Remember when you were a kid and hearing fairy stories … how on earth can you remember even a single story decades later (when you can’t even remember where your spare keys are!)? Because they were made relevant to you by the teller. It felt like you were Jack trying to get back down the beanstalk or that the Big Bad Wolf was coming after you.
It’s really no different in business. Well, it’s a bit different, but when you engage with prospects you are placed in a very privileged position – that of the “teller.”
By mutual consent it’s your job to share a story that is compelling, believable and sufficiently moving to generate a subsequent order for you.
What makes good sales story?
A good sales story is like any other good story. It has:
- A strong, compelling beginning
- The main section – the middle bit – “the meat”
- A satisfying and emotional ending
Why is a good story important?
In the age of the internet 60% of typical purchasing decisions are fully completed before today’s decision makers even engage with the sales people of their potential suppliers. Today’s buyers have a huge amount of information about your products – and your competitors’ – at their perusal. This means that your business offers really must shine when purchasers do come into contact with your sales professionals, your sales presentations and your proposals.
The way to shine is to differentiate your company, your offer and make the offer directly relevant to your audience. But how? Let’s start at the very beginning …
How many of your meetings and sales presentations start with something like this:
“Let me give you a bit of background about who we are and what we do”?
If a company is going to do business with you background information of this sort will be relevant, but not yet.
What problem are you here to solve for your prospect? This is what the person on the other side of the table or laptop screen wants to know.
By clearly stating that problem and immediately establishing your credibility as someone who clearly knows about real and painful issues affecting your prospect and their sector you will have secured something that is gold dust in today’s market place …
The middle section – be relevant
Good. So your audience is listening to you, so move on quickly to the middle part of your story, the “meat”. This is when you must come alive as the teller.
The meat of your story is the value proposition which translates as “what’s in it for your prospect?” Not “prospects” generally but this one.
Failure to differentiate your solution and your company will result in your prospect buying from your competitor or not buying anything at all. Poor differentiation also means that your solution may be seen as “commoditised”, which means that you will be under pressure to discount on price or lose the sale.
Here we need to work on proof:
- Proof that you have the skills and credibility to solve their acknowledged problem
- Testimonials from people from organisations that your audience is familiar with and respects
- Case studies
- Your process for solving the problem
- Typical time-scales for solution implementation
This makes you and your solution real in the eyes of the prospect.
You’ve grabbed the attention of your audience and you have proven that you can solve their problem within a sensible time frame. Fantastic. Mission accomplished and you can relax; the hard bit’s over.
The hard bit is over but it’s certainly not time to relax.
If you don’t finish well – if you do not finish strong – then your time in this meeting, your time travelling to the meeting and all your preparation time may be wasted.
The end is where everything must come together in the form of gaining commitment to move forward. Secure that commitment now.
Quantum’s workshops help companies develop compelling stories and unique, winning value propositions. To know if we might be able to help strengthen your value proposition please contact us.