Anecdotes and yarns – whether drawn from one’s own life experiences or borrowed from another’s – can play an essential role in a benefits broker’s practice. That was the message last month from BenefitsPRO Broker Expo closing keynote speaker Don Goldmann, a vice president at Word & Brown University and president of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).

According to the article reporting on his comments, good storytelling serves several purposes, each of which is key to achieving success in sales:

  1. educating or informing;
  2. persuading; and
  3. motivating the listener.

Goldmann notes that, too often, brokers use data and cold logic to try to win over potential clients. But to earn a prospect’s trust, they first must “speak to the heart, not the head.” Hence the value of storytelling—using a tale, parable, anecdote or chronicle to convey the value of a product or service in an emotionally compelling way.

Storytelling should not be used to create, uncover or instill in prospects desires they didn’t know they had, according to Goldmann. Rather, the aim should be to serve existing needs. Determine what customers want, then explore how financial solutions in one’s toolkit can help fulfill the clients’ goals and objectives.

People don’t want to be sold; they want you to tell them a story so that they want to buy.  Goldmann says that everyone has a story that you tell that will percolate up from the heart to the head. Once prospects’ ears are opened, you talk to them about what they want to hear about what they really need. It’s the storytelling that let’s us do that,” he added. “What’s your story?”

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