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!
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.
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.
What are some of Janice’s top storytelling tips?
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!
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