Why the best B2B sales reps are master storytellers

rsz_bantio_1_of_5One of the most powerful tools in the sales toolbox of any successful B2B salesperson is the ability to tell stories. Not just any stories – stories that have narrative arcs, heroes and villains, and emotions. That’s because the human brain reacts to stories in a proven way – we are literally hard-wired to respond to stories.

The Origin Story

For B2B salespersons, one of the most powerful stories is the “origin story.” This is the story of how the company got started, why it decided to launch a specific product, and who the people are that launched the company in the first place. The best origin stories, of course, are those that you can imagine being made into Hollywood movies – for example, the underdog who scrapped by on a tight budget to take on an industry titan against all odds.

In the hands of a master storyteller, this can be a very effective tool. It enables you to explain how and why you differ from the competition, and allows you to position your company in a specific light. Maybe you’re the garage start-up founded by a bunch of college dropouts. Or maybe you founded the company out of a deeply held desire to change the world. But knowing your origin story can be a real advantage, especially when communicated to customers.

The Story of How Real People Use Your Products in Real Ways

Another powerful story involves telling everyday anecdotes about how people are using your products in very real ways. This cuts through all the industry jargon, all the fake advertising buzz, and all the bland, boring numbers. It gets to the core question that every client asks: What’s in it for me?

To help people imagine how they would use your product, think about this in terms of personas. Who are the types of people using your products? If it’s a doctor, imagine a name and what they do. Invent a back story and then fill in all the details. Think of where they go each day, how they spend their free time, and what they watch on TV.

Best of all, this enables you to make your ROI numbers really pop. Instead of quoting numbers of users, or performance metrics, or lists of features, try this: tell a very real story of how a real-life person actually used your product, what they felt, and how that product eventually changed their life.

The Story of Your Sales Team

The final – and perhaps most important – story is the story of you and your sales team. Why are you working for this company? Here’s your chance to convey your passions, your dreams and, yes, your fears. If your client sees you as a person – and not just a suit – he or she is more likely to buy.

So, keep in mind these three stories – the story of your company, the story of your product, and the story of you. Work on them and fine-tune them. Make sure you understand the narrative arc of each story. Introduce heroes (your company!) and villains (your competitor’s company!) and explain what makes you do what you do.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you think of yourself as a master storyteller – no more memorizing sales scripts, hoping desperately that what you say will resonate with customers. With stories, you know that they will resonate in your customer’s minds. Remember: their brains have been hard-wired to accept your stories and respond to them.


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