Telling good stories is part of the routine of sales professionals of arch enclave
We do this by presenting customer success stories, telling how we got started in a particular company, or telling the story of the solution we are offering (why and how it was created). Without realizing it, therefore, we have already used a technique called storytelling for sales!
This strategy of using narrative as a resource to close deals, as we realized, is nothing new. But isn’t it time to make our good stories even more assertive within the business process?
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In this article, we will introduce:
- What is storytelling for sales
- How and in what situations can it be used
- What are its main elements?
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is a resource widely used in the areas of Marketing and Communication and can be understood as the process of telling stories in a structured way to engage a certain audience, around a specific business objective.
This story can be presented in different formats: texts, conversations, presentations, images, videos… What matters is that its elements are organized in a relevant way to achieve a result, such as an audience engagement or even a sale.
When we talk about storytelling in sales, therefore, we talk about applying this technique in order to close the deal through connections and representations that help the potential customer to understand their challenges and how the benefits of a product or service can help to overcome them.
For this, objective and subjective elements are used that create a powerful identification between the prospect and your company, capable of accelerating the closing and also increasing the conversion rate into sales.
Advantages of betting on narrative to close deals
We’ve said that using storytelling for sales helps accelerate business results, and that doesn’t happen by chance. There are two main factors for this strategy to bring such a positive return:
A story is 22 times more easily remembered by us than an ordinary presentation of data, according to Jerome Bruner, an American psychologist who has been a researcher at Harvard and Oxford universities.
This makes all the difference when we think, for example, of a selection process for a new supplier, which includes the presentation of different competing companies.
The one who uses narrative resources in her explanation will certainly have more information remembered by the listeners than the others.
2. Connection between emotional and rational
The other very important element of storytelling for sales is the connection between our emotional side and our rational side. When we listen to a story, we are more easily emotionally touched by elements that are part of our rational decision.
As an example, imagine hearing that a particular service will save your company 20%. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Now imagine listening to a sales presentation that first asks you what it would mean for the company to have that set amount available at the end of the year. Surely you would cite new investments or new projects.
After that, the salesperson’s talk about saving 20% would certainly fall as a possibility of future success, connecting his rational decision to the emotional one as well. And that’s storytelling for sales too!
Where and how can sales storytelling be used?
When we hear about storytelling for sales, it’s easy to think of those stories that start with a “once upon a time…” But do not need be like that.
In fact, storytelling can be applied in many ways within the commercial activity, and not just with the sales professional making a long narrative for his clients. See some examples below:
Increasingly, storytelling should be part of a company’s content production strategy. In blog articles, institutional materials, cases, posts to social networks, in advertising videos…
It is important to use narrative resources both to illustrate the success that can be achieved with a product or service, and to show the path that your company has taken to reach its mission or focus of action.
Here at Agenda, for example, we couldn’t stop using storytelling to tell our origins. After all, our two founders devised our CRM system by observing their father’s activity as a sales manager. And that shaped who we are and what we do today!
Sales storytelling is also a valuable resource.
It can be used in newsletters and even in phone conversations between the salesperson and the potential customer. Here, the success stories fit very well, which can also be presented in different formats.
Let’s agree… there’s nothing more tiring than a business presentation that starts with “this is our company, we do X, we’re in Y places and we have Z employees”. We’ve seen enough of that, haven’t we?
And at the same time, we know that the first few minutes of a presentation are crucial to ensuring engagement right through to the end. So, when structuring yours, why not start with a story?
One thing that works really well is using common challenges for that customer profile, pulled by a call to view. Something like: “Imagine a company that records all business activity records in spreadsheets. This company’s sales leader, Jiao, invests 2 hours a day every day…”
At this point, your interlocutors will certainly have already imagined Jiao sitting at his desk, stressed with Excel spreadsheets. Did you do the same reading this text? So it worked!
Get your storytelling right for sales!
As much as storytelling is an excellent sales tool, it must be used in a well-planned and organized way. Even poorly told stories can end up seeming artificial and, consequently, misleading. And nobody wants to be cheated on a purchase, right?
To prevent this from happening with your use of narratives in sales, we have separated some important tips:
1. Create real connection with your interlocutor
Connection is a key point of storytelling. But for that, it is necessary to remember that people behave differently from each other. In other words, the connection can be different for each client profile.
Knowing the profile of the audience well is the first step in order not to make a mistake in the approach. However, more definitive will be the understanding of the seller himself at the time of face-to-face interactions.
A good reading of the environment ensures that narrative resources such as emotion are used properly.
2. Build a brand identity
If the stories are told by your company, what is it like as a narrator? If you were a book author or film director, what would your style be like?
It’s good to think about this before you start storytelling. In this way, the narratives will be more consistent with each other.
To help, think about how big brands behave in this regard. M.C. Donald’s is cheerful and fun, Disney is inspiring, Dior is elegant and sophisticated… Any attempt to be different from that would certainly surprise consumers.
So try to associate some adjectives to your brand, think about how it can be transported to stories and start building yours!
3. Use narrative elements
Of course, a story, to be interesting, needs to have some elements:
- A hero, a character we identify with
- A challenge, something that is not easy to solve
- A mentor, someone who helps the hero fined the solution (probably you and your company!)
- A climax, that moment of greatest emotion
- An interesting and positive solution
Try to include these elements throughout your storytelling, considering how they can be organized in an authentic and engaging way. It will surely hold your audience’s attention!
Storytelling for sales in action!
By knowing the elements and uses of storytelling for sales well, you can begin to include it in your audience interactions.
But, very important: always evaluating if the results really improved and if that is the right time to use this resource.