Storytelling helps you to get complete attention from your audience—the customer(s), while stats allow you to back the story with facts and not overburden the listener with raw data.
Consider yourself a customer and a sales rep calling and pouring in your ears with stats and product information. How would you react? More likely, you will tell that you will take a look at the product’s website. A good sales lead will go out of your hand due to the lack of strategy.
Here, if the sales agent followed the stats-based sales storytelling, the outcome would have been different. Therefore, as a business, you need to change the sales strategy from presenting just the numbers to telling a story backed by those numbers.
Continue reading to get an in-depth idea of transforming your sales conversations with storytelling and stats. Doing so will indeed increase your sales agents’ capability to convert a sales lead or prospect to a closed sale transaction.
How Does a Sales Rep Use Stats to Present Data
A conventional sales strategy would instruct the sales rep to present as much data possible about the product, its features, costs, discounts, company’s value, customer service, and so on. Sales agents focus more on the statistics of the product rather than connecting with the customer.
Conventional data presentation tools that sales reps use are:
- Pricing tables
- Line graphs
- Bar graphs
- Pivot tables
- Data dashboards
- Price comparisons
Suppose a sales rep is trying to sell a website domain and hosting services to any business. First off, they will start bragging about the hosting service provider. Then, the rep will directly move on to data, where you will find a table showing the price comparison of the hosting service provider with its competitors.
The sales rep will then come to discounts, features, and technical specs and burden the customer with unnecessary information. Unless the customer is in dire need of the product, this sales strategy will not succeed.
What Is Sales Storytelling?
When you link your product/service into a story where a character faces some problems, and your product/service helps them overcome the challenge, that is sales storytelling.
You must have seen Instagram stories and TED Talks go viral. The creators of this story-based content are sales storytellers. You may not notice and product on offering in the naked eye, but this is the first step towards reputation building. When these people have enough followers and patrons, any product they suggest will sell like hotcakes.
According to storytelling science, you influence seven vital sections of the human brain when you tell a story. These are:
- Section processing and comprehending language
- The section that processes speech
- Scents processing
- Sound comprehension
- Processing colors and shapes
- Touch processing section
- Brain’s area that enables you to move
On the contrary, when you simply show charts and graphs to influence the customer, you only make an impact in the following brain areas:
- Language comprehension and processing
- Speech comprehension
Thus, storytelling is superior to simple stats-based sales pitches because it lets you connect with the client through the five senses and other vital brain areas.
Customers remember your story longer than black and white stats. Moreover, compelling sales storytelling pursues most consumers to make the buy decision on the spot rather than later.
What to Include in a Sales Story?
A sales story enables you to influence your audiences’ or customers’ ability to remember, engage, relate, and act. Thus, your story should have enough elements to connect your customer with you emotionally.
#1. Give the audience a hero with whom they can sympathize or empathize. Thus, you set up an emotional connection with the customers and story.
#2. The hero of the story also needs an objective or goal. When there is a goal, the audience will somehow feel themselves in the situation where the hero is.
#3. Introduce an obstacle in the story. The hero of the story needs to overcome this hurdle.
#4. There should also be an internal or external conflict that the hero needs to overcome.
#5. Now, put your hero in an intersection where there are at least two paths. The hero needs to choose one path over the other to achieve goals.
#6. Do not forget to indicate that the hero overcame the obstacles and conflict using a certain product/service from your business.
#7. Disclose the point of the entire story. You can also explain why the point is relatable to the customers.
#8. During the entire storytelling, there should be constant messaging. The messaging could be the slogan or morale that your company follows.
The Benefit of Stats in Storytelling
The idea of sales storytelling with stats is to reduce the data processing burden on the audience. As soon as you start presenting numbers to your customer, they will start thinking about the data and its validity rather than focusing on the product/service.
Hence, you need to tell a story and sprinkle product/service data throughout the story. In this situation, the customer will consider data as a secondary element within the story. And by telling a story, you have already established that your product/service is a tool that helps the hero of the story, which is more important than data.
Here is how you can present product/service data in a sales storytelling session:
- XX% of organizations consider AAA a vital goal the business needs to achieve.
- YY% of businesses that do not overcome certain hurdles end up losing revenue.
- ZZ% of companies try hard to overpower the obstacle using our ABC solution.
Tips for Better Storytelling in Sales
#1. Identifying the Objectives of Your Prospect
You need to invest in finding out the prospect’s business objectives. For this, you can check their social media posts. You can also connect with third parties that previously worked with the client. Alternatively, you can make discovery calls to let the client directly tell you their obstacles and objectives.
Most B2B clients have both organizational and personal objectives. So, craft your story by balancing such objectives.
#2. Put Essential Data at the Beginning
Do not wait till the end of the story to disclose vital product or service information. Instead, start giving the data out at the beginning of the story. This way, you can indulge the audience to stay with you throughout the storytelling. If someone leaves before the end of the session, they will at least go with the essence of your brand’s offerings.
You need to utilize advanced data analytics tools that help you tell a story with the data visualizations. For that, you can try out Supermetrics. It assists you in producing high-quality data visualizations in Google Data Studio, Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, and so on.
It offers scalable solutions depending on the business size and role. From small to enterprise-level businesses, online shopping sites, and agencies, everyone will find something they need.
#3. Make the Story Personalized
Canned storytelling pitches do not succeed all the time. Because all the organizations are not the same. Every business is of different sizes and has various issues, products, industry standards, objectives, etc.
Thus, use your discovery call intelligence to research the company and craft a personalized story for the sales call or meeting.
If you are conducting a sales session through a webinar, collect the attendee’s data during registration. Then, put the data in a spreadsheet and try to find a pattern and connection among the audience. Then you can roll out separate sessions for attendees from different backgrounds with varying objectives.
#4. Give Real-Life Examples
Introduce your product/service as a tool that helps businesses overcome certain obstacles. Then back that up with real-life examples from past customers.
For example, you can say that the ABC eCommerce platform was suffering order placing issues before using your solution. But, when they came to you and started using your services, the company witnessed 100% growth in orders.
#5. Highlight the Key Takeaways
You need to plan the final takeaway of the story and create the entire story around this outcome. Ask yourself questions like:
- Why should the client care?
- What will be the primary takeaway of the story once you complete it?
Your takeaway message could be like the following:
- A prospective client will care because, at the end of the story, they will discover how our solutions help eCommerce platforms streamline ordering and shipping and increase revenue by XX%.
#6. Grab Your Prospect’s Attention
Your story must be informative and captivating so that the audience or customer gives your full attention. You can try putting yourself in the audience’s seat or rehearse the story by telling it to a friend or family member. See how the mock audience reacts to the story and make improvements.
You need to keep the language of the story easy to understand and free of industry jargon (if possible). Also, use short sentences and sprinkle a few punchy text copies here and there to excite the audience.
Major Mistakes to Avoid in Sales Storytelling
#1. Weak Opening
Ensure you bring in the hero, goal, and obstacle right at the beginning of the story. Also, give out enough hints so that the audience also feels that they are in the story and not being alienated. Such a strategy will ensure that the customers will stay with you at least at the beginning. Or else, you will lose their attention, and some might even drop out of the session or meeting.
#2. Emphasizing Solutions
The story should revolve around the customer and their issues. Your brand’s product or service offerings are a tool to overcome the challenge your consumers face. However, it never should be the centerpiece of the story.
#3. Including Only Stats
Do not just pour in black and white numbers in tables, charts, and graphs. Just showing dashboards of numbers will not mean anything to the audience until you help them relate to the data.
Most sales storytelling sessions could not generate an expected rate of conversions because the sales rep keeps revolving the story around numbers and stats.
#4. Too Much Product Information
Product information should already be available on your website or brand’s store. There is no need to waste valuable time on it. You can use a few texts to introduce the product. You can also emphasize the product/service you are selling when backing up the story with stats.
#5. Forgetting to Explain the Benefits
Your customers can also easily find the product/service features from the website. But most websites fail to explain the benefits of each feature in an understandable language.
The sales storytelling session is your perfect opportunity to explain the benefits of the product/service functionalities. You can connect the customer’s perspective with those features and tell how that helps grow the business. If you fail to do that, the story will also fail.
#6. Discussing Costs at the Beginning
Divulging the cost of the product/service at the beginning of the story might impact the session negatively. When customers hear about the pricing of things, they take it negatively.
Hence, do not go into pricing at the beginning. Tell the story and establish a connection between the product and the customer’s business or requirement. Then, you can reach out to the client with a personalized quote when they express buying intentions.
#7. Using Sales-Killing Words
Most sales rep negatively impacts the storytelling session by mentioning the following phrases, words, or sentences:
- Free Trial
- Trust me
- I think we can do that
- To be honest
- Are you the decision-maker?
#8. Ignoring Objections
The prospect(s) may express sales objections during or after the session. Do not take objections as final. If you do, you will stop pursuing the client and lose a sales lead. Instead, come up with rebuttals to such objections and tell the client that you will reach out to them with personalized offerings to resolve the objection.
Stats to Stories—Final Words
So far, we have introduced you to the basics of storytelling in sales and some tips to improvise your company’s sales storytelling. You have also learned about the things to avoid during sales storytelling.
Now, you have the proper knowledge to apply the learning in real-world sales pitches, sales presentations, webinars, and in-person sales visits to clients’ premises. Happy selling!
You may also be interested in learning about sales pipeline management tools like Zoho Bigin.
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