The human mind loves stories.  We tell ourselves stories consistently.  Some stories are subtle, others are more elaborate.  The mind loves them all, and craves them.

The other night my family and I went out for dinner to a restaurant we frequent regularly.  Everyone has a dish that they enjoy and usually order.  This evening was different because of Marcus.  He is the newly hired Captain and Chief Story Teller.

My wife, daughter and I all knew what we wanted to order, but Marcus told us a story as our experience was about to begin.  His story was about the amazing Bay Scallops scooped up out of the harbor hours ago and Grandma’s recipe for old-world Lasagna.  He even explained how they only purchase small amounts of seafood for freshness and quality.

The story was compelling.  It caused each of us to alter our pattern and we ordered the specials.  They were amazing.  The chef came over to bring us dessert and asked why we did not order our usual meals.  “Marcus told us about the Scallops and Grandma’s Lasagna!”  We had to try them.

The Chef smiled, we always sell out of our specials since Marcus joined our team.  He knew the stories were great.

We went to the restaurant hungry.  We needed food.  The plan was to order the “usual” because it was known and awesome.  Marcus interrupted our pattern with a Story.  A story that was eloquent, memorable, compelling, and even created a bit of urgency.  It was the Story.

Maybe you don’t care about my families dining habits, but you should care about the Story that Marcus brought to the table.  The sales people on your team should be telling stories. Stories that speak to your prospects and customers.  Your prospects have a certain belief system and opinions about your products/services. The stories can alter those opinions.

The way sales people tell a story is to ask questions.  Questions that have a cadence and allow the prospect to see for themselves that your product/services are different (as well as the sales person).  The questions create the Story. The questions should seem like a conversation.

We call it Consultative Selling, but I like to think of it as telling a story because the questions frame the sales process differently and forces the prospect to view the situation through a different lens.  The prospects see for themselves what amateur sales people tell prospects.

The questions allow the story to unfold and allow the prospect to view the sales person as memorable; the questions must uncover compelling reasons for the prospect to do business with you and create urgency.

The discovery questions take practice and a process.

This part is important!

Most sales people have belief systems that in part are a weakness.  These hidden weaknesses can frequently negate the Sales Person’s strengths. This causes frustration and poor results.  Here is a great article from Dave Kurlan on the subject here.

We coach our client’s sales people to view their sales process as a Story.  They learn that their story is about helping prospects because their product/service solve a problem, saves the prospect money and mitigates risk, or simply makes a prospect feel better.

These same sales people learn that their sales process is really about telling a story.  They have been listening to stories and telling stories their entire life.  It is natural.  Now they only need to learn to tell the story with questions; the questions have context and a framework…a story.

If the sales person has the right Sales DNA or GRIT and are coached well, the story telling concept helps counter the weak supportive beliefs they carry around.  It is our contention that some sales people become more effective in a shorter amount of time.

What is the story that you and your sales organization should be telling?

If you would like some help, please send me a note with the title of this article in the Subject line. Our commitment to you is to have a business conversation without a sales pitch.  You will have questions.  We will have questions.  The objective is to determine if we can add value, and value means fixing the sales organization once and for all.

Walter has been working successfully in Sales, Sales Development and Sales Management for over 31 years. He is passionate about developing sales professionals for CEOs &Business Owners. If you are frustrated and fed up with sales people who are not accountable, a sales team that is inconsistent and fail to meet objectives, and you want to fix it once and for all, we should have a business conversation. We bring science to creating high performance sales teams that on average grow over 32% in 12 months.