Selling something means convincing people to actually listen to you. But we don't just mean passive listening in the midst of completing other tasks. You need them to want to listen with rapt interest.
Peddling products and services has moved away from the aggressive days of just shoving information down people's throats. Where shady tactics were upheld and used dynamically to close sales, it's now nonexistent.
The clientele of this day and age have sharper discernment, and aren't so gullible as to fall for cheap telemarketing tricks. Customers do their research, and look for other people's opinions before they jump on board and swipe their cards or give their cash.
Your dry pitches, and list of product benefits with no real context or heart will only bore them.
And here's where storytelling comes into play…
Why does storytelling matter?
Storytelling has been a pass time long before the first events were recorded in history. It's timeless; a vehicle of information that travels from one generation to another. It goes in many directions, travels back in time, and even jumps forward into the future.
Well-told and captivating stories affect the listeners or readers on multiple levels.
Notable benefits of really good storytelling for sales include:
- Building trust and rapport.
- Capturing target audience's attention.
- Making factual data interesting, relevant, and applicable.
- Motivating individuals to act on the CTA.
- Changing people's minds about a product or service.
How to Succeed at Sales With the Power of Storytelling
Sales teams have lots of tools at their disposal. With that in mind, it's also good to know that there are different stories you can tell to more effectively convey your point. Using the right one can elicit the response you're aiming for.
- Who We Are Stories: These tell people who you are, and is crucial to establishing connections. This is the place to describe your brand's humaneness. It's also the perfect place to talk about you, the owner of the business.
- Why We Exist Stories: Tell your customers about your intentions. What's your purpose? Why did you choose to engage in this type of business? Make your reasonings and your motives clear. And if you have a corporate social responsibility, here's the place to tell people about it.
- Vision Stories: Declare your vision, and inspire others to take action. Tell stories about how your brand served your community, or how do you plan to do it.
- Success Stories: People appreciate honesty, transparency, and above all, social proof. Encourage your other customers to tell their stories too, and share that with your potential clients. Let your clients know how your product or service can improve your customers’ lives.
#1 Get creative with storytelling
Substance and content comes first.
Technology and the advancements that come with it are powerful. But you have to remember that it's just a means to an end. All of the state of the art technology and platforms in the world is useless if you fail to gather engagement because of boring content.
This is going to sound easy but difficult to do. You need to connect ideas in a way that invites people to see themselves within your story.
Creative stories do more than showcase your knowledge and demonstrate your authority. It lays out a problem that your audience relates to, and provides a solution to that problem.
Turn the factual explanation into a well-illustrated story. Add metaphors and make comparisons. Sprinkle some humor too.
#2 Combine facts and feelings
Facts and figures stir up customers' curiosity. But here's a fact: you can't seal deals with a spreadsheet filled with numbers. People are far more complicated than that. As we've mentioned, people need to relate to empathize.
Remember that people can forget what you tell them or what you did for them. But they can never forget how you made them feel.
#3 Use different platforms to tell stories
We live in a world that's highly interconnected. Now, it's even easier to tell stories across multiple platforms. From textual content to images and even through producing videos. Length is not a problem either. Lots of content across different social platforms are largely bite-sized and very consumable.
So harness the power of social media, and connect with your audience by meeting them where they are.
#4 Schedule your storytelling
The internet gave us the power to stay connected to people 24/7. This is also one of the reasons why your audiences have an endless appetite for authentic and original stories that they can relate too and gather insight from.
#5 Track progress with analytics
Analytics are how you measure your storytelling progress. This is the pinnacle, and this is how you see the pay-off of your hard work. But of course, before you get to this point, you need to have the fundamentals laid out carefully.
But in essence, with an analytical tool that measures your progress, you can see which types of stories resonate the best with your target audience. You can also see which tactics need improvement, and which ones need to be scrapped.
People Hate Being Sold To. Tell Them Stories Instead
Everybody hates sales pitches. No one wants to hear you ramble about your products. Frankly speaking, they don't care, and they wonder what's in it for them.
Story-telling is a must-have skill for the members of your Sales team and customer service team.
And if you're successful at making your stories relevant and hold your customers' attention, then you can definitely encourage them to take the next step. Always remember to:
- Make it about them: Customers must see themselves in the story all the time.
- Get straight to the point: This is still sales, no matter what we say. You can get creative, but don't get carried away. Write beautifully. But drive the point home quickly too.
- Be visual: People respond well to imagery and visuals. Include visual elements whenever you can, and tell stories that paint scenarios.
- Never fear humor: Everyone could use something funny in their lives. Sprinkle good-natured humor wherever it's appropriate. They would appreciate it, and it would make them smile.
Every business wants to pull their target audiences. So if you want to succeed, you need to do your part and relieve the process of dry communication. Make use of the facts and some feelings.
Tell people stories they can't forget, and those sales are yours.
Alice Brown manages content for Global Sky, and spends most of her time keeping track of the latest customer service trends. She is a firm believer of providing great user experiences for every customer — online or offline.