People are hard wired to tell and listen to stories. Human beings have been telling stories for thousands of years, just ask a caveman. Good story tellers are engaging and dynamic. Great story tellers draw an emotional, visceral response.
Every successful sales process starts with a compelling story told to the prospect or customer. It engages and differentiates. Everyone will tell you how important it is to tell an effective story, yet so many companies and sales teams fail miserably at this fundamental task. Why?
Too many companies and sales teams talk about themselves, their products, their company, etc. The harsh reality is that customers simply don’t care about you, your company or your products and services. What they care about is their business needs, challenges and pain.
Every effective sales story needs an architecture. It needs to include a component of understanding, insight and empathy. You can make an emotional connection with the customer when you do that well. Good stories need to be genuine. Great stories should be perceived as challenging and have some provocative points of view. Who wants to hear a boring story that doesn’t challenge your thoughts, beliefs and perceptions?
Marketing folks are typically tasked with creating customer case studies. Many companies confuse a customer case study with a customer case story. When in fact, these are very two different tools that should be used for different purposes. Great sales story tellers have a library of customer case stories memorized and can tailor their story to the prospect or customer that they are meeting with.
Unfortunately, all too often that “library” is tribal knowledge and not captured and communicated to the larger sales team effectively. Does your company and sales team know how to tell an effective and engaging story? Have you enabled your sales team to tell compelling and tailored customer case stories to other customers?
The answer to those questions are a resounding “no” as we see from our experience with our customers and help them to develop this fundamentally important sales capability. The first step is always admitting that you have a problem:-)