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Using Stories for More Effective Sales Meetings

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group of senior multiethnic friends sharing stories from past

Do you struggle with closing sales calls even when you use tactics, testimonials, and statistics? Well, the problem is the need to establish emotional connections with your prospective customer based on the benefits of your product or service. 

One way to do this is to use stories. In a story, you provide context to customers and drive points home. Stories not only give context to everything you talk about, but they also establish a connection with the prospect.

“People retain 65 to 70 percent of information shared through stories while only 5 to10 percent of information is retained through dry presentation of data and statistics.” -London Business School

Humanize your Sales

Telling your stories and the story of others humanizes your selling and enables you to make connections with prospects more easily. It helps you appeal to their emotions. Remember people buy based on emotion and justify with logic. When you use stories effectively in sales your prospect is so much more at ease, and they’re open to your ideas. 

Great storytelling in sales isn’t complicated – it’s all about being authentic and communicating how your product or service can help people in real-world scenarios.

There are many reasons you should use stories in sales:

  •     develop connections
  •     make ideas stick
  •     Stories make clients visualize the product/service in their own life
  •     motivates prospects to take action

 

We aren’t going to talk much about why you should use stories in sales, instead, this post will tell you how you should use stories.

So how do you start using stories in sales?

It’s not complicated, as long you follow certain best practices. The main idea is that you think of stories that are centered around your product or service helping people in the past and also hypothetical stories where your product or service can help these people in the future. 

Follow these guidelines when using stories in sales:

1)    Stories should be value based (focused on how your product or service solved someone’s problem)

2)    Use stories To Combat Objections

3)    Make Stories Relevant to Their Situation

4)    Make The Stories Relatable

Stories should be value based

The stories related to prospects should mean something and have valuable takeaways. They shouldn’t just work for entertainment. Substance is important and invaluable.

Your stories should help clients visualize the product/service in their own life. This should be the focus of your stories. In your stories, talk about other people using your product or service.

Pro Tip: Hypothetical Situations

Besides using case study stories, you can also come up with hypothetical situations where your product can help. Using hypothetical stories with helpful products based on the problems is important. It’s something that you will get better with the more you practice during sales calls. 

 Remember that the focus of the story should be how the product or service will help solve your prospect’s business problem.

Use Stories to Combat Objections

One of the main ways you should be using stories is to combat customer objections. Stories are some of the best ways to combat customer objections.

Whenever a prospect says something like:

Your service or product is nice, but the price is too high / we don’t have the budget for it.

You can say something like this:

Another company told us the same _________ before and then after X amount of time they started using it, they started getting X results. (And explain more of how your product got them X results)

So, as you can see, combating objections this way is just more powerful. It’s not something you are simply stating. You’re producing specific examples to back your points. 

You can come up with stories for any objection. Have stories ready for your top 3-5 objections.  

Make The Stories Relevant to Their Situation

To connect with prospects, your story must focus on what is relevant to their needs and problems – working with their unique situation is best. The stories need to focus on the specific problems they are dealing with. 

How to make the stories relevant to them:

You say something like: 

You deal with X problem _____________ right now, right? 

We’ve recently helped a similar company fix the same problem by ___________ (explain how you fixed this company’s problem). Talk about the things that made this company similar and how their problem was similar. When you show how you fixed the same problem for a company that was similar, that will instill more confidence and trust in your product or service. 

Also use industry jargon

You also want to make sure your language is common to the prospect, their industry, and what part of their business is the focus. 

Knowing the prospect’s lingo and speaking their language can be the difference in your story striking a connection with them or not. Remember that.

Make The Stories Relatable 

Next, you want to make sure prospects can envision themselves to be the hero of the story. This means that the story is about someone who is similar to the prospect. This way you will make the story more relatable to them.

A story about someone in a similar situation, who faced a problem and then overcame it with your product or service, is a powerful tool in your sales meetings. Your prospect will automatically envision themselves to be the main characters of these stories. And you know what will happen when they start to envision themselves having success with your product? You will start to close on the objective. 

Example story:

We’ve worked with a prospect who was also struggling with ____________ (similar problems to you). We started working with them and _____________ (talk about how you worked with them). After that, they ______________ (talk about how their situation improved). 

When the prospects can relate to a person in the story, they are much more powerful. 

Don’t Wing It 

One last thing. Remember to have stories ready! Don’t come up with these stories at the last minute. Come up with some ideas for all possible objections and case study stories beforehand. That way, you can retain the fluidity of your story when the right time comes. 

Wrap up

Nobody likes being trapped with a sale, but everyone loves stories! Start using stories in your sales meetings and watch how your prospects will trust you more, connect more easily and close easier. Making the sale is only rewarding when you can relate to your customer. This is what brings them back again.

Bill Choudhry is an experienced cold outreach and outbound sales professional. His approach is non-salesy, consultative, and authentic. He enjoys long walks at the park, frisbee football, and baking magical brownies for his marketing friends.

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