Storytelling in sales: The secret sales tactic to closing more deals
Published on September 08, 2023
No matter what you’re selling, the days of relying on cold calls and emails to close deals are long gone. But there’s one sales strategy that’ll never go out of style: storytelling. Let’s explore what makes story such a powerful tactic for closing deals.
Don’t let economic uncertainty derail your sales strategy
If generating revenue feels harder than ever … you’re not alone. In the uncertain and ever-changing economy, fewer and fewer sales reps feel confident in their ability to close deals. We can’t blame them.
Purchasing power is in flux and prospects are reconsidering cost-benefit ratios, making it more difficult for sales teams everywhere to do their (already challenging) jobs. But what if we told you there’s one sales tactic that can restore sales rep confidence and convert prospects into paying customers? The secret to sales success — even in uncertain times — is storytelling.
The power of story in sales
Let’s be real: you’re no stranger to the power of a good story. Whether you’re a bookworm or a cinephile, you can probably list five of your all-time favorite stories without batting an eye. But when was the last time you thought about how stories fit into your sales strategy?
The reason that you can easily and passionately recall the plot of your favorite TV show is the same reason that stories work in sales. Stories engage us. Stories make us feel something. Stories stick with us. And it’s why storytelling will never face extinction.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou knew a thing or two about the power of emotion. Sure, sometimes we humans rely on logic for decision-making. But often, it’s what we feel that drives our choices (70% of the time, according to Gallup). You could have the smartest features, the best price, or the most compelling influencers promoting your product/service. Yet when purse strings are tight, none of that matters.
What does matter is whether you can connect with prospects on a deeper, more emotional level. A surefire way to do so is by demonstrating that you relate to them. After all, customers are more likely to buy from a company they identify with. That’s where storytelling comes in.
But before you can tell a story that prospects relate to, that moves them on an emotional level, you must have a thorough understanding of them.
Consider this example. You’re selling solar panels, and your first course of action is to tell a story about Earth’s climate-related fate. As you passionately explain how your product can save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by X%, you notice your prospect starting to zone out. “How could this be?!”, you ask yourself. “Don’t they care about the environment as much as I do?”
The reality is … maybe not. Perhaps this prospect prioritizes cost savings more than carbon savings. In that case, you’d be much better off telling a story about how much money Sally Solar has saved (and how she’s been able to repurpose that cash flow) after purchasing her first solar panels.
The best stories are audience-centric they’re about what the audience needs to hear, not what you want to say. Once you understand your audience’s priorities, you’ll be more likely to tell stories that elicit emotion (and therefore build authentic rapport) because you’ll be coming from a place of empathy.
And storytelling isn’t just sentimental — it’s scientific. In addition to evoking emotion and fostering connections, stories alter brain chemistry by releasing hormones like dopamine, cortisol, and oxytocin.
This brain-chemical cocktail makes listeners feel like they are the ones experiencing the story. So, instead of listening to a disconnected laundry list of reasons to buy, your prospects will start to see (and even feel) themselves in a scenario where they’re benefiting from the product/service. And that is a sales strategy everyone can get behind.
When told through an audience-centric lens, stories are vehicles for change. But your sales strategy isn’t complete without considering the person who tells the stories, too.
The art of story-selling
Ok. You’ve analyzed your audience, collected some of the most relevant stories, and identified how to integrate them into your sales presentation. But having good, audience-centric stories doesn’t equate to being a good storyteller (or story-seller, one could say). Storytelling is an art, and just like any craft, it takes practice.
Good news: you can equip every sales rep on your team to be a skilled storyteller through specific presentation training. You could also consider utilizing speaker coaching services as a part of your sales enablement strategy. This way, your reps will be able to deliver their content compellingly and crush their sales targets.
The story continues… across channels
One more thing. We live in an increasingly hybrid world. Customers of all kinds expect to engage with brands across multiple channels. It’s not enough to incorporate stories into your initial sales conversations. Your storytelling efforts must be omnichannel if you want to guarantee a winning sales strategy. Across every touchpoint, at every stage in the buyer’s journey, it behooves you to integrate elements of audience-centric stories. This is now what we call brand storytelling.
A tool for your sales team
When introducing change, getting started is often the hardest part. So, to help kick off your organization’s sales storytelling journey, check out our sales presentation guide, which can help your team:
- Choose the right presentation format
- Tailor content to your audience
- Create impactful visuals
- Refine delivery skills
This way, you don’t have to start your new sales deck from scratch. This tool can also help your team adopt a sales deck template so that all of your sales reps can deliver presentations in a way that resonates and motivates prospects and customers.
If you prefer a more personal touch, we’d love to chat about your unique sales and marketing challenges. We can map out a team training journey or a custom solution to help your sales reps crush their quotas.
Business, Presenting, Sales and marketing
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