Why Closing is Just a Matter of Telling Better Stories

Learn what sales experts have to say about the crucial role of storytelling.

September 22, 2016

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Every move customers make is a decision about their future, writes digital content specialist Logan Strain. Even refusing a sale is a decision with a consequence.

As a salesman of high-end driveway basketball hoops—selling mostly to dads—he learned early in his career to paint a picture for customers about the consequences of their actions. The strategy worked wonders for him.

He translated dull features into stories that represented real experiences:

“A wider backboard” suddenly became a kid practicing his bank shot at home so he does better during his games at school.

“A sturdier pole” suddenly became a durable system that can handle as much abuse as you’re willing to give it.

“A better warranty” suddenly became having a hoop to play on for years, instead of just doing without a basketball system because it broke.

This got the customer’s mental wheels turning, and it led Strain to significantly more sales. In fact, storytelling was the key to Strain’s wins.

And he’s not alone: many sales and marketing experts have turned stories into sales success. Read on for more insights on how using your imagination can help you close more deals.

Fearing the Competition

Nothing gets a B2B customer’s imagination going quite like the worry that a competitor will surpass her. You don’t need to tell ghost stories, but sometimes fear can be a great motivator.

Relay a story about how your product or service helped a customer’s competitor get ahead of the industry, and your prospect is sure to perk up. Sales leader David Donlan provides these tips, among others, in a post urging sales reps that if they want to be great, they should become great storytellers.

Donlan also encourages reps to tell stories of what happened when things went wrong. In trying to convince a client not to adopt an outdated SEO strategy, Donlan told that person a story about how that strategy backfired for major brands. “Using stories like these can instill a sense of fear in your prospect and make them appreciate the advice you’re sharing,” Donlan writes.

Every Sale Is a Story – So Share it

Customers really want to know how you helped another client succeed, or how client did so on her own. Stories get us excited, but they’re also an effective way to get someone’s attention.

When you’re trying to land a new account, before you engage in a discussion, take a half hour to think first. Consider what story you’re going to tell. Think: What was it about my organization product that delighted the client? It might involve some kind of unique way your organization operates vis-à-vis your competition.

For instance, was it the fact that your team was so flexible and agile that you could put five people onto a project for a client and get it done within a week? Or was it that your product enabled a client to get work done in a completely different way? Think of how the narrative unfolded from your client’s perspective—then share that vision.

Overall, this kind of targeted storytelling is key to stimulating your prospects’ imaginations and closing the deal.   

For more tips from sales and marketing leaders, download our eBook, “Solving Sales and Marketing Alignment.