How to Engage and Influence Using the Power of Storyselling

Whether you’re a sales leader looking to align your team, help your people differentiate themselves by better articulating your firm’s unique value proposition or simply close more deals, here is a powerful skill you may not have considered: Storyselling.

This highly effective communication approach delivers your message in a more engaging and compelling way. This is because stories do two things that facts alone do not:

  1. They provide context
  2. They connect to emotion

Cognitive Psychologist Jerome Bruner suggests that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. His research suggests that if you share a story, people are much more likely to be persuaded. Isn’t that ironic when most leaders and salespeople rely on the use of facts and data to influence buyers.

Stories are the most powerful tool in your sales toolkit

What if you replaced your facts-based presentation deck with a few concise stories? The results may surprise you.

For example, let’s take a client success story. You and your sales team took a recent project and hit it out of the park for a client, resulting in a significant revenue impact. The client was absolutely thrilled with your work and you were able to get a testimonial from them about your working relationship.

Sharing this story and the revenue impact with a prospect will be much more memorable than the revenue numbers alone.

One client success story can help you share information about your company that a potential customer couldn’t possibly remember in fact and figures.

It’s your job to distill the information into a relevant story that can be shared.

Stories don’t have to be long to be effective

As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche explains “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”

The story becomes a tool that a potential customer can share with his or her boss in order to sell the idea internally; it’s the vehicle for communicating your process, your solution, the benefit of choosing you as a provider, and the company’s ability to deliver high-quality results.

To use storyselling effectively, you have to understand the impact and best approach to use.

Decide which story you should tell

There are 4 types of stories that you should tell when storyselling to prospects and customers:

  1. Success (to motivate and inspire)
  2. Failure (to connect people and build trust)
  3. Fun (to encourage laughter, not to distract)
  4. Legends (the Jack Welch, Nordstrom, Steve Jobs etc.)

Some of these may be obvious. Others, not so much. You need to be ready with several different types of stories so that you can choose the right story, for the right person, at the right time.

Develop your story matrix

Once you are comfortable with each type of story that can be told in a sales or leadership context, spend some time thinking about what situations you need stories most.

These are the situations in which you most often find yourself. For example, it could be: networking events, project pitch meetings, cold calling, implementation meetings, etc. Answer the question: “When and where do I need stories the most?”.

As a leader, what stories compel people to act, get people aligned or think differently?

Stories carry impact, create influence, and establish valuable connections.

You’re well on your way to using the most powerful tool in your sales toolkit. If you want to take it one step further, ask us about our Storyselling training solution.