What makes a TED Talk go viral? Why do you get sentimental when you hear an old love song? Classic fairy tales written hundreds of years ago still capture the imaginations of children today – why is that?
The answer is pretty clear: All of these are examples of great storytelling.
It’s a common thread you see in advertising, marketing, branding, and especially in sales. Storytelling can absolutely help you get to your quarterly quota faster, and it’s really not complicated to understand why it works: Everyone loves hearing about characters who face challenges and overcome them. Telling your own stories, and the stories of others, is going to humanize what you are selling and make your connections with prospects much more influential and impactful.
Telling a good story comes naturally for some – for others, it might take some practice. Here are some reasons why storytelling is essential to sales, and some tips for how to make storytelling an integral part of your sales strategy:
Storytelling in Sales is Backed by Science
Storytelling truly is an art form, but there is actual science that explains why the human brain is designed to love stories. Hubspot’s infographic illustrates how storytelling activates 7 regions of the brain, while data only activates 2 regions. This is exactly why stories are so powerful. From movement to language processing to detailed descriptions, stories set fire to our imaginations and create empathy with the characters and their struggles. And, they also make sales pitches more engaging – for both you and your prospects.
Storytelling Makes Sales Fun
Besides resonating with an audience on a deeper level, storytelling is also an opportunity for you to really be creative with your sales pitch and bring some personality to what you are selling. Think about the kind of sales pitch you’d want to hear: Do you want to listen to a bunch of bland industry-related stats? Or, would you like to hear about a real-life scenario when the product helped make someone’s life easier or better? Within sales, storytelling delivers the practical takeaways for prospects through characters, which is (usually) more compelling than data and stats.
5 Tips for Including Storytelling into Your Sales Strategy
You don’t have to be a great writer or creative genius to use storytelling in sales. All it takes is a little strategy and practice. Here are some ways you can do it:
1. Start with the basics. What are the components of a good story? It involves a main character, a challenge that the character faces, and the character getting past that roadblock (usually with whatever you are trying to sell). In addition to the narrative, most of the best stories have a clear introduction, middle and conclusion. It’s important that the journey you are walking your prospects through is clear and easy to follow.
2. Determine what idea you want to communicate. What is the key takeaway you want the listener to get after you finish your story? Knowing your endgame is going to make it that much easier to build out the framework for the story you are trying to tell, and fill in/edit gaps in the storyline.
3. Get their attention. Stories are meant to be captivating as well as informative. Put yourself in the listener’s shoes and ask yourself if this is a story you’d want to hear. Use phrases that everyone is familiar with, and keep the language short and punchy. When you’re telling a story, you need to remove any complications or barriers that will prevent them from understanding the overall objective (which is to sell your product!).
4. Practice makes perfect. It might seem silly to do at first, but you should be reading your story out loud to make sure it’s feels authentic to your listener’s ear. Entrepreneur also stated that reading your message can help you avoid simply reworking your sales materials, or worse, turning the story into a “one-size-fits-all” package. After all, as a salesperson you know firsthand the way you convey a message in on paper or in an email is vastly different from how you would in person or on the phone.
5. Make it personal. This is probably the most important part of storytelling, and it takes a little work but ultimately pays off big in the end when you are closing deals. Use your own experiences with past clients to infuse some of the messaging you want to convey. For instance, if you’re in healthcare sales, talk about how the product made a meaningful impact on a patient. Reaching out to a prospect with a human connection is only going to make your story more powerful.
Great storytelling in sales isn’t as complicated as it sounds – it’s all about being authentic and communicating how your product can help people in real-world scenarios. Utilizing the AI-powered sales intelligence tools can make all the difference in making your communication relevant and impactful. See for yourself how EverString’s sales intelligence can help with a free 7 day trial.