Good sales training programs focus on process and execution; because that is what drives results: proven process and crisp execution. But take all of that away and you’re left with one thing: the ability to tell good stories.
Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions to problems. Telling stories provides an avenue to deliver the vision of your solution faster and more effectively, than any technique could ever provide.
There have been countless sales professionals in the history of mankind, almost as many as there are sales techniques. But, in my opinion, none of them rival the world’s greatest salesman: Jesus. Religious or not, it’s hard to discount the impact that He and His twelve disciples ultimately have made on the human race.
Recently, I attended a Distinguished Speaker Series held by my home chapter of the National Speakers Association, the Greater Los Angeles Chapter (NSA GLAC). It was held at the Marshall School of Business on the campus of the University of Southern California and we had three high quality speakers, all of which are expert story tellers. I’m honored to serve as President-elect of this chapter and these distinguished speakers provided the best chapter meeting I’ve attended.
The three distinguished speakers were: Glenna Salsbury, a Hall of Fame Speaker (CPAE) and the master of harnessing the essence of presence, Jim Cathcart, another CPAE and someone who’s list of accomplishments would require it’s own post, including having delivered over 2,700 paid presentations to audiences around the world and having authored sixteen published books. And finally, AllisonMassari, NSA’s 2011 Rising Star Award Winner and trust me, when you hear her personal story of surviving and thriving your life will be changed forever.
But enough about them, I want to share with you their message about Storytelling Techniques.
Glenna Salsbury says: “If someone else can deliver your talk, then you’re not telling your story.” That’s powerful to me as a speaker. But think about it in your sales world. Sure, any of your peers can rattle off the same customer case studies and testimonials, but none have your life experience. As Glenna says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Just as none of your peers have your fingerprint, none of them have your voiceprint, your genetic makeup, or your life experience.” Use that to your advantage. Mine your life’s history for stories that allow you to connect with your customer in a special way.
Jim Cathcart says: “Discover your own stories are and learn to tell them in a way that other people can experience the value that you bring to them.” Outside of Jesus, there may have never been a greater storyteller than Jim Chathcart, who proclaims, and here I go paraphrasing again: “it’s not about the salesman, it’s not about the product or service and it’s not about the customer, it’s about what the customer can get from your offering.”
Allison Massari, she survived an horrendous automobile accident and not only endured the long journey back to good health, but has developed an award winning practice of helping others find results, live with focus, aliveness, excellence, clarity and passion. If you hear her story, chances are, your life will be transformed.
As as sales professional, do you have good stories? If not, take the time to dig them out of your ownpersonal and professional past and the experiences of your satisfied customers. Your prospective customers aren’t just looking for solutions to problems. Like everyone else, they want entertained along the way.
Life is not meant to be boring. Life is meant to be personal. Discover your personal stories and deliver them in a way that moves your prospect, and gets them to work with you in moving the sales process forward.
Thank you distinguished speakers for sharing your stories!