By Cliff Kiel, Purchasing Power’s Vice President, General Sales Manager. Connect: 

It happens all the time. Prospects are so busy focusing on an objection that they completely miss the big picture. They might be so occupied arguing cost that they miss the true value of what they are buying. Ever happen to you? Sure it has. And the best way around this is to tell the customer a good story.

As sales professionals, we sometimes don’t take the value of stories seriously enough. In his October article, Brian Hicks contends that stories have been effective communication tools for centuries because a good story has staying power. He points out that your prospect can forget a stat before you leave the room, but tell him or her a good story and that prospect will not only remember it, but is likely to repeat it to others.

There are many different tools in a sales professional’s toolbox. Similarly, a variety of different stories can be told to convey a point. Using the correct type of story can help elicit the action or feeling you want from a customer. A few of the staples are:

  • Vision Stories – Communicate your vision and inspire others to act. Relay a story about how a product or service in our employee purchase program made a difference for an employee. We can provide you with many real-life stories like that.
  • Who Am I Stories – Demonstrate who you are to people and create that crucial connection. Prospects will know you’re the type that goes above and beyond when they hear how you saved those kittens from a burning building.
  • Why Am I Here – Inform listeners of your intentions up front and create trust. There’s much to be said for being transparent. Customers might actually become more receptive if you tell them what you’re trying to sell.
  • Company Stories – Share knowledge and inform others. To be effective these stories need a “wow” moment. You essentially need to teach listeners something they’ve never heard or considered. In the context of a story, they’ll remember this forever.

When you sit down to make a presentation this week, don’t whip out a spreadsheet or a brochure and start spouting numbers. Instead, try something like, “I once had a policyholder who never thought it could happen to her…”

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