What Disney, Jobs and Shakespeare had in common was they all excelled in their fields of endeavour. And they were great story tellers. So, what lessons can we learn from them and how can we apply the learnings?
Story telling is a fabulous – but dying art. It’s used to motivate, inspire and build commitment. And, it’s a fabulous sales tool. Let me explain.
In our ‘digital’ world, many products and services are highly technical. Companies tend to hire sales people who are technical experts. But major buying decisions are made by committees of technical and non-technical people. That’s why story telling is your best sales weapon!
Here’s my personal experience.
I was hired by an pioneering security company and given the challenge to create an ‘electronic’ safe. I developed a safe that could read paper currency, store them securely in a tamper proof canister inside the safe and produce read-outs showing cash deposited by operator. It even dialled the security company when the cash canister was full and ready for collection. By today’s standards it was basic. But for its day, it was the ‘ants pants’ in cash security.
The selling proposition was that the safe provided more protection to retail workers because cash was placed directly into the it, not in a till. I prepared the sales strategy, the marketing program and communications support materials for the product launch. We were ready to set the market on fire with our new baby!
But after the first week, my sales team hadn’t closed a single sale. After 2 weeks….it was the same. Our hearts sank.
Why wasn’t the market responding to our sales pitch? Then it hit me!
We were concentrating on technical functionality. But the decision makers were not interested specifications. They thought in terms of payback periods, safety and costs benefits.
I had to rethink the strategy. I focused on telling a compelling real story. It went like this.
Two bandits burst into a Texas convenience store. One of the three store attendants was Nikki Dement. The bandits forced the three attendants to clear all the cash from the registers.
They forced Nikki and the other store workers into a vehicle and drove to a remote location. The bandits sexually assaulted Nikki. In a final act of terror they made the three victims lie on the ground and shot them. Believing they were dead; the robbers fled.
Nikki survived and bravely testified against the criminals ensuring they were convicted.
The story hit a nerve with our clients. They could relate to this real-life drama. And, they could visualise the horrific episode and associate it with something that could happen to their daughter or valued employee.
The conclusion was that – had an electronic safe been installed in that store, the bandits would have been unable to access any cash. They have would have departed the premises without inflicting violence.
By changing our sales strategy to storytelling, we achieved incredible success. Sales started to flow and became a river of orders. We created a $10 million business.
You can achieve similar success by crafting a real story around your product or service.
Here’s the ‘How To’ for creating a fantastic story
I’m going to share the secrets of storytelling because I want you to experience success particularly if you’re selling technical products.
Story telling is a discipline. If you follow the formula, you can create a great story that will sell product beyond your wildest dreams.
So, here’s the story telling method that Disney, Jobs, Shakespeare and Dahl all used to motivate, inspire, entertain or build commitment. I can’t fully explain the steps in this article, but I’ve listed them below
2. Rising Action
3. Climax or Crisis
4. Falling Action
In my next article I will explain the steps, but if you can’t wait, contact me for the detail.
It took me many years to discover the power of storytelling to improve sales. My advice? Start planning, building and delivering your sales stories now. And see the results for yourself!
Creating Opportunity for Business Through Strategic Sales and Marketing Support - LINK BOND & DELIVER
Kenn is an award business professional delivering practical solutions specialising in helping small and medium size businesses.
He has had a successful career working for Australian and International companies in Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Product Development roles.
His 'Science of Selling' techniques provide analytics and systems aimed at improving business performance.