How to Sell Without Selling: Stories Are Profitable
Story telling in business in powerful and profitable. People buy on emotion and justify their purchases logically. Often when engaging in the selling conversation we thing that what will sell the customer are facts and figures. In fact, fact and figures pose a barrier between seller and buyer.
You want your customer to access all their senses when considering your product or service. The best way to access what I call Life Story App, the buyer’s buying mind, is to engage in the most primitive and effective method available and that is through telling stories.
I’ve interviewed dozens of business professionals on the topic of story telling in business to learn why they don’t use story telling as selling strategy. Many said they did not think it was a strategy but rather something they did to build rapport.
To close more deals learn to craft selling stories that trigger a buying response. Selling stories focus on the problem, solution, and results a client gets when using your product or service. Your customer has a problem your product or service helps to solve. The challenge is that most sales professional bombard customers with all the features, benefits, and data that are irrelevant to the customer during the decision making process.
Open their hearts and minds with stories. Check out Mark Satterfield’s book Unique Sales Stories. It will provide you with an easy to follow recipe for crafting your personalized selling stories that create stronger emotional connection with your customers.
Now for a short lesson on neuroeconomics. People buy based on emotion and justify their decisions with logic. Stories connect to the most primitive part of the brain. The goal during any sales conversation is to make an emotional connection with your customers. Emotions are a powerful motivator to take action.
To illustrate this point let me share something that happened a few weeks ago a friend of mine. My friend Andrea got into a car accident. She was switching lanes when she struck an car on the left lane. She describes the moment as happening both fast and slow. In the moment of the impact so many things flashed through her mind: “Oh no, no no, this is not happening right now. I don’t have time for this. I am going to be late for the meeting, I hope is not too bad. ” A string of thoughts raced as she pulled over and stopped the car. As she got out of the car she turned and looked at the other driver to make sure they were OK. Andrea then rushed to the front of the car where most of the damage had occurred.
As she faced the front the car, she brushed her hair back over and over as she stood there looking at the metal carnage. The entire front end grill laid on the asphalt like a scene out of Transfomers. Headlights looked like the face of a mangled robot attempting to hold on to life. Smoke, debris, and her tears falling to the ground as time stood still. As the ordeal progressed the tow truck driver tore the reminder of the grill right off the car. She gasp as as he tore it almost mercilessly off the car. Shortly after the other driver left the scene. Andrea did not take down any of their information. The tow truck driver asked “Did you get the VIN number from the other driver before they left? ” “No, I didn’t even think to do that. Why? ” she said “Well, if you count four numbers from the end in, that number will at let us know information about the driver” he said. “Wow I had no idea” she said.
I asked my friend, “what did you wish he had told you at the point? ” “I really wish there was an app for that!! I’m not kidding that is exactly what I thought. I wish there was an app that would have made it easy to capture all this information. ” she said. “You may look into Farmers Insurance because I think they have it” I said. A few weeks later she told me that not only did she switch to Farmers, but made sure to have a camera in her car at all times to capture pictures of the entire accident scene. She didn’t want to use just her phone but an actual camera that will show images clearer in case she ever had this happen again.
Readers, I don’t work for Farmers and I am not endorsing any one insurance over the other. But can you see how I could use this story if I was an insurance agent? Or how about if I owned a tow truck company and wanted to sell clients on having my service on retainer. I can educate them on how my drivers are more than drivers, they will also help educate you as a consumer. You can spin this story in many ways.
The goal of selling stories is to make an emotional connection. Have I said that enough times? As you move through your day today you will remember this story more that if I gave you fact and figures on why it’s important to capture driver information and take pictures of the scene of an accident. It helps to protect you in case of litigation as well as false insurance claims.