What happened to good old-fashioned
storytelling? Has it become a lost
art in today’s fast-moving technological world? Are we too busy?
We now rely heavily on emails, Powerpoint
presentations, and marketing materials to help sell our products. You could even say, in some respect,
that we’re hiding behind these non-human touch avenues and neglecting the
all-important personal signature.
Are we too busy to dig deeper and help the prospect understand how our
product is a great ROI, and have real negotiations, or are we too lazy and
undisciplined to work on our communication skills, our own story?
I think both factors play a part here. It’s time to focus on the story—you and
your product—and keep your message simple.
When I speak of storytelling I’m not talking about
actual stories (“I got up late today and grab some cold toast before I headed
out … ”) but conversational starters used to engage the prospect and bring him
into your world—who you are and what your product can do for him.
If you’re making a lot of cold calls each day you
Get pertinent information out quickly and effectively
Be personable, not salesman-ish
Engage the prospect and learn about his needs
Leave the prospect with some information about
yourself (before ending the call)
The pitch is what grabs the prospect, and you can
certainly have a “once upon a time” quality to it. You have to be loose, yourself, and know the pitch inside
out so your delivery is almost a non-pitch pitch. The prospect will say to himself, “This salesperson is not
just reading from a script. He
sounds intelligent. Who is
he? I want to learn more.”
dialogue is story time. This is
the time to find out what the prospect is all about. Is your product a good fit for him? What exactly are his needs? This is the time to share—quickly and
effectively—something about yourself, your company, or whom you do business
“You know, Bill, I work with Jack Jones at XYZ
(competitor or non-related company) and he said the exact same thing. What’s happening with your industry?”
“Bill, I find that getting a decision maker like
yourself on the phone is still the best way to do business. I think it saves everyone involved a
lot of time.”
“We’ve been around for ten years, Bill, and we found
that this is the best time to grow our business.”
By slapping an imaginary personalized sticker on your
product you have a greater chance at making a sell. Remember cold calling can be difficult for both
parties. We forget that the
prospect may be nervous about talking to someone he doesn’t know. By keeping your stories short and
relevant you’ll find that the prospect may loosen up and tell a story himself
that may indirectly lead to a deal.
Listen and learn. Learn to
present yourself in the best possible light.
You and your product are the story. The prospect might try and blow you off
by asking you to send an email or some literature but it’s essential to
personalize your message—short and sweet—and bring him into your world.
Emails and Powerpoint presentations are fine but the
human touch is what closes the deal.