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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.

Oct 5, 2022

Buyers can read the features and benefits of products and services. They don’t need salespeople to tell them that. What do they need? Someone to help them imagine what the solution will feel like on the other side of the buying process. Storytelling helps the buyer relate the proposed solution to the buyer’s problem. It helps them believe that there is a solution and they gain confidence in you. When you tell stories, it activates oxytocin and makes people feel good. Storytelling fits the way humans are wired and that’s how you should communicate. Learn more about Janice’s imaginative storytelling process in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess
  • [2:27] Why anyone can become a great storyteller
  • [4:25] The ingredients of a story that sells
  • [6:16] Attributes of a great storyteller
  • [8:09] Ways to improve your storytelling abilities
  • [9:30] Top 3 storytelling dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [13:26] Change the way you engage with your audience

The ingredients of a story that sells

Everyone knows how successful Apple has been. They have a program called the three “Fs” of empathy: feel, felt, found. It’s the key to their storytelling. Does your buyer or audience empathize through the medium of storytelling? Do they see themselves in the story and say, “That’s me!” Or, “I’ve had that experience?” 

When you get these responses, you’ll know that your stories are empathizing with your audience. You can’t just tell a story. People need to engage with it. It must be relatable. When you use dialogue, it makes it more engaging. Nailing the delivery can make the difference. So whenever you get the chance, practice your stories on people you know. Even if you’re a gifted storyteller, you need to maintain your skills.

Janice points out that something happens in your life every day. Even if they’re personal stories, they can still be relatable to an individual buyer. Write down something that made you laugh, was unusual, or was memorable so when you’re looking for a story to tell, you’ll be able to find them.

Attributes of a great storyteller

The key attribute Janice believes is necessary is relatability. People need to see themselves as the hero of your story. Storytelling must contain novelty; something new. You’re selling them a solution that they don’t know about. Get them to imagine the new thing and relate to it. A great way to do that is to use the customer’s or buyer’s language. 

Storytelling enables the buyer to feel comfortable with your new solution. It doesn’t feel as scary when they can imagine it and see themselves in it. And if they don’t see themselves as the champion of the story, you’ve missed the mark. 

Top 3 storytelling dos and top 3 don’ts

What are some of Janice’s top storytelling tips? 

  • Add intriguing dialog to your stories—but don’t mimic accents if you do them poorly. If you’re mimicking the buyer’s accent and they think you’re doing a poor job—or are mocking them—they will disengage. Stick to your own accent. 
  • Practice your stories with family, friends, and coworkers. 
  • Where do you pause in your story? Amend your story by using pauses to add dramatic effect. It changes the emphasis and helps you get the transformation across. 
  • Don’t put your product in the story or yourself as the hero. The customer is always the hero. It helps them relate and see that there is a solution to their problem.
  • Don’t use jargon and marketing speak. If you do, your story won't feel personal or authentic. Use simple language when you tell stories. 
  • Stories are always based in truth. Never make up a story to fit what you want to sell. 

Change the way you engage with your audience

Janice started working with a publishing company that was losing customers to new competition in their space. When Janice was brought in to consult, she immediately noticed they were trying to sell themselves based on features and benefits. 

So Janice convinced salespeople to create stories of what they thought their customers were thinking when they were explaining features and benefits. They realized that they weren’t telling the stories their customers needed to hear.

You have to stand in the shoes of your customers. When you are able to see things from their perspective, you’ll have a revelation that can transform the way you sell. You want your customer to say, “If they can do that, I can do that too.” 

It just takes a little bit of work to move away from features and benefits and get your customer to imagine the future. What happened when they changed the way they engaged with their customers? Find out in this episode of Sales Reinvented! 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Janice B Gordon 

Connect With Paul Watts 

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Audio Production and Show notes by
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