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.
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:
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?
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 storytelling tips are spot-on. Can you spot a theme?
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.
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