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Don’t Offer a Pitch. Tell a Story.

3 min read

At that moment, it hit me – just how powerful it would have been for him to tell me a story about how he has helped someone like me, and what it did for the customer.

Every so often, there’s a bright idea, new gadget, or flavor of the year – it seemingly comes out of nowhere and suddenly, everyone is on board. The excitement to market it is great, and just as suddenly, there’s no shortage of entrepreneurs willing to sell this shiny new idea to the uninitiated public.

…and that’s where things get interesting.

Let me tell you a story. Right now, solar energy for households is a popular offering in Australia. Besides the obvious environmental positives, this is due to government rebates (that tend to be revised down each year) and the high cost of electricity. From any angle, it would seem that this “Solar Solution” would be an Earth-friendly way to save homeowners money.

I like saving money. I also love reducing my impact on the environment. So, I decided to explore solar energy for my home. I had a lovely young man come to my house to quote on such a solution. He was pleasant enough and respectful of my time, but I got very taken aback by his approach. Why?

He jumped to the business/transactional end so quickly,

that it turned me off instantly.

Without chatting for too long, he pulled out his writing pad and told me that I have two options for my new solar solution: pay the total amount or pay in installments. He then asked which one I would prefer. Just like that.

I said that I did not even know how much this is going to cost in total and if I could afford it in the first place, so I could not answer his question.

He neglected to tell any information that would help me make a decision.

I didn’t know much about this solution, its offerings and yet here we were traveling down the equipment and specification route. At that moment, it hit me – just how powerful it would have been for him to tell me a story about how he has helped someone like me, and what it did for the customer. Maybe share a story about why this company chose to be in this business or why he is doing this job.

Unfortunately for this salesman, the magic of the moment had passed, and I lost interest in talking to him. I politely showed him the exit and said I would consider his quote and let him know later.

This man lost a sale – not because of the deficiency of his product, not because it wouldn’t save me money on my energy bills or help the environment – but because his approach rubbed me the wrong way. And he didn’t even seem to realize it.

The power of storytelling –especially as it relates to sales and marketing – is enormous. Here are 3 things storytelling unlocks for salespeople:

  • Stories get prospective customers to get engaged emotionally.
  • Stories build a closer relationship between the buyer and the seller.
  • Stories demonstrate credibility when you share how the product has helped past buyers.

In sales, the story is a critical part of the first impression.

People buy from people they like and you only have a short time to create that feeling or lose the sale. And if that salesman had tried to engage me instead of taking an order, he would have had a happier ending.

People like stories. What is your story? Can you tell it?

Download our free guide on storytelling here.

To contact our Australian office, go here.


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