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Facts tell and stories sell. If you want to become really good at sales, then you must know how to tell your story. People think in pictures and they can and will follow a story. People learn better from stories and become emotionally connected to stories. What is your story and can you tell your story and tell it well?
What makes you who you are? You are different from anyone else. Your life experiences, background and everything about you makes you unique. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, you think you are typical and that there is nothing exceptional or unique about yourself, and if that is what you think, you are absolutely wrong.
You could tell any customer 50 things about your product and he might remember a few of them. But, if you shared with a customer five things about yourself, he will remember all of them. People buy from people — not salespeople. People don’t necessarily like salespeople but they do like people who they can relate to or who they can connect to by their story. Stories make you a real live person instead of a commoditized salesperson. A customer can get a product anywhere, but he can’t get you anywhere else. If you don’t believe that, you are doomed to sell less than you could and should. You will also be doomed to experience frustration in sales because you have relegated yourself to the position of “order taker.” Stop selling products.
You do not have to dominate a conversation or talk only about you. However, you have to weave it into a conversation and eventually how that might relate to your customer. A conversation occurs when two or more people are communicating with one another. A conversation is rarely about a product alone. The conversation more often than not includes opinions, experiences, background and a personal spin to those products.
To have a true conversation, you will not only share your story but will also learn your customers’ story. A story is not only what a customer is looking for; it is the who, what and why of a customer. Imagine asking customers deeper questions rather than “what product or model are you looking for?” Dig deeper, dig deeper, dig deeper. The story is there and your customer wants to share that story. When a customer shares their story and you truly listen, you have now connected you, your product and service to them. The connection is deeper and more emotional than other salespeople will have. The following simple questions will allow a customer to share their story with you and begin a conversation and relationship.
“Mr. Customer, what is the most important thing to you when you buy?”
“Mr. Customer, what was the first thing that made you want to buy what you currently have?”
“Mr. Customer, tell me how you plan on typically using ______.”
“Mr. Customer, do you work near here? Where? How long have you worked there? What do you do? How did you get into that?”
“Mr. Customer, as you have been shopping, what one thing has kept you from moving forward in making your decision?”
Think about some of the best books you have read or the best movies you have seen. Did they have a compelling story? Think of the most interesting and compelling people you have ever met. Did they have a great story? Did you want to know more?
Know and communicate the stories of you, your product and business. Just as importantly, you should know the story of your customer. Stories create influence and connection. Influence and connection have created more sales than any product or price ever has. Price creates commodity and lowest price wins in a commodity environment. Price cutting is a self-inflicted wound created by the salesperson with a weak and untold story. In your next three sales encounters, work on sharing your story and understanding your customers story. You will be amazed at the results.
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