Structure is important when crafting your sales story. Learn the four-part structure for a compelling story, and the eight questions your story needs to answer.
- Tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. That's the advice most of us were taught in grade school for how to give a speech or a presentation. But a story isn't the same as an entire speech or presentation. So that grade school advice isn't very helpful. After all, the entire story is contained in the middle part of that description. Tell them. And that doesn't provide any structure at all. Fortunately, there are several narrative structures that are designed for real storytelling. Here's the structure I recommend. Context, challenge, conflict, resolution. Briefly, the context is the setting of the story. Where and when it took place. The challenge is the problem or opportunity the main character ran into. This is where the hero meets the villain. The conflict is the action of the story. This is where the hero does battle with the villain. And the resolution is how everything turned out in the end. And since these are sales stories, not just stories for entertainment, I found it's helpful to have one step to transition into the story and get your audience interested. Which I call the hook. But the easiest way to understand that structure is to understand the questions that your story needs to answer and the order in which it needs to answer them. These are the eight questions your story needs to answer: why should I listen to this story? Where and when did it take place? Who's the main character and what did they want? What was the problem or opportunity they ran into? What did they do about it? How did it turn out in the end? What did you learn from it? And what do you think I should do now? And the order you answer those questions matters. Unlike in a business memo, the resolution and the recommended action goes at the end, not at the beginning. Imagine you're listening to someone tell a fantastic story, but they fail to answer the question about where and when it happened. Depending on how incredible the story is, you might actually start wondering if it was true. And those questions will keep nagging at you until they're answered which keeps you from listening intently to the rest of the story. So, here's what your story should sound like if it's in the right order. Imagine you're answering someone's question by telling them a story. You might respond, you know, I think the best example of that I've seen, was back in sometime at someplace. There was this person and she was trying to do something, but then one day, something happened. So she did this, and then the bad guy did that, and so she did this. Well, eventually it turned out like this. Now, what I learned from that was this, and that's why what I think you should do is that. That's how a story should flow. They should answer the eight questions in the proper order. Doing that helps make sure you don't leave out anything important and that the story makes sense, while also making sure you're not including too much information which tends to make stories long and boring. Try the exercise for this video. In it, you'll have to identify the different parts of a story and put them in the right order. Once you've done that, you'll be in good shape to structure your own sales story.
- 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