Do you want to know the secret to connecting with clients, with people, making connections, making sales? It’s easy really, just be you. The number one sales tool that you have in your kit bag of all your experiences and techniques is you, your authentic self.
I am sure you have heard that before and yet we stop ourselves because of fear. The truth is it isn’t that easy for us to drop the façade and allow people in. So today I want to give you some insights and ideas on just HOW you can go about becoming you in your business and your life.
It’s simple really, tell stories.
Let me share with you why this works, the key ingredients and 7 essential sales stories you need to know about your business.
Why sales stories work for you:
Often people feel awkward talking about themselves and their business. Sales stories work for you because instead of talking about you – you can talk about your clients and the experiences they have had working with you. You will feel more natural and come across with more confidence simply because you feel more comfortable.
When you are telling a story about something that has happened in your business or for a client, you can divorce yourself from it, you can simply remember and convey the story. Because it is real, the story will have greater meaning and emotion and this will allow the listener to have insight into not just what you do but more importantly how and why it’s important to you.
Why sales stories work for your client:
There is a very good reason we tell our children stories, to teach them about the things they should and shouldn’t do, how we want them to behave. That’s why storytelling is such a great way to promote your business.
Sales stories are about things that have happened in your business, through the eyes of your clients, employees, or other people you have come in contact with in your business journey. They take your listener on a journey they can relate to, the journey of someone just like them, facing the same challenges and problems, a journey where they want to know “what happened?”.
When people are thinking about buying from you they will feel more comfortable if they know how you have helped others like them with a similar problem. They want to know how you went about it, and what happened in the end. When you share this you share the facts but you also give people insights into you, how you operate and what’s important.
Stories educate and inform the listener. It is how we can teach our clients about how and why we do what we do, what outcomes they can expect when working with us, and what that has meant for other clients just like them. We can also give them information on how we expect them to act and think about.
Let’s build a great sales story
To make stories memorable you need two key ingredients. What your story is about and how you tell it.
What is your sales story?
All good stories have a beginning, middle and an end.
The beginning: The beginning sets the scene. It describes the hero, your client not you, who they are, where they were before they met you, what kind of problem they had, how they were feeling, what they had tried in the past.
The middle: Here is the meat of the sales story. This is where you describe how the client decided to start working with you and walks the listener, step by step, through the client journey inside your company and how you work.
The middle is where you emphasise your differentiation points; the reasons that people have chosen to work with you and give the listener insights into how you operate and work with your clients. This can also be a great area to address any common fears or questions that people are likely to have and how you answer those.
The end: Bringing it home is all about the ‘happily ever after’. Share the outcome of what happened. Being memorable isn’t only about facts and figures but most importantly the feelings that resulted from this outcome.
Remember – people buy emotionally. Talk about a problem that they have and show you understand how they are feeling. Show them how you helped others with the same problem. And lastly, describe what happened and how it made you and the client feel to have that problem solved.
If you are struggling to think about stories to tell about your business, here are my top 7 essential sales stories you must know about your business. Each story has some prompters with ideas to get you started.
7 Essential Sales Stories
1. Why you started
People want to know what you do … but they engage with why you started your business.
- The problem I saw with (my industry) was …. What I did about it was …
- I had a (target client) who wanted me to ….. and so I thought …. and started my business.
2. Your ideal client
Spend some time describing your ideal client, why they find you and how you help them. Think about their age, education level, job in the business, years of experience, type of business, market they work in.
- I typically work with the (CEO , Business Owner, CFO) who has been in business for … they want to ….
- The reason they love working with me is ……………..
3. The problem you solve
People buy because they are trying to solve a problem or fulfil a need. Show them through stories how you have helped other people do just that!
- When people come to us they are ….. (problem) …. they (have this feeling) and they have often (done a particular thing) …. The first thing we do is …. (your key difference)
- We help (ideal client) to (solve this problem) by …..
4. The mistakes you have made
People buy from people that they know, like and trust. If you can show you have made mistakes, you are helping people get to know you better. This shows your honesty and that you are open to sharing what you have learned and how these experiences have changed you and changed how you do business.
- We used to (do the thing that caused the problem) …. Then we learned that (outcome of doing that) … and so we decided that we wouldn’t do that anymore. We now (solution – new way of working that means the problem doesn’t occur).
- What we learned from (doing a particular thing) with (ideal client) was that (outcome). So we changed how we approached it by …. and the outcome now is …
5. Common fears people have
The biggest thing that stops people buying from you is fear. So talking about this and how you help people overcome common fears is an essential ingredient to getting new clients to engage and open up about their fears and doubts.
- Many of our clients share with us that (common fear) and so we worked out that the best way to start was by (doing something that helps them) then they find once they have started working with us that (problem wasn’t there or was diminished)
- Review this article on Feel / Felt / Found sales technique
6. The outcomes your clients experience
Everyone loves a good news story. So tell your own version. These are powerful because they show you walk with your clients along the journey and revel in their successes.
- Our favourite client is a ……. They came to us because ….. what we helped them with was ….. and now they are …..
- We often work with …… who are in (industry) and have (this problem)
7. Why you stay in business (how it makes you feel)
At the end of the day the spark that gets you moving will also motivate others. That’s why people engage with your why – why we started our business and why we continue.
- I love working with my clients because ……
- The biggest thrill I get from working is …
Now … over to you
Great stories connect emotions and convey meaning. They can do so much to give your potential clients insight and understanding of how you do business, why you care and what they can expect.
Sounds wonderful right? So now it’s up to you to go and collect, write and share your stories. But a word of warning (and encouragement), the only way to know which story will have the greatest impact and resonance with your audience is to try them out. They can’t engage and connect if you don’t.
To your sales (and business) success!
Associated Best Practice Benchmarking Statements
BEST PRACTICE BENCHMARK: We have a clearly documented and effective sales process. We have a high conversion of target client leads that generates all the business that we need. #Customer-relationships
About the SMART-Connect best practice sales success advisor
Sales Success Architect
Over the last 20 years, Frances has worked in and with businesses to improve their sales strategies and outcomes. She has worked with business in every vertical and both large and small. Her success comes from helping her clients understand how they are selling now and finding ways to improve how they understand and serve their customers. She also has experience in helping businesses successfully find and onboard their first sales person and to improve their sales team by knowing and delivering an environment where everyone knows the ingredients for success and how to deliver this for the business.
In addition to her work in sales, Frances has completed a Graduate Certificate in Change Management and an MBA from Melbourne Business School. Coupled with her hands on sales experience, she has a toolbox of sales techniques and frameworks that help businesses to improve their understanding of themselves and their customers.
With her experience as a business owner and company director she understands the pressures of juggling cash flow, staffing and business administration, while you are working on and improving your business.
Frances works with you to understand and deliver on your purpose and potential.