Using Stories To Sell: Building Awareness, Trust And Relationships

From the beginning of time stories have helped people teach, learn and share values. Great stories make ideas come alive and events memorable. Great stories also trigger a wide range of emotional responses (from confidence and respect to fear and anger), which actually help listeners and/or readers visualize an experience.

Because your stories are alive, treat them like gold. Great stories are more than just words on a page, use stories to sell because great stories can almost appear 3-dimensional… far more memorable than listening to a list of features and benefits.

Where To Use Stories

Great business stories are a fantastic resource because they make your core competencies come alive and build your brand and reputation. Benefits include:

  • Building / reinforcing client trust
  • Getting noticed and understood by prospects
  • Existing customers learning about an unused specialty you offer
  • Building a client community
  • Demonstrating values
  • Sharing important information
  • Describe creativity and customer service
  • A training tool for new employees
  • Making presentations easier on the presenter and more interesting for the audience

In addition, business stories can be a source of:

  • Employee Pride
  • Client Pride
  • Community Pride

Great stories help us learn, explore and relate to the information being shared.

How to Use Stories

Most of us share causal stories all day when speaking with friends/colleagues… for example, “Yesterday I installed a new screen door on my home. Thankfully I soon noticed that the 3rd and 4th steps in the instructions were reversed so I had to…”

Great stories – especially great business stories can do anything from describing a need, to a challenging situation to a resolution… and so much more. And, in addition to describing or solving a practical situation, great stories very often also satisfy an emotional need (even if it is subtle), in your listeners and/or readers. It’s important you pay attention to this as you build/draft/share you story because this emotional need is part of what makes great stories so memorable.

Example: In a corporate world the practical need is to hire a dependable, affordable, high-quality paper and laser cartridge supplier. Some of the business needs and values are:

  • Environmentally friendly / fair trade source
  • Recyclable / reusable pre and post materials
  • A socially responsible, inclusive supplier

And in addition, some individual needs that may (consciously or unconsciously), need to be satisfied might be:Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 1.09.36 PM

  • To make the procurement department look good
  • To make the job of reordering easy
  • To trust that the supplier can deliver what they say they can

By addressing the corporate needs and (perhaps subtly), addressing the individual needs, your story may be just the thing required to lock in a big new customer. Therefore, when you look at great business stories for your company – be sure to include stories about emotional successes as well as how you are able to increase production and/or reduce expenses.

Conclusion:

Stories are a living asset that sales people and everyone else at your company can use to make interpersonal connection with whomever they are speaking with or writing to to build your brand, build pride and build relationships.

So, have a library of great stories ready and share them your sales people, your employees, your suppliers… and anyone else you can think of.

Happy Selling And Story Telling. 

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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