Thursday, 5 June 2014

6 effective types of Selling Story

Whether or not Professor Richard Dawkins at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival of Science  did say that " fairy stories harm children" and should be withdrawn or that as later reports state that he believes such stories stimulate the imagination of children  -  one thing is for sure –  he like us all , know story telling can be extremely powerful.

In  Selling, the skill of storytelling  can been used to improve your podcasts, white papers, blogs, presentations, slide shows, you tube clips as well as conventional sales calls.

Content maybe key, but so also is the way you tell the story. You would  think by a lot of the hype in certain training quarters that 'story telling is the next big thing'. Yet salespeople have part of this communication from earlier times

 For example salespeople in the form of merchants feature in some of the earliest stories:-

After the framing prologue of the tales  of the 1001 Arabian Nights  where the brave Vizier's daughter, Scheherazade needs to tell a story to the King to live another day, the first three stories involve the experiences of merchants :- 

  • The tale of the Ox and the donkey, 
  • The tale of the merchant and his wife , 
  • The story of the merchant and the demon .

Well told tales engage. How many times have you been engrossed in a good story?

You couldn't put down the book, close the eBook, had to go to the next level adventure of the computer game or  you couldn't switch off the movie? 

Maybe a story about a work colleague's success inspired you to push yourself a little harder. Perhaps you changed your opinion after reading a story in a newspaper?

Stories can change the way we think, act, and feel. 

Often that is what we need is to  do change the way clients to think, act and feel.

Story can form the foundations of an entire company culture, and they have the power to break down barriers and turn bad situations around. 

Stories can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions, and inspire us in a way that cold, hard facts often can't.

Stories can be powerful business tools, and successful salespeople use them to engage their clients. 

So, if you want to motivate others effectively, you need to learn how to tell a good story.

 How and when  should Salespeople  use stories.

 Today salespeople have to tell stories in a shorter time span. 

Clients don’t have the time for the old road warrior selling sagas of old.

When you tell a story well, it can create an intense, personal connection between your audience and your message.

Salespeople tell business stories to communicate and connect with, customers, Business stories differ from conventional stories, in that you tell them with an objective, goal, or desired outcome in mind, rather than for entertainment.

You can use stories to achieve a number of different goals. For example:

Reference or testimonial story:

A professional salesperson might tell a story to a prospect who knows little about what her organisation offers. She tells a story about how one of her products helped reduce another client's  costs by 20 %. The prospect is impressed with the product's effectiveness, and places their first order.

"Are you sitting comfortably ?"

 But using stories should be only considered once the salesperson has given the client a good listening to.

Back in the day...

 The BBC radio story telling programme for children which ran between 1950 and 1982
"Listen with Mother" opened with the phrase

"Are you sitting comfortably?                 Then I'll begin."

 The question, originally an ad lib by Julia Lang, became so well known that it ended up in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

So first assess through listening to the client - are they ready to receive ? Are they sitting comfortably.

Here are 6 different story types that you can use.

1.  The "This is us" Story  ( 'Long, Long ago there lived...)

These stories explain who you are as a person and your organisation. They tell others about your dreams, goals, accomplishments, failures, motivations, values, or history.

"This is me" stories  when well told are key to building trust. They tell a back record. They establish a pedigree. Tell these stories when you need to establish a connection with a prospect e.g. first meeting, networking, prospecting.

2. "The reason why we’re here" Stories   (Today's briefing)

" The reason why we’re here " stories convey why you're here, and their aim is to replace any misgiving with trust. People want to know, "What's in it for them?" but they also want to know, "What's in it for you?" These stories explain that you don't have a secret agenda, and that  both parties will get something fair out of the situation.

You can use " The reason why we’re here " stories in fundraising, sales, and situations when you need to build trust quickly, or where you want to reassure someone that you're on a level playing field.

3. Teaching Stories  ( Just so stories)

Teaching stories create an experience that transforms listeners or readers. They show how a change in their behaviour, perspective, or skills can lead to meaningful results.

You can also use teaching stories to illustrate a situation, such as a best- or worst-case scenario.

4. Envisioning Stories    ( A better future)

Vision stories inspire people, and encourage them to feel hope or happiness. Here, you convince your audience that their hard work and sacrifice is worth the effort. You need to link their actions to a specific, valuable, and worthy outcome.

Use envisioning stories when you need to motivate people to change their behaviour. They can inspire people to overcome the frustrations, obstacles, and challenges that come with change, so that they can achieve a worthwhile goal or ideal.

5. Values-in-Practise Stories ( A short pencil is better than a short memory)

Values-in-action stories reinforce the values that you want your audience to demonstrate or think about. These stories can be positive or negative. For example, you can tell stories that demonstrate integrity, compassion, and commitment, or tell ones that highlight attitudes that you don't want to see - for example, cynicism, a corner cutting approach to quality, or a weak work ethic.

6. "Mind reading" Stories  ( If I could read your minds right now)

" Mind reading " stories allow you to address others' objections, suspicions, questions, or concerns before they express them. With these stories, you need to anticipate your client's point of view, so you choose a story that deals with their unspoken concerns.

When you tell this type of story, you  acknowledge and validate the client's perspective or worries. This allows them to feel that you're on their side, and that you identify with their emotions. These kinds of stories are valuable in sales, negotiations, or pitches to key stakeholders  .

ACTION Related Reading suggestions  - Readers are leaders:-

Why not read or listen to audio tapes of well told stories and then using the models above prepare examples you could use in your selling.

1001 Arabian Nights

Aesop's Fables

Kipling  -Just So Stories

Study how advertisers get the story over in just 30 seconds

British Library Boewulf 

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