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November 7, 2016

The Art of Storytelling in the Sales Cycle


The art of persuasion is largely centered on a person’s ability to gain someone’s trust.  After all, we’re reluctant to say “yes” to a sales rep who seems like their driving motivation is to make a commission.  It’s often as simple as feeling misunderstood by the salesperson, and having a suspicion about their motives given they didn’t make an effort to understand our needs.

But when it comes to the rep who just seems to understand what we want, and can fluently communicate how their product is going to meet our objectives, we tend to feel a certain level of trust.  We get the sense that this person has taken the time to listen to our individual needs and understand our story, therefore they’ve earned the right to propose how their story can offer us a solution to our business challenges.

When this happens we don’t need to be pushed or prodded into saying “yes”, we race to it ourselves.

Stories, Not Products

One of the most effective ways of making sure our sales reps don’t fall into this trap of coming off as being untrustworthy is to ensure that they are thinking about our company, our products and our potential customers as a collection of stories.

Jim Signorelli, advertising executive and author of the award winning book, StoryBranding, discusses how the key to winning over prospects is to think of our product and our company as being a story that aligns with theirs.  He points out that we are living in a time of unprecedented buyer knowledge and skepticism, so many of the old methods of persuasion we’ve used are no longer good enough.  We need to connect with prospects on a more emotional level and inspire them to reach the obvious conclusion of a “yes” on their own.

As humans, we naturally gravitate toward great stories, so ensuring our reps can tell ones that effectively encapsulate the value of our offerings within the context of a prospect’s pain point is the best way to truly connect with them in the highly competitive markets we find ourselves in today.

Shared Successes from the Field

But how do we improve the quality of the stories our reps are telling?  Traditionally, this has been challenging.  A first step is to establish an environment of collaboration among reps that encourages them to share winning stories, language and tips on objection handling with one another on a regular basis.

The next step is to create a central repository of peer-generated insights that reps can refer to for a refresher when they need it.  This way, you are able to leverage the “tribal knowledge” factor by allowing the team to continually fine-tune, update, and even generate new stories that management can easily review and approve for use in the field.

The problem with this strategy for many organizations, however, is that teams are geographically dispersed, making knowledge-sharing among colleagues a challenge.  Not to mention the fact that even for sales teams who can leverage the tribal knowledge factor because reps are all located within close proximity to one another, the only way to store this information is by using highly detailed, text-based documents and emails for their central repositories.  Studies have shown that the human brain processes text 60,000 times slower than visuals, so the effectiveness of any of the collective lessons learned is greatly diminished because reps are far less likely to peruse text documents for self-study and performance improvement. Furthermore, the non-verbal communication that is essential for telling a great story is obviously completely lost in a text document.

The Mobile-Video Era

This is why leading organizations are turning to mobile-video sales learning platforms.  They allow geographically dispersed sales teams to create, curate and continually monitor what becomes a best-practice library of short, highly relevant videos of winning stories and strategies from the field.  There is no need for teams to be located near one another, and individual reps are able to access the goldmine of tribal knowledge that the organization’s front line reps and managers have picked up over the years.

Today’s technology allows for all of this to be easily done using mobile devices or laptops – even without an internet connection.

For more on how the Allego sales learning platform is helping industry-leading organizations revolutionize their stories, request a custom demo here.

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