The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

How to Tell Impactful Stories

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Any salesperson can tell a good story. Styles may differ, but your message is what matters. 

A great story helps your buyers understand what’s possible and how they can achieve their desired outcomes. Understand how to improve your storytelling skills and what to focus on to have a bigger impact on your buyer. John Kaplan shares a few storytelling tactics you can use to elevate your approach and move your deals forward, faster.

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And so if you're telling a storyand you feel like you're losing somebody, just call it out and say,Hey, I'm sorry, that story might not have resonated. Can you giveme some feedback? You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the showthat helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leadersharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuelrepeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader invtb sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the audibilready salespodcast. I'm Rachel Clad Miller, joined today by John Kaplan. Hi John, Hey Rachel, how are you good? Good, so today we are goingto take on a topic that isn't always cut and dry. It justgoes to the nuances of selling, of being great salesperson. It's an importantskill that really separates the best from the rest, and we're calling it storytelling. Yeah, I think this is a...

...storytelling critical skill and it's really allabout painting a picture that the buyer can connect with, and we we wantto try to make this a little bit easier for people to think about.You know, their people probably listening there like, man, I'm not agreat storyteller. Or we're going to, for focus more on the content ofthe story than the style, and so should you. So everybody can tella good story. Yeah, and we all don't have the the same stuckstyle, but it's really just about being able to articulate things that create emotionalconnections for people. Yeah, you know, at the basic level we're trying tosell someone something. In we're a lot of times we're selling change andchanging a solution of process or whatever it is. You know, you youemotionally connect to the change when you are emotionally connected to the why behind itor, as we talked about, like...

...the content involved. The stories helppeople understand the why behind making a change, helping to create emotional connection to it. Yeah, a lot of people use stories and sales because it's aneasy way to paint the picture, so to speak, around what's possible.When I was kind of thinking through this topic, I was reminded of atheory. Not to get all academic video, John, but but I you didmy master's work in communication. We talked a lot about why when wewatch things in media are when we hear things why they have an impact onus. And there's a theory out there called transportation theory, and what thetheory says is when you listen to a story or when you when you watchit, in this case, listen to it, we actually picture ourselves inthe moment, we put ourselves in the other person's shoes and therefore that actthat we do in our how really helps...

...us develop emotional connections to what ishappening to that person in the story. I mean, I think that makestotal sense, like when I watch movies. I think you called it the transportationtheory. It makes total sense. I mean you really kind of transportyourself into into the into the scenario, into the story, and you know, I think stories make it easier to remember key points. It also helpspeople make decisions, and that's what the data says. So, I meanresearch is found that we often make decisions based upon our emotions first and thenjustify the decisions with logic, and emotion is the primary driver of decision making, even over facts and data. Now, that doesn't mean that we all kindof process emotion the same way and and we'll probably talk about that onanother podcast. If you're dealing with more...

...analytical people. The way you tella story needs to have more of the things that the analytical people would need, like facts and data. You can still put emotion into a story withfacts and data, but if you lead with emotion, with somebody that's lookingfor facts and data, that's when you get into into a little bit ofa challenge. But what this really means is for sellers is that we've gotto find ways to emotionally connect with our customers. Yeah, we're not sayingthe facts of data aren't important here, but those are stories, and emotionallyconnecting your customers to the outcomes that other people have achieved is an important skill. And we all know you have great stories, John, and sometimes theymay not have vaccinated, and all of them rarely, but let's let's justsay, for those of you listen, I'm sitting here and listening to thePODCAST, I'm like, okay, great, capain's telling me I have to tellgreat stories. And good for you,...

John, you have great stories.You obviously have it this skill. But how do I go about gettingstories that will actually help me move deals forward? Yeah, that's a greatquestion and I just want to highlight that a little bit. Sometimes we lookat people, we look at somebody at a party or in a business settingor whatever it's say wow, that person tells great stories. Or and again, I think what people are focusing on mostly is they're focusing on the styleand not focusing on the contents. So again, I want to tell youknow, when you saw this podcast, you might some people out there mightthread and go got them. You know, I'm not a good storyteller. Ijust don't believe that. I believe that everybody is capable of being agreat storyteller. So do not confuse style with content. So where I wouldstart? If I'd start with your company proof points. You know you mayhave the the actual metric from the case study, which is Great. Youknow you need that, but I'd ask around to find out how you canget the story behind the deal. A...

...lot of times I'll ask people,hey, tell me, tell me the story behind that proof point. They'llsay we did something at Cocacola, we did something at lows or what haveyou. Enough say tell me the story behind the deal. So ask thepeople who were in walk involved in the deal what truly were the business challengesthat we were solving? What was the impetus for bringing in our solutions.Why did they get the outcomes they achieved and what was surrounding those outcomes?Those are all the makings of a great story and if you're a force managementdisciple, think about the mantra. That's a great place to start. PositiveBusiness Outcomes, required, capabilities and metrics are all about the customer. Whatwas the customer experiencing? What were they trying to achieve the positive business outcomes? What was technically required around those, around those to achieve those positive businessoutcomes? What was at stake if the...

...positive business outcomes weren't met? Andthen how were they going to measure success? How did they messter success and whatwas the success? So you have the contents and the constructs for agreat story. With your own proof points, I would start there. Yeah,I think you make up. You make a really good point down theproof point. That metric is really important. Increase deal size by acts percentage orwhatever, but the emotional connection comes from hearing how the company achieved thatmetric. What were they facing? Were they in my situation where they dealingexactly with what I'm dealing with? I know a force we've had reps whohave. You know they know the proof point, but to help them withthe story, we've had wraps leaders record the actual story of what happened andwhy they were able to move this deal forward and the negative consequences, thethe code of paying the customer was living...

...in. The people that sold thedeal knew those ins and outs and there's often a lot of nuances of thedeal, of that customer relationship that are beneficial for you as a salesperson toknow in future conversations. But that doesn't make it into the marketing version ofthe case study, it doesn't make it into the on the website. Sothat story is really important for enabling our salespeople. Yeah, I love that. I mean you say that the emotion sometimes doesn't really make it into thethe marketing version of the case study in on the website, and I thinkthat's so powerful. A lot of times I'll ask people so, so,where have you done it before and they'll just give me a brand name andthere's no emotion in that. There's nothing for me to emotionally connect to.There's nothing for me to attach emotion to, which is, you know, agreat way to recall things, as that's where our brain works through emotion. We attach emotion to things that we...

...see and things that we hear andwe have better ability to recall it. So I always tell people tell methe story of what happened there. Tell me the story of what happened there. I like to focus on so what? Why did it matter? What werethe negative consequences of not having a successful outcome? That's what, likemovies and drama, is all associated with. There's a problem, there's a challengeand then there's a heroic kind of overcoming of those problems and challenges.That's what we all get emotionally connected to. So use that, but start withwhy did it matter? So what? What were the negative consequences of notachieving that? If you can tell a story about your customers achieving greatoutcomes and overcoming difficult situations and achieving great,...

...positive business outcomes, you are morelikely to be remembered. Yeah, and you're I thing to do,John, is once you have those stories, once you have a grasp on thosestories around the solution you're selling, that's kind often be a great startingpoint. Not those stories to account heart targets. Yeah, so there's nothingworse when you say map them to account targets. You're really saying, makessure the stories are relevant, right. Yeah, there's nothing worse than astoryteller that you know that's telling irrelevant stories and and you know, or usinganalogies that aren't relevant. You know it. It makes it kind of obvious thatyou're you're disconnected from what your customer is experiencing. So you have tomake sure that you're constantly targeting. Why am I telling this story? Andit takes preparation and so, you know, one of the things is to findout, you know, who would...

...those stories resonate with the best?What type of buyer, what type of industry? Use The stories to getyour foot in the door or, you know, move forward in a salesprocess. A lot of times, to test this, I tell a lotof stories, Rachel. I'm constantly telling stories and using analogies and you know, and when I was younger sales yeah, yeah, I know that's a shocker, but when I was younger seller, I would, you know, watchfor my customers reaction and many times I'll under story. Now you'll hearme say things like, are you tracking with me? Did that story makessense? Was that was that relevant for you? And if not, andI always check with the customer because I want them to acknowledge that that madesense. And if I do it in kind of a non threatening way,in the graceful way, a lot of times I'll get feedback. Let's say, well, I'm you know. Somebody might say, well, I'm thatone. I didn't really understand the connection...

...that you are trying to make.No problem, I just adjust it. And so if you're telling a storyand you feel like you're losing somebody, just call it out and say,Hey, I'm sorry, that story might not have resonated. Can you giveme some feedback? Was that relevant for you? And they might say well, you know, we're lows and you gave me an example for Bank ofAmerica and I was just trying to, you know, make the difference.So the reason why I told you that story, Mr Mrs Customers, becausein the it organization this is exactly what they were experiencing. And so justdon't be afraid to qualify and to check if you're getting a vibe that you'renot resonating, just to ask human decency, the way that you ask a storewith the way that you ask a question from the heart we were alldesigned this way. If you ask a question from the heart, you typicallyget an answer from the heart, so don't fear. Yeah, that's great. So if we're going to wrap it...

...up and give some people some takeawaysfor their their week this week in their sales conversations, what would you sayas it relates to storytelling them? Yeah, so the data is clear and itsays that storytelling is a great way for your buyer to remember you.Stories create emotions, and emotions attaching our brains for recall. So make surethat you have stories that are relevant for you and relevant for the buyer.And we can all do it, even if we don't think we're good atstorytelling. Start with your companies stories, your companies proof points where you've doneit before and again. You hear me say this over and over again.Learn the story behind the proof. Positive business outcomes required capabilities and metrics isa great place to start. What was the customer trying to achieve from abusiness perspective? What was technically required in order to achieve that, and thenhow did they measure success? When you...

...talk about those positive business outcomes,don't forget about the nature negative consequences associated with not achieving those. When yousit back and think about it, why did it matter? So what?And if you can answer those two things, you are well on your way totelling the good story. Absolutely all right. Well, thank you somuch, John, for this conversation my pleasure. I know I shouldn't.We should have told some stories in this although I might have gotten to wrong. Thank you to all of you who continually listen to the audible ready salespodcast. Thank you for reaching out to both John and myself about the contentyou're hearing. We love that. If you are listening to this podcast andyou know there's some other salespeople who would benefit from hearing this episode or othersplay, share it with them spread the word. We appreciate you. Thanksfor listening. At force management we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build...

...company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point ofsale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results.Let's get started. Visit US AT FORCE MANAGEMENTCOM you've been listening to the audibleready podcast to not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favoritepodcast player. Until next time,.

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