Why you need to remember the importance of storytelling when selling

Mar 06, 2023

Most sales people just sell a product. They focus discussions with potential prospects on the features and functions of their solution as they believe this helps drive said prospect towards a buying decision. These sales people are missing out. Customers want vendors who are subject matter experts, with the required knowledge and experience to deliver to their expectations. The way sales people can achieve this is via story-telling.

Stories are real. Customers relate to them as they often see themselves in the story you are telling. Are they encountering similar challenges and looking for ways to address them? Giving examples via story-telling demonstrates the salesperson understands the customer’s situation, has asked the right types of questions and their experience helping clients address these challenges in a meaningful way. If you’re looking to improve your storytelling, then you need to understand how to make your prospects passionate about your products/services.

Why does passion matter when I’m selling?

Stories bring out passion. Passion is what prospects look for as this indicates the sales person truly believes in what they are selling, and are confident they can achieve positive outcomes with the potential prospect. It demonstrates not only do they have faith in their solution, they have faith their organization will deliver results. No passion = no belief = no right to ask for the sale.

Having a passionate champion (or champions) is crucial to any sale, no matter the size of the deal. While it is true that you are looking to solve a business’ problem, it’s integral for your champion to be on the same journey of solving their problem with your solution. A passionate buyer is a motivated one.

Our team shows their passion - and humour - through our Vudoo Crew series. 

How do I ensure that my stories are connecting with my audience?

The more stories the better. The more scenarios you can describe, telling stories about how the solution and your team have helped solve different challenges demonstrates how versatile your solution is. A product that can solve a wide range of problems, increases confidence that value will be achieved. When a sales person provides examples via stories it minimizes risk to the customer, as the risk is shared across multiple use cases.

Your use cases don’t have to be complicated or lengthy - but they should tell a story. What was the problem your client was having? How did you engage with them to solve the problem? What success have they seen following the implementation of your product/service? Stories act as social proof - confirmation that others see the value in what you’re offering. It is important that your clients are staying passionate about what you’re selling long after they’ve signed the order form.

How should I structure the stories I’m telling?

Stories should have structure - basic movie making principles apply. The three-act structure is a method used by most films today. There is the setup, the confrontation, and the resolution. For sellers out there it’s similar when telling customer stories:

  • Set up: customer challenges, and the impact of those challenges

  • Confrontation: what is the solution required to solve these problems, and what are the criteria they evaluated to choose the right solution

  • Resolution: the benefits and value the customer is now enjoying following the confrontation

Not everyone is a natural story-teller - but with practice, storytelling becomes easier. Stories should be practiced, practiced and practiced. Salespeople need to strive for perfection, adding more specifics to continuously improve their ability to be able to tell these customer stories.

By doing this, excellence can often be achieved. If you are unable to extract a structure from a story, then it is unlikely that your audience will follow your narrative, and thus it’s unlikely that they’ll find the story compelling.

How do I create compelling stories?

There are so many ways you can communicate compelling stories to prospects/clients. For example, you can use interviews with current/former customers, create written content or informative graphics/animations. You may also choose to create audio and video content.

Interactive video allows you to create more compelling and non-linear narratives using branching technology, while embeddable CTAs allow you to share more information with your audience. Successful storytelling can increase your deal size and attract more leads, so it’s worth investing in your ability to convey the value of your business.

Andrew Talbot
Andrew Talbot

Director, Strategy & Enablement, Vudoo