Answer to Narrative #3 (toothbrushes on the Oral Care aisle)

This one is tricky. It’s exactly the kind of narrative professional salespeople use all the time, and they might easily refer to it as a story. But let’s look at the criteria. There are time references to February and Christmas, but most of the text doesn’t involve those times. There is no place mentioned. It’s [read more]

Answer to Narrative #1 (Ultra-White Teeth Whitening)

Let’s walk through all six criteria: There is no time and no place mentioned. There’s also not a clear main character, although “you” is mentioned several times. There does appear to be a main obstacle (yellow teeth and the discomfort of most teeth whitening systems). And there is clearly a goal (whiter teeth). Finally, and most [read more]

A “personal motivation” story

In her inspiring book Selling with Noble Purpose, sales consultant Lisa McLeod recounts a conversation she had with a top sales rep at a major biotech company. Lisa asked the rep, “What do you think about when you go on sales calls? What’s going on in your head?” Lisa writes that the rep sheepishly admitted [read more]

“Who I’ve helped and how I’ve helped them” story

Here’s a real example of what this kind of story looks like when it’s done well from the perspective of a prospect. In this case, that prospect is Quave Burton, a global procurement executive at Abercrombie & Fitch. In July 2015, Quave attended a strategic sourcing forum in Newport Beach, California. Part of the conference included a [read more]

“How we’re different from our competitors” story

Procurement people will tell you (like they told me) that competitors in every space are so similar that it’s difficult to tell them apart. They need a “differentiation” story—which means you need a differentiation story. For a good example of what that looks like, I turned to Joanna Martinez, former chief procurement officer at Cushman [read more]

Making payroll

By 1999, Andrew Moorfield had spent a decade in banking and corporate finance for companies like Citibank and Diageo. But the tidal wave of opportunities the dot-com revolution presented was too much for someone with big ideas to resist. And Andrew had big ideas. In June 2000, he left the corporate world and launched bfinance.co.uk, [read more]

Story Details

The WRONG way: “Well, that’s an interesting question, Bob. You see, it was a warm September morning, and the leaves on the trees outside our Dallas office were finally starting to change color. The smell of lilacs wafting through the lobby was almost strong enough to make us forget about the traffic noise from the [read more]

Service after the sale story

Depending on the type of product or service offered, many times storytelling can help your existing customers make better decisions about how to use what they’ve already bought from you. And it’s obviously in your best interest to help them do that so they become the most satisfied customers they can be. Here are some [read more]

Creating a sense of urgency

Even after you’ve convinced your prospects that they would benefit from your product or service, that yours is superior to your competitor’s, and that the price is acceptable, salespeople often face a final barrier that might be articulated this way: “We’ll definitely place an order, but now’s not the right time.” In this situation, salespeople [read more]

Handling Objections

Tiffany is a senior account executive at DataServ, a company that helps businesses go completely paperless and manage all their payables, receivables, and human resources processes and documents online. One of the more common objections she gets during a call with a new prospect goes something like this: “I know your system would save us [read more]