I’ve noticed more people talking about why it is important to use stories in selling. I don’t mean the kind of stories that are focused on you. Sales and marketing messages need to focus on what matters to the prospect or customer.
I suppose I never thought of myself as a “storyteller” per se, but there is no question that I have the gift of gab. When sitting down with a prospect, it just seemed to me that we were having a conversation. Never one to pitch, I focused on determining what was important to my prospective customer and spoke to that.
When I present, I share stories of what I’ve learned from customers or experiences in my life and work. I think people appreciate someone who is genuine and can poke fun at themselves. Through the years, I’ve made enough silly mistakes to have endless stories to tell for years to come. LOL.
We now live in a world completely different than when I first started selling, and I love the evolution!
The multitude of ways that we can tell our story is staggering. The best part is that “stories” don’t need to – and maybe shouldn’t – come from you. Here are three ways that stories can be told without being some boring, generic, push piece of content.
Visual sells – video (YouTube, Vimeo), micro video (Vine), presentations (Slideshare). Forget the bullet points and “look at me, I’m so great” promotions, get creative in telling your story with visuals that capture attention in short, snackable bites (a term I learned from Mack Collier today). Attention spans are short. Keep your story short too.
Peer reviews rock – what comes across as more genuine…me raving to peers about products and services that I love or the company that makes them? Trick question. You know the answer.
Nimble is a Social Selling platform that I really came to appreciate today. As can happen, this user – me – wasn’t even close to tapping all the power of the platform. With a new widget release being unveiled tomorrow (more on that) and an app that ties in Outlook and Office 365, as well as your social networks, salespeople will be unstoppable in their ability to gather information, create relationships and share stories with the people that matter most.
Let customers tell the story – over on Mack Collier’s blog, he writes of how to mobilize your brand through storytelling. When Buick wanted the change the perception of their brand – I always think of their cars as for the elderly, retired set (probably not fair) – they asked their customers to share their stories. The love came pouring in as over 1,600 letters were sent in by loyal Buick advocates. Get this… 16% of advocates have now shared those stories on Facebook. Changed my mind.
There are a variety of suggested ways to tell stories well. A pitch isn’t one of them.
What you need to constantly ask yourself is…
How can I tell a genuine story that draws people in with a compelling idea of what is possible?
How can I convey an idea – through stories from colleagues and customers – in a way that sparks someone’s interest, hooks them, gets under their skin and keeps festering until it finds some form of expression?
What can I do to uncover the gems of meaning and story in information that can be translated into real value for prospects and customers?
The question isn’t how can I go viral, but how can I be authentic. The acres of diamonds are there, but you have to care enough to want to find them!