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
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