The Art of Storytelling in Sales

Sales isn't a science; it's an art form.

Posted on: February 14th, 2017

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin

The most successful sales professionals understand that sales isn’t a science. It is an art form. Salespeople are creative professionals in their own right. Part of this is not losing sight of who you are actually talking to when you’re talking to a prospect–you aren’t talking to the title, or to the position. You’re talking to a person, with real emotions and feelings. And people love to hear stories.

Think of a child’s frequent nighttime request, “Tell me a story.” Just like kids, people of all ages want to be engaged and entertained with a narrative.

Storytelling is one of the easiest ways to bring what you do into the world of your prospect. You could simply present your prospect with a lot of facts–the history of your company, the details of your products or services, why the prospect should work with you, what you can offer, and so on. This approach has the potential to turn off your prospect–or cause them to tune out and disengage. Or, you could tell your prospect a story relevant to his or her interests and likes; something they are likely to engage with and respond to. You can use metaphors and examples to help your prospect understand the value of your solution.

Storytelling also helps break the ice. When you’re meeting with a prospect for the first time, keep in mind how they might feel. You may be enthusiastic and comfortable speaking with a stranger, but they may feel apprehensive or uncomfortable. Telling a story helps you put them at ease, draw them in, and engage them in a dialogue. Just make sure the story you tell is personal and genuine, never contrived. Again, you’re talking to a person–and they’ll know the difference.

How will you begin to use storytelling in your prospecting?