The Most Powerful – and Overlooked – Weapon in Your Sales Arsenal

In the opening chapter of The Way I Heard It, Mike Rowe tells of rushing to the airport to catch a flight.  He was late and was barely going to make it.

He went through the toll gates, whipped his car into a parking space, grabbed his bag and… couldn’t open the door.

He was trapped.

Oh there was plenty of room for him to get out of the car and the door opened just fine, neither one of those was the problem.

No, he was couldn’t escape because he was listening to one of Paul Harvey’s Rest of the Story episodes, and couldn’t tear himself away until he’d heard the big reveal – and most importantly, Harvey’s iconic line, “And now you know the Rest of the Story!”

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing one of these episodes, you can check them out on YouTube.  Here’s one:

They were 3-4 minute segments where Harvey would tell a story about a celebrity, historical figure, or event, but not let you know exactly what or who he was talking about until the very end.

They were riveting and highly addictive.  People would tune in every day just to hear them.

In fact, a friend of mine was a board operator at a radio station in Texas, and he accidentally cut away before the mystery person was revealed one day.

People got so upset that they called the station and threatened to come down and beat him up!

That’s the power of a good, well-told story!

Stories are some of the most effective and powerful forms of communication we humans have.

We are hardwired for them.

We can’t resist them.

When we start listening one, it’s almost impossible for us to break away.

Yet, when salespeople go out into the field to try and convince prospects to part with their hard-earned money, they equip themselves with facts, figures, statistics, and arguments, but rarely a good story.

There’s an old saying in sales, “Facts tell, stories sell,” yet so few salespeople believe this to be true.

How to Use Stories to Sell

Art Jonak is one of those guys who’s made a gazillion dollars in network marketing and he had a whole presentation that was made up of nothing but stories.

It was very effective, but to start off, that may a little ambitious for our purposes here.  So where do you begin?

My suggestion?

Start with your objections.  If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you know all the objections you’re going to hear.

Sadly, overcoming objections is where many salespeople blow it.

They get excited and double down on the statistics, the logic, and all the facts that weren’t enough to convince the prospects during the presentation.  Then they get frustrated when the prospects don’t see it their way.

Instead of doing that, try this instead…

Acknowledge what the prospect just said, relax, and hit them with a good story.

It might look something like this:

“I had a friend who tried radio advertising once, he said it took too longs to get results.”

“I don’t know about that, but for my client who’s a cosmetic dentist, we started running his ads with a direct response campaign on Monday morning.  He told us he got his first call by noon, and by Wednesday, his phone was ringing off the hook.”

“I’m happy with the advertising I’m doing now.  I’ve heard it costs a lot of money to get business from the radio.”

“I don’t know exactly what you heard, but my client who’s an AC contractor didn’t think we could beat the direct mail campaign he’d been running for the last ten years.  He told us last week that during the hot summer months, we’re his best form of advertising.”

“I know people who ran radio ads and they didn’t get a single new customer from them.”

“Man, that sounds rough.  I don’t know exactly what kind of campaign they ran, but, do you know Bill’s Car Sales? Whenever he has a big sale coming up, he told us we’re the first call he makes.  In fact, he’s coming in tomorrow to record some spots.  Want to meet him?”

Putting Together Your Story Arsenal

So, now’s the time to start assembling your stories.

First and foremost, be truthful.  Don’t lie or exaggerate, and don’t use someone’s name specifically as a case study without their permission.

Next, think back on all your current clients, all your case studies, all your successes and mine them for stories.

Come up with a story for each objection.

Too expensive?

Have a story.

Not effective?

Have a story for that, too.

Takes too long to see results?

Yep, you guessed it – get a story for that, too.

More importantly, equip your sales people with these stories.  Make them learn them, practice them, and use them when the time’s right.

Pic designed by Pressfoto for Freepik.

Brent Hoodenpyle is a Texas-based digital marketing and sales specialist with over twenty years experience working with a wide range of companies to improve their digital stats and revenue.

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