When you share a story, you create an emotional context for the buyer. But if you can get buyers to go into the story, it deepens their emotional investment in the conversation. Dan was on a ride-along with a BCBS sales rep. They were talking to an owner and he asked, “What if you don’t switch insurance programs? What if you stay where you are?”
The owner got angry and said, “My son chipped a tooth in an accident and they haven't paid for it because the dentist recommended an orthopedist take care of his fractured jaw. The insurance company rejected the claim because it was a dentist that recommended an orthopedic procedure.” He emphasizes that they were switching no matter what. His story helped them understand the emotional context behind the buying decision.
One model that Dan likes to use is “PET.” A story must be personal, emotional, and teachable. Another framework that’s great for written communication is “PWS.” You have a problem, you worsen it, then you offer a solution.
Inside these two models, you want to create a role in the story that the buyer can identify with by building emotional context. When Dan trains people on storytelling, he shares a story about his daughter. In the scenario, his daughter is at McDonald’s playing in the kids’ area. A girl became quite upset because his daughter bumped her on the slide. The parents watched on the sideline to see what happened. The little girl spit in his daughter’s face.
Dan then asks everyone in the audience, “What’s your teaching moment from this story?” Everyone—based on the role they identify with—tells a different teaching moment. Someone might say he was a bad parent because he didn’t intervene. Another person might say that the other parents were poor because they didn’t make their daughter apologize. There are ways to get people to identify with the characters, which deepens the experience.
Dan shares some savvy storytelling advice:
Dan spoke with two salespeople who were on a sales call in Florida. It was a hot day. They had bought some slushies and sat in their car waiting for their appointment. One man looked over at his partner to see that his lips, teeth, and tongue were flaming red. He looked at himself in the mirror to see that his teeth were green.
They walked into the building and people laughed at them as they walked through the lobby because they looked like circus clowns. But they had to keep their appointment. They were led into the president’s office, where they obviously weren’t taken seriously.
First impressions are critical; they can kill your opportunity or create a great one. How do you bail yourself out of a mistake? You could use self-deprecating humor. Or, they could’ve brought in a Slurpee for the president of the company to mitigate the embarrassment.
Dan shares a hilarious bonus story in this episode—don’t miss it.
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