By Joe O’Neill – One of the key concepts we teach in our Pure Selling program is how to get a prospect listening to and liking you. Perhaps one of the lesser-known skills needed to accomplish this goal is the leveraging the benefits of storytelling.
I confess, I love storytelling and when you’ve been in the trenches as long as I have you have more than your share of stories in your repertoire. Many years ago, I realized the many practical benefits of using these as an effective selling tactic and started focusing on telling stories tactically to develop rapport and build relationships.
A good story needs a character, a premise, a challenge, and a positive outcome. The character needs to be someone to whom your prospect can relate. The premise is often a situation similar to the one your prospect is facing, and that situation may be a challenge, which both you and your prospect agree needs a solution. And everyone loves a story that ends well.
The Benefits of Storytelling
- You will come across as an interesting, authentic person. One with whom the prospect enjoys meeting and engaging.
- You establish credibility. This isn’t your first rodeo. You and your team are the ones who can help.
- The prospect gains some reassurance that the challenge being discussed is not unique to them. It’s most likely a common business challenge with a practical solution.
- A good story transports them into the future and helps them visualize their situation following a successful outcome.
- It helps get the businessperson out of the vacuum in which they all, to a certain degree, reside. It turns out they are not that different from everyone else. Many successful entrepreneurs have needed help. It’s not a weakness.
- It helps build their empathy for how the challenge may also be negatively impacting their employees.
- It can help influence their behaviour as the relationship develops. They may become more inclined to ask you for your opinion, as you build their trust.
- And it’s a fun way to break the ice!
If you don’t have a good story, ask around. I bet you have a friend or colleague who has one that is just the right fit. You just tell the story honestly acknowledging the source.
Being a good storyteller can give you an edge over your competition, by helping you build a trusting and honest relationship quickly. Before your competitor knows what’s happening you and your prospect are moving forward toward a mutually beneficial outcome. Give storytelling a shot!
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