Facts Tell. Stories Sell
How to create a compelling story that sells what you do.
You may be a salesperson but you’re also a consumer and have been someone else’s client at some point. So you know what it’s like to be sold to right?
To keep my message relatable to you, I will pick the topic of food as an example to explain my point about selling through storytelling.
We can all relate to the evolution of food products and the changing theories behind what we should and shouldn’t eat.
As consumers we don’t like to be late to the party or feel like we are missing out. We certainly don’t like to think we’re getting it all wrong whilst others are getting it all right.
There was a time when fat was the enemy! We were programmed to read all labels to check for the fat content and avoid it at all costs. We didn’t think twice to change our natural greek yoghurt to low fat/fat free yoghurt the very next day because that’s what everyone else was doing. We skipped adding the extra virgin olive oil to our salads and opted for low fat salad cream without thinking twice. We just bought it.
Now, sugar appears to be the devil and GOOD fat is off the naughty list.
Fitness brands and diet brands fly off the shelves if any of their products contain ‘zero sugar’ ‘low sugar’ ‘high protein’ on their processed, packaged foods. Suddenly avocados and apples are the bad guys?
What’s the story here?
What message are we being fed?
This is not a health article or a food marketing blog, this is about storytelling.
A key skill you need to master when it comes to sales is storytelling.
What message do you want the customer to hear? What do you want to get across to them?
In this article you will learn:
→ The 2 types of storytelling
→ Why storytelling is effective
→ How to tell your story and how NOT to tell your story
→ How to write your own story that you will then use to share with your ideal customers
The Two Types of Storytelling
The first is where the sales person is the protagonist. The hero.
The customer is the victim. Using the food example above: As the consumer, in this story, the food outlets, brands and food labels are the heroes. They know best for us and they know more than us so we must listen to them if we want what is best.
The second type of storytelling is where the customer is the hero! The customer comes out winning and the salesperson was merely a guide and the supporting act.
Why is storytelling important?
Stories trigger emotional responses which makes what you have to say more memorable.
Studies show that when you deliver the facts alone, only 2 regions of the brain are activated as opposed to 7 when you’re telling a story.
When you’re telling a story, each region is activated when you’re touching a different sense: movement, touch, language, scents, sounds, colours and shapes, and comprehension.
I am going to help you to put together your story. I want you to have a compelling message that speaks from the heart and connects your customers closer to you.
Do you want that too?
I’ll go first, then you can follow my lead.
Option 1: How to tell your story:
Anyone who meets me today will never believe what I am about to say. I wasn’t always confident, bubbly and expressive.
I was that kid at school that was picked last for games and struggled to achieve good grades. I couldn’t find my place in the playground or which group I should play and laugh with. My accent was ridiculed and I also struggled to find the right words.
I didn’t fit in.
At 8 years of age, foreign student, not able to speak a word of English, you can say that my first year in the UK was not easy. Having left family and best friends in my previous country, I was lost and craving for normality to resume.
I became obsessed with learning and to be noticed. I took up dancing, learning different languages and working harder than anyone else. I was on a quest to find my greatness.
Today I want to make a difference with my passion for elevating people’s greatness and showing them the best version of themselves. This is why I am a trainer and coach. I am passionate about developing myself and the people around me to be themselves on a really good day.
This is why Elevici was born.
We offer bespoke sales training solutions and business development support.
Option 2: How most do it but shouldn’t:
I have 12 years experience in sales. I am degree educated and have won numerous awards. I know what I am doing. I can show you how you too can be as great as me. This is why I started a business called Elevici. We train bad sales people to become good.
Now your go…
Creating your own compelling story
What stands out to you in my story? What compelled you to keep reading?
Here are some key features I want you to study and consider when writing your own story:
1)Be authentic. I don’t know who you are reading this, but I have let you in. I have revealed embarrassing truths about myself that could make anyone think I am weak but instead, I use that difficult past as my fuel.
2) Share your vision. People are drawn towards people who are on a mission. We love success stories and inspirational stories which is why Disney fairytales were so important when growing up and why we still love them as adults. We want to see man on the moon, we want to see life on other planets, we want to explore the deep blue sea, we want to see record breaking sporting events and we love a rags to riches story.
3) Keep it simple and relatable. Don’t overcomplicate the language or have too many hidden messages. Be relatable and an equal to your audience.
4) Get sensory: use as much emotional and sensory language to trigger all the regions of the brain. This helps your audience to remember you. For example in my story (option one above) I built a picture for you by talking about the playground and school. I also touched on your sensory language by mentioning that I struggled with words and couldn’t speak english. Then I touched on the movement region of the brain where I share my passion for dancing and how I struggled to fit in. You could even say I lightly triggered your palette because I built a picture of me ‘craving’ normality that you could almost taste how frustrating that experience was for me. You don’t have to always trigger all 7 regions but the more regions you touch the more your audience will remember.
5) How can you help? People want to know what you can do for them. The reason we love the rags to riches stories is because whilst we admire the person who’s ‘made it’ what we really like about the story is that it gives us hope. It makes us feel like we stand a chance and can achieve the same level of success. No one likes a story that makes us think something is difficult and never attainable. That’s why diet books sell.
6) Natural not robotic. Practice but don’t memorise your story so that it becomes like your elevator pitch. Be natural and just remember the key points and the structure to the story, not the whole text word for word. When writing this, hand on heart, I wrote that story above off the cuff. I just spoke from the heart without overthinking it. I didn’t meticulously study which words I was going to use and in which order to use them in. With practice, you too will tell natural, engaging and emotional stories.
7) Make an impact. It’s not always about the content but about how it’s delivered. Comedians are amazing at this. They survive on their delivery because sometimes the content they speak about is not new stuff. Look at the opening of my story. What can you notice? I am creating suspense and setting you up for the ‘turning point’. But enough about me…. look at how brilliantly these stories are delivered by someone the most iconic stars. You will not be disappointed, grab a cuppa and check them out.
- https://youtu.be/mE0N4QIEyD8 (play from 1.08 to 4.30m)
- https://youtu.be/5V9gbgICPKY (play all)
- https://youtu.be/kN0SVBCJqLs (play all)
So the impact can be beautifully designed like a sandwich at the beginning and at the end of the speech. It’s got to be memorable and relatable.
Facts tell. Stories sell.
Let’s have a look at a different example where perhaps the salesperson is focused more on the facts than the story.
“Our accountant practice is the best on the market. We have been going since 1970. We have the most qualified advisers. We are the biggest in the region. 90% of our customers would be happy to recommend us to a friend. We have 210 testimonials on our website. Nobody will beat us on price”
Whilst all the facts and data above may be accurate, what is missing? Who is the hero and who is the victim in this story?
Let’s try again …
Storytelling that sells:
“When I started my first business I got hit hard. I was burnt by lousy self taught bookkeeping. A mistake I vowed never to make again. For this reason, I went on a journey to becoming the most qualified, educated and experienced accountant there is in the area so that I could save someone else from making the same mistake as I did. This is why our practice is still around 50 years later and our customers, I can proudly say, have never experienced what I went through.”
Who would you rather work with?
They are both the same person and same company. This is someone we actually worked with. All we did was change the language and lead with his passion and vision rather than with the facts and figures. We created a story that gave him the edge he was looking for. Many competitors are trying to beat the price rather than increase the value, many of his competitors are also trying to become the biggest. Nobody comes close. His customers are loyal and relate to his compelling story that price and size of organisation doesn’t have the same effect.
Regardless of our profession, we all have a powerful story to tell. The power is in the language, the structure and in the vision that drives you to do what you do.
Now it’s your turn. Have a look at the language you are using on your website, social media, emails and other communication channels.
What does your language say about you and what you do?
You’re not alone in this. If you are preparing for a presentation, a speech or a big meeting, we can support you. We can bring your story to life. For more support please check out our www.elevici.co.uk and book your free discovery call.
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