, you have to practice. You can also do things to get out of your own head. For example, Roy joined an improv comedy class.
The great storytelling formula: PAISA
Roy notes that the story itself is important but telling a good story doesn’t make you a great story seller. You need to build a character that shows a relationship with the prospect. Then you need to nail the story context.
Then you have to implement the great storytelling formula: PAISA.
- Problem: You start by connecting with someone in the context of their problem—an actual problem or an unfulfilled desire.
- Agitate: You have to agitate the emotions that make them want to take action.
- Invalidate: You have to invalidate the other options they’ve considered (i.e. a competitor)
- Solution: What is an effective solution to the problem that you started with?
- Action: What action do you take in the end? What does it take to close the deal?
You can use these two strategies to craft and tell great stories.
The attributes of a great story seller
Roy believes that a great story seller needs three main attributes:
- The ability to actively listen: You may think that sales is one-way communication and putting yourself out there. But you have to pay attention to what your prospect cares about and is interested in. It will improve your ability to sell because you can cater your stories to the prospect.
- The desire to gather stories: If you have your own great PAISA stories, client stories, etc. you need to gather them so you have a story available when you need to use one.
- The knowledge that you need to understand your audience: What matters to them? Are you curious enough to set your ego aside and pay attention to what your audience is engaged with?
One of the best things that can happen when you tell stories is when you imagine the story you’re telling. If Roy is telling a story about what someone is facing at work, he starts by imagining what their office environment is like. Imagining the three-dimensional space makes the story more compelling because you’ll include details instead of just outlining points.
Roy’s top 3 story selling dos and don’ts
- Don’t think just because you tell a story that someone will buy. You still need a great offer that matches your audience. If your story doesn't build trust and serve the selling message, they won’t buy.
- Don’t forget that your job is to move the sale forward. An individual story may not close the deal but it may take the customer further toward making a decision. Maybe the goal of a story is to get their attention, book the next phone call, or get them to believe in your product.
- Don’t tell a story without a purpose. If your story doesn’t have a sales purpose, it’s not doing its job—and may make the prospect question why they’re listening to you.
- Start in the middle of the action instead of at the beginning. You don’t need the backstory. Start in the context of what’s going on in the moment that’s closest to the point of decision or peak excitement. Eugene Schwartz once said, “Every good sales message should open like an action movie.”
- How does the story serve the buying decision process? The prospect needs to make a sequence of decisions to propel them toward a purchase. Your prospect needs a pathway.
- Include conflict in the story to make it interesting. A level of animosity, conflict, etc. makes the story more compelling.
Listen to the whole episode to hear Roy tell a compelling story that sells.
Resources & People Mentioned
Connect with Roy Furr
Connect With Paul Watts
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