Discover the top six reasons why storytelling works so well in sales: stories build strong relationships with the buyer; aid in decision-making; make you and your product more memorable; can increase the value of your product; and spread by word of mouth. Research also shows that buyers actually want to hear more stories from salespeople.
- Compared to other forms of communication used within sales storytelling has a number of unique abilities. In fact, I'm sure there are dozens of reasons why storytelling works amazingly well in sales. In this video, I'm just going to describe the top six. Number one, stories help build strong relationships. Storytelling almost magically builds trust, which is the foundation of good relationships. It does so by providing a personal, intimate, and perhaps vulnerable glimpse into your world.
Reading the facts on your resume doesn't really let someone get to know you, and spending enough time together could take months or years. A story is the shortest distance between being a stranger and a friend. Number two, storytelling speaks to the part of the brain where decisions are actually made. Much of the cognitive science in the past two decades tells us that human beings make subconscious, emotional, and sometimes irrational decisions in one place in the brain and then justify those decisions rationally and logically in another place.
So, if you're trying to influence buyers' decisions, using facts and rational arguments alone aren't enough. You need to influence them emotionally and stories are your best vehicle to do that. Number three, stories make it easier for the buyer to remember you, your ideas, and your product. Many studies show that facts are easier to remember if they're embedded in a story than if they're just given to people on a list. But you don't need to rely on the studies.
I can prove it to you right now with a simple observation and that is that all of you sitting there watching this video right now know that, by this time tomorrow, none of you will remember this list of six things, right? It's okay, I'm not insulted. Every time I teach a course like this, I have to look at the list myself, because it's just a list of six things. But all of you who watched the last video know that, by this time tomorrow, you will remember the story of pig island. In fact, next week, next month, or next year, most of you will be able to tell the story of pig island and get most of the facts right, but none of you will remember this list of six things.
That's the power of good storytelling. Number four, storytelling actually increases the value of the product you're selling. In July 2009, journalist, Rob Walker, and author, Josh Glenn, conducted a remarkable experiment. They purchased 100 ordinary items from thrift stores and garage sales: a jar of marbles, a meat thermometer, a wooden mallet, a toy pink horse, etc. Each item cost, on average, $1.29.
Then they asked volunteers to write short, fictional stories about each item. Walker and Glenn then placed each item for sale on eBay, but instead of putting a simple description next to the picture of each item, they put only the fictional story that was written for it. Within five months, all 100 items had been sold. They had originally paid a total of $128 for the items, but the resale price paid on eBay totaled $3,612, or a 2,800% increase in value.
In the words of Walker and Glenn, their experiment showed that narrative transforms insignificant objects into significant ones. In other words, stories turned cheap objects into valuable ones. Number five, stories are contagious. Make a great sales pitch and it stays in the room where you made it. But when you tell a great story, it can travel around the world, and that's useful, because you can rarely get all the decision makers in a room together.
You need your message to spread on its own. It works because a typical sales presentation or memo isn't very exciting. Now, honestly, when's the last time you heard someone say, "wow, you'll never believe "the PowerPoint presentation I just saw"? Probably never. But people say that about a good story all the time. Finally, number six, your buyers actually want more stories from you. Forrester Research conducted a study in 2013 asking 319 executive level buyers, in North America and Europe, how frequently the salespeople who call on them are prepared in certain ways.
The buyers responded that 62% of the time, the salespeople were knowledgeable about the company and products they represented. 42% of the time, they were knowledgeable about the buyer's industry. But only 21% of the time, the lowest in the survey, did they have relevant examples or case studies to share. In other words, only one in five sales calls include enough stories to satisfy the buyer. Now, my hope is that these six are enough to convince you that you should be telling more sales stories and that you want to learn how to do it well, and that's exactly what I hope you do in the remainder of these videos.
- What is a sales story?
- Why tell sales stories?
- The 25 sales stories you need
- How to get buyers to tell their stories
- What makes a great story great?
- Choosing the right story to tell
- Finding great stories
- Story structures
- Challenge, conflict, and resolution
- Delivering stories verbally and in writing
- The ethics of storytelling