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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.

Jul 13, 2022
People buy emotionally and back it up with logic. Facts and figures are quickly forgotten. But a story makes you memorable. John Livesay jokes that you have to tug at people’s heartstrings to open the purse strings. To do that, you have to tell a compelling story. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, John shares more about the 4 elements of a compelling story: The exposition, problem, solution, and resolution. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] Heartstrings open the purse strings
  • [1:30] The 4 elements of a compelling story
  • [4:34] Characteristics of a great storyteller 
  • [5:21] Resources to improve storytelling
  • [5:57] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [7:19] The exposition, problem, solution, and resolution
  • [10:15] How to tell a concise and compelling story

The 4 elements of a compelling story

John notes that a compelling story that sells must consist of four elements: 
  • The exposition: You paint a detailed picture of who, what, when, where, and why
  • The problem: Prospects need to feel like you have an understanding of what they’re experiencing emotionally
  • The solution: Share how your product or service solved a problem
  • The resolution: What is someone’s life like after they’ve hired you or purchased your product? 

The old way of selling something was, “This makes surgeries 30% faster. Do you want one?” Now, John will create a case story: 

“Imagine how happy this doctor was when he could update his patient’s family in the waiting room an hour earlier than expected because he used our equipment? If you've ever waited for someone you love to come out of surgery, you know every minute feels like an hour…” Another doctor can see themself in that story and recognize the need for the medical device. 

To describe someone’s problem, you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes. When you are empathetic, you become a great storyteller. Your brain becomes a playlist of stories ready to go at the right time with the right person.

How to tell clear, concise, and compelling stories

Make your story clear, concise, and compelling. If you don’t, you’re confusing people. A confused mind says, “no.” And if you aren’t concise, no one can remember your story or repeat it. Without an emotionally compelling story, people won’t care. They’ll be bored. 

But how do you craft a concise and compelling story? John shares an easy process to follow:

  • Write down everything you know about a story/situation
  • Edit the story down until it’s clear and concise
  • Practice it and get feedback from peers to further refine the story

Remember that every word must earn a spot in your story. If you follow those steps, you should have a clear, concise, and compelling story. Another tip? Tell your story in the present tense so the listener feels like they’re eavesdropping on a story that’s happening in real-time. 

The exposition, problem, solution, and resolution

A medical company was selling a 4k resolution monitor. When John came into the picture, they were talking about things like “pixels” in their sales pitch and no one was getting emotionally involved. So he crafted a case story: 

6 months ago, Dr. Peterson—at a rural hospital in MN not exactly known for cutting-edge technology—decided to test the 4k resolution monitor. Brad, the sales rep, was in the operating room in case the doctor had any questions. The patient was overweight, which put him at risk during the surgery. Because of that, the doctor hit a bleeder. 

To the naked eye, it was a sea of red. How was the doctor going to find the source of the bleed in time to save the patient’s life? The doctor calmly looked at the monitor, which showed what the naked eye couldn’t see: subtle color changes between oxygenated blood and non-oxygenated blood. This allowed him to find the source of the bleed and save the patient’s life. 

The doctor turned to the rep and said, “You know, Brad, as a doctor, I don’t always need a monitor like this. But boy, when I need it, I need it.” That story brings tears to people’s eyes. Doctors want that equipment because they don’t want to be caught in a situation without that tool. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with John Livesay

Connect With Paul Watts 

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