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Once upon a time there was a story

What is Business Matters (both the radio segment and this column) anyway? It is simply storytelling that packs principles for work and life, presented in a way that people would readily understand.

People say I’m good in public speaking, but really, what I do is simply present principles in storytelling form that’s designed to inspire people to choose the better options for life and living.

Stories are powerful. And marketers today know all about that.

Ever wish you can tell a story so great that when you finish, prospects would say, “Wow!” and then buy your product? You can! In fact, you probably have several stories that would take your sales presentation to the next level - from sales presentation to sales performance. Ask Jeffrey Gittomer, the famous sales guru. He says (with permission granted):

“Paul Homoly, business development entrepreneur and master storyteller, has developed a powerful and persuasive sales breakthrough called StorySelling™. ‘StorySelling™ blends the images and appeal of storytelling with the logic and intention of selling,’ says Homoly. ‘You take the benefits and features of your product and tell a story about them. The value of telling a story is that it projects images and appeal onto the critical selling dialogues. The concept is simple but powerful - facts and benefits are forgotten, but stories are retold.’ ”

What stories are you telling your prospects that compel them to buy?

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You may think you don’t know great stories, let alone one that would rock the prospect to his socks – untrue! Everyone has great stories within them. Your challenge is to uncover them, and then tell them with appeal and prospect focus.

Here’s a six-step formula to help you discover (or rediscover) your great sales stories:

1. Start a StorySelling™ Mastermind group.

A StorySelling™ Mastermind group is composed of three to five intelligent and energetic people who’ll participate and urge the process on. It’s best if they’re all sales people.

2. Let each one tell a sales experience with a customer.

Select those who had outstanding success with your product or service. Use minimal written notes or scripts - tell your stories from the heart. Record each story on audio.

Success can definitely be learned. And with so many books out there on the subject, there really isn’t any reason why people aren’t getting more out of life. The thing is, it takes too long to learn the secrets!

I’m sure you’re familiar with the time it takes to read a book. It takes about 5 to 8 hours, less if you speed read. But that’s just one book, for one topic! What’s worse, within the next 24 hours, we forget 80% of what we’ve learned if we don’t constantly review what we’ve read or watched or listened to. With our busy schedules and deadlines due yesterday, we simply don’t have the luxury of patiently learning and relearning.

3. Be sure to include any trouble you had with the sale.

Include any reluctance to purchase, previous bad experience, etc. Great stories have highs and lows.

4. As one person finishes, let each listener ask questions about the sale.

These questions represent information your listeners had wanted, but your story didn’t answer. You’ll find that, when answered, these questions enrich the story. You’ll also notice one story will remind the group of other stories, each building on each other. (This is the time to take notes.)

5. The listeners must also comment on the most compelling part(s) - the part(s) of the story that would have made them buy.

6. After every one has had his turn to tell and hear comments about their sale, retell each sales story with the additions inspired by your listeners’ questions and their stories.

Record the second story and compare it to the first.

Discovering your stories is a growth process. Don’t set your expectations such that you’ll have great stories after one session. Let your stories evolve. This process will lead your group to creating stories that illustrate each step in the sales process.

All of us tell stories. The key in sales is to tell compelling, relatable, true stories that capture prospects’ interest and creates a buying atmosphere. This sales strategy will separate you from your competition by miles - and orders.

This is also why testimonials are powerful, because you hear a person tell his or her story.

Even Jesus used stories in His lessons, and His disciples show the power of their transformed life through Christ.

So how about you, what’s your story?

(You can now receive daily inspirational quotes and thoughts from me. Text “Inspire” to 288 for Smart or Sun subscribers, and 2889 for Globe subscribers. Or visit facebook.com/franciskong 2 for more details.)

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