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TW Magazine
February, 2002
Sales Through Storytelling:
Story Tell, Story Sell!

Leverage the power of stortelling to showcase skills, values and experience with short, powerful success stories.

Nothing succeeds like success!  And in sales nothing succeeds quite like success stories. Are you sharing yours?  Why not?  The secret is in how you share your successes.

Learn to tell thirty-second "success stories."  During sales calls a quick-hitting story can make or reinforce a point in memorable fashion.  Success stories may be told in response to a question, to serve as a testimonial, or even as an aside.  Did you know you had a storied past?

Stories work for several reasons: they're more memorable than numbers, names and dates; and listeners enjoy the drama: a problem followed by a solution, a mystery solved with a twist, or a creative workaround to a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  Also, your listener can find him or herself in the story.  A good story will resonate with prospects. 

According to Gay Ducey, a past president of the National Storytelling Association, "we're wired for stories, individually and collectively.  Since the time of Odysseus we've been told stories.  Since we were little kids we've been read and told stories.  This is how we’ve been conditioned to learn; our morals and our values are taught through stories."

Look at your sales history and pick out an accomplishment.  Now tell the story behind the accomplishment.  It states that you helped a past client increased sales 60%. But tell how you did it; Cite a "before vs. after" description.  What was the secret? Stories that reveal secrets captivate.

The Three S's of Success Stories

Success stories offer a setting, a situation and a solution.  Remember, you're the hero of your stories. Your decisions, actions and insights made the difference.

Here is an example:

"We recently received a call from a merchant unhappy with their current vendor.  They were paying high fees, receiving poor service and experiencing frequent security breaches. In short order we were able to launch a wireless processing system that was more secure, more reliable and even less expensive.  Through customization we were able to address their foreign and domestic needs, a strength of ours."

Not only does this success story demonstrate an independent sales organization's ability to solve problems, it showcases an understanding of business, markets and methods.

Stories can demonstrate your professionalism, customer service, researching ability, creativity, problem solving inclination or other strengths. Here are a few examples:

  • Your analysis of existing processing statements and identification of cost savings
  • Your experience with a variety of systems and payment methods: credit, debit, phone and gift cards, etc.
  • Your skill in designing billing systems that cross borders and time zones and convert currencies"

Review your past work history and identify the stories within each accomplishment.  Now tell them to others.  Don’t forget the moral to your story: the point the story tells about you (and your firm), your skills and credits. And remember, yours is a never-ending story!

Click on this link to read more about Craig's interactive presentation SALES THROUGH STORYTELLING: Story Tell, Story Sell.

Click here to download a small PDF file with a description of Craig's interactive presentation SALES THROUGH STORYTELLING: Story Sell, Story Sell.


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contact Craig by email: Craig@ExpressionsOfExcellence.com
or by phone: (510) 547-0664.

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