For today’s sales leaders it’s almost impossible not be analytically driven. Every aspect of our sales lives are driven by key performance indicators, dashboards, and pipeline metrics. Making the number is what it is all about.
ES Research Group is a strong believer in management by numbers—after all, if it can’t be measured, it can be managed. One area where we think it’s all right to think outside the analytical box is connecting with customers through storytelling. I’ve written about that before here and here.
Being able to relate to your prospects is often the very first thing you must do in a sales call—in person or on the phone. We don’t mean old fashioned techniques like noticing photos in a prospect’s office or trying to create rapport by talking about the weather. Today you have a wealth of information available to build an inventory of stories that help you personally or professionally connect to your prospects. It may be an example of how you helped an existing customer or it may be how you’d held a similar position in a previous role and understand the pressures the prospects are facing. Either way, by having a process in mind that provides quick access to your stories will make it easier for you to convince your prospects you understand and have been down this road before.
ES Research has found that:
- Some people process information better in story form
- Stories are powerful and have been with us since the beginning of time—it is something we understand at a level deeper than we can often realize
- The format of a good story is easy to follow, which enables you to set the direction for a conversation with your customer.
In addition to our findings and intuitive understanding, those who study brain science have found proof that “story structure” is an information delivery system powerhouse, evolutionarily hardwired into human brains.
Connection is the watchword in today’s selling environment. Whether it’s through direct face-to-face sales or by using the latest in social media, we are trying to get our prospects to connect with us on a deeper level. We want richer relationships so we move up the value chain to trusted advisor, challenger, or whatever role works best with the individuals with whom we are working in our customer organizations. We don’t want to be sellers, we want to be business partners. Storytelling in a meaningful way will help you do that.
If you haven’t looked into storytelling as it applies to B2B selling, you can start here. It’s a podcast interview I did with Mike Bosworth. If you haven’t listed to this, it’s more than worth your investment of time. Mike explains all of this in a clear, concise, and very compelling way.
Image source: LuxQ.com