[This is the 4th in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories salespeople should have in their repertoire.]
In conducting my research on storytelling in the sales space, I read dozens of books and interviewed sales and procurement managers at over 50 companies around the world.
One of the more unexpected, and quite frankly, amusing, uses I found for storytelling was to help the salesperson relax and take the stress out of the sales call. So, this isn’t a story you tell to the buyer. It’s a story you tell yourself, prior to the call.
I came across my favorite example of this kind of story in a fabulous, and probably underappreciated book, called Soft Tales and Hard Asses by Paul Lanigan and Denis Goodbody. In it, their fictional main character, Sebastian, observes:
Over the years I’ve learned to focus on all the positives and remind myself why I’m there in the first place. One of the most valuable techniques I have—it sounds a bit crazy at first, but it makes sense—is to tell myself that I am financially independent and I don’t need this deal. I’ve found that, by adopting this mindset, I relax more and care less. Instead of living with the burden of the whole company’s future, and that of its workforce, on my shoulders, I become a gentleman of means indulging in some sport.
Every time I think of this story, I get an image of some wealthy baron fox hunting in medieval England or an aristocrat sipping brandy and talking politics at a yacht club.
I’ve tried running a story like that through in my head myself before a sales call with a potential speaking or training client. It really does create a different attitude and tone in your voice. Instead of sounding like a desperate salesperson, you sound like a trusted consultant and advisor. It’s perhaps another way of following Zig Ziglar’s advice to become the assistant buyer, not the salesperson. Both are more relaxed and stress-free roles.
This doesn’t have to be your story. But if it’s not, what would work for you? What story can you ruminate on before a sales call that will help you relax and take the stress out of selling?
Source: Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale, by Paul Smith.
Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.
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