We often forget about the power of story in B2B sales. It’s because we disconnect the product or service from a person. We feel like we’re selling to a company. But no matter what company someone works for—their name is always on their card. But because we feel that disconnect, we avoid telling stories altogether. It’s a huge mistake. Why? Because stories are the language of the brain. We think in story. Stories move people to action.
Everyone has a story to tell
Many salespeople feel like they don’t have any stories to tell. But Nikki hasn’t met anyone who she can’t help discover 20+ stories in a 10-minute conversation. You just have to learn to recognize what kind of story it is and how to bring it into the conversation.
Gathering stories is the hardest part. We tend to think in a transactional way. So our stories become a timeline of events instead of the emotions someone felt when they experienced that timeline. What effect did a timeline have on someone? What emotion played into it? That helps people understand and relate to the story.
Make sure your customer is the hero
Secondly, as the salesperson, you can’t be the hero of the story. The customer should always be the hero. Share their problem. Share their struggle. Share what happened for them as a result of your product or service. You don’t have to be the hero of the story to have an impact.
Four stories every salesperson should tell
Nikki Rausch—also known as the Sales Maven—teaches a masterclass on storytelling. She believes that there are four stories that every salesperson should be ready to tell. In episode #353 of Negotiations Ninja, she shares two of the big ones you must prepare:
- An expertise story: Tell a story to demonstrate your expertise in the field your prospect is in.
- A common ground story: Some people are motivated by learning what other people are doing or experiencing. When you tell common ground stories, it helps them feel like you’re not alone.
Ultimately, sales is solving a customer’s problem, need, or want. If you have the solution, and you truly believe that sales is something you do with someone, your stories will change as a result. It becomes less about what you achieved and all about helping your customer achieve their goals and objectives.
Learn more storytelling techniques and overcoming rejection in episode #353 of the Negotiations Ninja podcast!