And, I suppose....
I should follow up with the reminder that 83% of all statistics are made-up on the spot!
But now that I’ve got your attention – it’s true! When you’re sitting in front of your client, you have two options, you can sell them a product or service, or you can sell them the story.
Ask Seth Godin which one makes buckets more money! He has an entire book about how all marketers are telling stories, the rich ones are the ones who do it well and the good ones back up their story with an equally powerful product.
When I started selling, I was given extremely basic information regarding how to close deals. Basically, I came in to find my new boss waiting for me in the training room with a flip chart full of information about our products and packages, a phone book, and a phone. He walked me through the flip book and had me walk him through it in return. Then handed me the phone book and phone and I started making calls.
When I got an appointment, he went out with me and proceeded to ask two questions from the prospect, then spend 20 minutes going through the book in detail. I wasn’t really surprised when the prospect didn’t buy, but as long as I was selling with them, I struggled with this ‘official’ method. I got more deals when I talked with the client and got to know their business and what they were doing for their marketing efforts, then presented the best option that fit in with their current program.
But it wasn’t until my Mom badgered me into checking out true sales training that I realized how much closer I was to a successful sales cycle than he was. Over time I began to understand that sales was more of a conversation with the client than a presentation and finding the best mutual option together worked better than pitching them my best idea. The more I learned, the more I had FUN in sales and the more fun I had, the more sales I started making.
But even with all that training, it’s taken me several years to learn to default to telling a story at the end of the conversation to lead to the close rather than going straight from identifying needs to listing the benefits and trying to close.
Why does that matter? Because we make heart decisions (emotional) to buy more often then not, and the stories are what move us emotionally and allow us to imagine the product or service at work in our own life.
All marketers (and sales people) tell stories. But the great ones make sure they are backing up that sale with a greater product! Overcommit. Overdeliver. Always.