How to Tell a Good Tale When Selling - The Importance of Storytelling

By Jeremy Blake on October 15, 2016

Do you know anybody who doesn't like being told a good story? Sometimes the most popular people we know are people who can tell stories. It is the the easiest way to make people understand something, or feel something.

When we are trying to get children to do things that might help them, we don’t say ‘you have got to do this, you must do that’ we give them a story of why someone else has gone through the process and how it will be for them. If you are trying to get a child to study, by saying ‘you must study, you must pass your exams’ you’ll struggle. Focus on what they want to aspire to, not what you want them to do.

We know a leading double glazing salesman who uses this principle above and beyond any selling of the product. He tells potential customers about someone living near them, (in the same street or village), who has recently bought new windows and goes on to tell them how these people had felt slightly suspicious and unsure. They were anxious about the disruption to their home and didn’t understand the real benefits of double glazing. He goes on to tell them that his previous customers were delighted that the process was speedy; they enjoyed the increased warmth and hear much less traffic from the A47. He always mentions the names of the noisy roads. By immediately giving the potential customer the name and address of a recent convert they are not being sold to, they are hearing a story about how somebody else felt as they do, that this was perfectly natural. This is why our double glazing friend has been number one in the UK for almost two decades.

Within a sales team you will also come across different types of customers who reject your proposals. Your teams need to think about what stories you could use to counter these rejections, and you need to store all those stories and share them so that when others face similar rejections they have the tools to cope. This is a powerful way of demonstrating your experience, knowledge and integrity, and will also support a bespoke proposal because the stories are anecdotal evidence of success. If we all become good, concise storytellers we will become much more successful.