Can telling the wrong stories screw up your sale? Well sometimes. But it’s pretty rare. Check out this video to hear a classic tale about a salesman telling the wrong story at the wrong time.
Let’s talk about the dark side of storytelling and sales.
We’ve already talked about how powerful stories are as a tool of persuasion because they’re an immersive experience – they’re the original virtual reality.
A well-told story draws people into it, which is great if you’re trying to engage people, but the problem becomes – What happens when you tell a story that’s traumatizing or off-putting we’re just too much information ?
So several years ago I was shopping with some friends of mine who are building a house and they were shopping for bathroom fixtures. There was this big burly salesman and he had helped him pick out a bath and the sink.
As we were walking around my friend pointed to a bidet and he said “what’s that?” and the salesman said, “Oh that’s a bidet that would be very nice for your wife.”
My friend replied, “But I don’t understand. How do you use it? What sort of benefit is it to have one of these? And the salesman to his credit decided to tell a story.
Unfortunately, the story started like this he said, “You know ,I used to work in a prison system. It’s very hot in the prisons and I’m a big burly guy and I used a sweat a lot.”
Now at that point I decided to walk away from the conversation because I kind of knew what was coming up next and I didn’t want to hear it. But my friends weren’t so lucky .
The next time I bumped into them they were on their way out the store and they were white as ghosts. They were totally traumatized by this guy’s story. He had done a very good job in describing the potential benefits of the bidet but he lost the customer because his story was off-putting and as my friend’s wife said as we left the store ,, “I really didn’t need to know that guy had b**ls on his *ss!”
What’s the best way to persuade people to buy something? How do you effectively and ethically influence other people’s thoughts?
Believe it or not, the best persuasion tools were discovered by the ancient Greeks thousands of years ago.
Here’s a video explaining these persuasion tools and how to use them in your sales presentations.
I hate the ancient Greeks – and it’s for one reason and one reason only: Jealousy!
They came up with all the best ideas they made all the best discoveries thousands of years ago before anybody else had the chance.
Geometry? they had that covered.
Philosophy? they were all over that too.
Physics? Well they kind of screwed up on physics but you know you can’t win em’ all.
One of the areas they were best at though was the power of persuasion.
Remember, Athens was a democracy – so the politicians and the leaders had to sell people on their ideas. Because of this, the Greeks had persuasion down to a science. They discovered the three main persuasive tools that work on human beings.
Number one is Logos or logic. Having a logical argument that makes sense is obviously a great way to persuade someone.
Number 2 is Pathos. Pathos is simply an appeal to emotion. Any sort of emotional connection that you can make in your audience is going to be a powerful one because humans are emotional beings.
The third way of persuading people is something called ethos. Ethos is a little bit more complicated, but for the purposes of storytelling to sell think of ethos as just one phrase: People like us do this, or people like us buy this.
Ethos is our way of self-identifying as part of a group. If the rest of the members of our group are doing something then it must be a good thing us to do to, right?
So let’s show you how to use all three of these techniques in stories.
Now when I was a business coach for entrepreneurs I would often speak at events where there would be hundreds of people – many of them potential clients. One of the things that I wanted to do was get them interested in hiring a coach like me.
So here’s what I did. I told story after story about clients of mine – entrepreneurs who had come to a coach to solve their business problems, and through that coach, solved their problems and made more money.
I used Logos. I would tell a story about a common business problem, then talk about the steps to solve that problem and how that problem ultimately got solved – making the client more money in the end.
I also used Pathos – an appeal to emotion. I talked about my clients as real people – about their frustrations when things weren’t going well, and their relief once their problems were solved.
And finally, my appeal to Ethos occurred naturally. By telling story after story of people who were like them – I showed them that hiring a coach was something that their successful peers did to improve their business.
So those are the three powers of persuasion – Logos, Pathos and Ethos. If you use these tools in your stories you’ll get more clients than you expect. And when you do, you can blame it all on the ancient Greeks.
Everyone is talking about storytelling as today’s best sales tool. But have you ever thought about the different ways that stories can help you in the sales process? In this video I talk about three of the best ways to use stories to help you sell a product, a service or an idea.
You know for years people said sales was a numbers game, but with increased competition it’s becoming more and more of a quality game.
That means you need to be able to make a connection with your customer.
You need to be able to provide them with insight, and you need to be able to show them how you can solve their problem. And the great thing is, stories can help you do all three of those things.
In later episodes i’m going to go into more depth about each of these three areas, but let’s just have a quick look at them right now.
So the first key sales piece is connection. For those of you who are coaches and consultants and are selling yourself – this connection with your prospective client is hugely important. A great way of building connection is to tell a true life story about yourself and about how you’ve been in a position that your prospective clients are probably in now. This shows that you understand their problem, you understand their mindset, and you understand what they’re feeling.
The second thing is insight. This is where you can differentiate yourself and show your expertise to your prospective customer – by giving them insight into their problems or their needs.
My ideal customers want to get more clients more quickly and they’re probably already doing talks and sales presentations – but those presentations aren’t working the way they want them to. So one of my pieces of insight is that well told true life stories are often the missing link between low sales and high sales.
To illustrate this insight I started talking about my own experience, and how when I first started doing presentations to sell myself and my business they didn’t do so well. Why? Because they were primarily based on logic and facts. It wasn’t until I started incorporating relevant true life stories that I really began to turn my audience into clients.
The third way that we can use stories and that is to deal with audiences objections. So usually the objection to buying is related around price.
Will this product or service be worth what I pay?
That’s why I always include a true-life tale about a client who I have helped incorporate stories into their presentation. I make sure to talk about that clients results after working with me . That way I can deal with that price objection right away and do it in a way that’s efficient effective and doesn’t sound like boasting.
The Three Best Ways to Use Stories to Sell
So there you have it. stories can help you build connection with your potential customer, it can provide insight for that customer into their problem, and also help them deal with any objections that they may have . If you regularly share stories that accomplish these goals, you’ll not only have more customers, you’ll have true fans.
So why are stories a great way to sell products services or even ideas?
Well partially it’s due to storytelling’s impact on the brain.
Check out the video below to find out how storytelling works on the brain and why stories are great for sales.
Storytelling is extremely old. It goes back tens of thousands of years and even predates language
So imagine a caveman coming home from the hunt and he’s sitting around the fire with his family and he’s acting out all of the scenes of the things that happened to him that day. That is how old storytelling is.
Because of this, human beings have developed a capacity to understand stories and to remember stories much better than any other form of communication.
Storytelling and Sales
Let’s imagine you’re doing a sales presentation and you’re using facts and graphs and charts.
What you are doing is engaging the logic centers of the brain. That’s a good start, but that’s often not enough to get people really paying attention.
Instead, let’s imagine you’re telling them a story – a story about human being so it’s inherently something that is emotional or has some sort of emotional tie to it. Maybe during the course of the story you start to describe how things looked, or how they sounded. or how they smell how they felt and suddenly —you hit the jackpot! You have connected with seven or eight centers of the brain.
Now you’ve really got people paying attention! You see, storytelling is actually the oldest and most effective form of virtual reality that we have.
As a result they’re going to remember what you’ve said and also remember your point – because stories are memorable.
The second thing that happens is that people will react emotionally to stories. Good stories will make them feel happy, glad, sad, or mad.
This sort of emotion is what stimulates people to a call to action- and a call to action is exactly what you want when you’re doing any kind of sales.
In this short video I’ll show you how to use stories to address your customer’s objections and problems.
“You know it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling a product or service or even an idea.
All sales begins with solving your customers problem.
Your customer maybe a few people in a niche market or, if you’re selling an idea, your customer maybe society as a whole.
So let’s look at a couple of examples here.
On the product side, let’s say you’re selling goat milk. The problem that you may have
is that goat milk is nutritious and people should be drinking it but it doesn’t taste very good. So how do you make this nutritious product taste better?
On the other hand if you’re selling an idea, and that idea is socialized healthcare, the problem you may be solving is – How do we create a system where everybody regardless of income can get quality healthcare.
You know, when you’re using stories to sell you need to be very clear about what problem you’re solving and then you can bring in a story to introduce your solution.
So your solution maybe chocolate goat milk, or maybe its government hospitals, but the job doesn’t end there because no matter what solutions you propose, your audience is
going to have some objections – some questions in their mind.
And some of those questions may be – “Are my kids and my husband going to like chocolate goat milk? Or “will the quality of my health care be affected if we move to socialized medicine?”
So the key here is to tell a true life story that actually addresses these objections. If you’re selling the goat milk, maybe you tell a story about how you won your family over and you started selling chocolate goat milk at a local market and it became popular and kids loved it.
On the other hand, if you’re selling socialized medicine, maybe you tell a story about a patient who went into a government run Hospital and it saved their life.
So as you can see no matter what you’re selling stories can help you connect with your customers problems and also deal with their objections.”