Storytelling in Sales: Going Beyond the Marketing Buzzword
"People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons" - Zig Ziglar
Marketers have really run with this idea in the age of content marketing. Over the last decade, storytelling has become the core tenant of so many marketing strategies, promising a means of capturing buyer attention on an emotional level.
We may have gone too far, though. Storytelling has become yet another marketing buzzword. It’s thrown around without much discussion about its practicality. And while marketers may recognize the inherent value, sales teams often roll their eyes at pie in the sky storytelling tactics.
But it’s about time we move beyond storytelling as a marketing buzzword. By taking advantage of a few practical storytelling techniques, your sales team can appeal to buyer emotions and boost close rates.
4 Storytelling Tips and Techniques for Sales
Despite resistance to the marketing buzzword, your sales team is probably already using storytelling in some way during pitches without even realizing it. To unlock the real potential of storytelling, we need to infuse it into sales pitches more actively.
Instead of loading prospects up with promotional messaging and statistics, take advantage of the following four storytelling tips and techniques to make your pitches more engaging.
1. Customer as Hero
For B2B teams, the challenger sale has emerged as a primary technique. Exposing flaws in the beliefs of prospects and teaching them new lessons about their business can be a powerful means of appealing to their logic.
But when you want to focus on emotions, making customers the heroes of your stories can be even more effective. Too often, your products and services become the heroes of the buyer’s journey. Flipping the script will put you in a better position to execute the challenger sale and build relationships with prospects.
2. Data with a Narrative
Storytelling seems like another buzzword because sales teams look at it as impractical. But just because you’re telling stories doesn’t mean data goes out the window. In fact, data should be treated as a key tool in any storytelling situation.
The key to getting more out of data and statistics is to create a narrative around the numbers. By bringing creativity and visualizations to raw data, you can satisfy the emotional and logical needs of the buyer and keep them engaged in the purchase process.
3. Three-Act Structure
When you’re thinking of using storytelling to improve your sales pitches, the best thing you can do is focus on structure. Like any simple story, building your sales pitch into a three-act structure can make it easier to engage with prospects.
Our brains are hardwired to understand stories with a beginning, climax, and end. Focusing on how your sales pitch follows a hero’s journey will ensure messages resonate with prospects and create a lasting impression within target buying teams.
4. Make Use of Metaphors
Storytelling is just like any other sales tactic or technique—it’s a tool used to make your pitches more persuasive. We appeal to the emotions of prospects because it’s a more persuasive approach than appealing to their logic. So, when you’re using storytelling in sales, make the most of metaphors and their ability to persuade people.
According to Seth Godin, “a metaphor takes what we know and uses it as a lever to understand something else. And the only way we can do that is by starting with the true thing and then twisting it into a new thing, a thing we’ll be able to also understand.” If you can come up with relevant metaphors, they’ll help you engage with prospects more effectively.
Intent Data: Your Foundation for Sales Storytelling
The techniques listed here will help your sales team take a more practical approach to storytelling and go beyond the high-level marketing buzzword. But personalization will really be at the core of your success. Any stories you use for sales pitches become significantly more effective when they’re tailored specifically to the needs of individual target accounts.
To reach this level of personalization, you have to know as much as possible about each target account, the contacts who make up the buying team, and the pain points that motivate them. That’s where intent data helps.
Written by Joe Euele for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.
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