Much has been written about the influence of good storytelling when it comes to sales, and with good reason. In an era when most prospects can gather significant information about your product or service without ever speaking to a live person, the mandate to engage customers in a personal, compelling manner is more important than ever. This was precisely the backdrop for our latest webcast with the AA-ISP, “The Power of Storytelling for Sales Teams”
So how do you help your sales reps tell the stories that will motivate buyers to act? According to session speaker Calum Kilgour, CEO of SlingshotEdge, “top-performing sales reps know how to do this instinctively – they don’t just talk about product benefits, because this doesn’t drive people to purchase – buyers don’t buy features and benefits. They buy when the result of not buying will result in a perceived loss.”
Calum also cited source research from Daniel Kahneman, the noted Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel Laureate, and explained that “as humans, we work much harder to avoid a loss than to achieve a gain.” So the salesperson who can tell a story that reflects the customer’s environment and goals, and can explore the potential lost of not taking action is the sales rep who gets called back for a second meeting and eventually becomes a trusted advisor.
When webcast participants were asked what percentage of their sales reps could do this today, poll respondents answered that they believed just a portion of their team (38%) were able to put this type of thought provoking, loss-aversion messaging into practice, while the bulk of their middle performers were not.
Patrick Gunn, VP EMEA Sales for Qstream, explored these numbers further and highlighted the opportunity loss of not focusing on the critical population of reps in “the middle, ” pointing out that, “a 5% shift of your middle-performing sales reps can equate to a 70% larger increase in revenue than the same 5% shift in your top performers alone.”
Storytelling techniques that help reps articulate value while tapping into the loss-aversion tendencies of their prospects, can and should be an important part of your sales development plan, whether onboarding new reps, or “reboarding” more tenured performers for continued capabilities reinforcement.
And keep these 6 benefits of good storytelling for sales teams in mind:
- Capture your customers or prospects attention
- Motivate individuals or groups to act
- Build trust and credibility
- Make facts about your solution more interesting and relevant
- Improve stickyness of your messaging
- Influence beliefs about your competition
If you’d like to hear Calum and Patrick’s full presentation on storytelling for sales teams, access the recording here.