Using Stories To Sell: Building Awareness, Trust And Relationships
October 7, 2014 Leave a comment
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
- 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.
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.
Click here to join our priority list of people who receive our latest Business Communication blog posts. If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:
- Collaborative Leaders: A Must For Collaboration At Work
- How To Avoid Using The Word ‘But’
- 3 Ways Email Subject Lines Are Like Newspaper Headlines
- Email Etiquette: Should You Reply To My Email?
- Mindfulness At Work
- How to Hire And Retain Millennials
- Improve Your Time Management Skills
Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.
Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.
Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.
Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.
I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.