Most companies have a well-established sales process, complete with templated emails, drip campaigns, call scripts and follow-up procedures. Surely that should make your job easier? But modern buyers don’t want to be sold to – they’re looking for trusted advisors to help them to navigate specific challenges.
One-for-all sales techniques just don’t cut it any more. By the time that you reach a potential customer, they’ve already completed 67% of their purchasing journey online. In order to close the deal, you need to engage on a personal and emotional level, and the best way to achieve that is through storytelling.
Here are three reasons why storytelling is essential for success in the modern-day sales cycle.
STORYTELLING TRIGGERS THE RIGHT PARTS OF THE BRAIN
If people were purely objective, they would purchase a new product or service based entirely on the features that they receive for the price point. But people don’t always think that way. While data is incredibly important, crafting a story around that data will give your message context and meaning that resonates with your audience. Science backs this up: studies show that seven regions of the brain are activated when listening to a story, compared to only two regions when listening to data by itself.
Stories also help to keep your prospect’s attention. There is a long-running saying that people have shorter attention spans than goldfish, but the reality is that attention spans aren’t declining – people are just increasingly selective about what they choose to focus on. Prezi’s State of Attention Report found that 6 in 10 business professionals surveyed can pay more attention to a piece of content than a year ago. The caveat is that a great story is what actually keeps them engaged. Stories make up two-thirds of our daily conversations, so as humans we’re used to communicating this way. Using a visual and conversational presentation platform can help you to bring your pitch to life and relate on an authentic level.
STORYTELLING CONVEYS YOUR COMPANY VALUES
No matter how well-known your brand is, your logo can only do so much for you. The fact is, ‘customers don’t buy a brand or a logo as much as they buy into a set of values.’ People buy through both logic and emotion, so when they understand a company’s values, they get the ‘emotional texture‘ necessary for them to sign on the dotted line.
Storytelling is especially effective in conveying values. Starbucks founder Howard Schultz often shares the story about his visit to Milan that inspired him to bring European coffee culture to the United States. This signature anecdote is repeated because it immediately helps customers, as well as new employees and stakeholders, to understand Starbucks’ mission on a sentimental level.
When it comes to B2B selling, stories are even more vital. It’s easy to forget that ‘B2B buyers are the same individuals that shop on Amazon or interact with Apple on their mobile phone every day.’ If buyers purchased your software based on cost alone, they’d immediately switch to a competitor if they offered a cheaper price point. Use storytelling to elevate your brand beyond its features and pricing plans and present a company that people connect with.
STORYTELLING CREATES A PERSONALISED AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
With the pressure of quotas and revenue targets, it can be tempting to resort to mass outreach tactics. But more often than not, bombarding prospects with ready-made calls and emails simply doesn’t work, especially since 79% of buyers only consider brands that understand and care about them.
Additionally, a Monetate report found that 93% of businesses with advanced personalisation strategies increased their revenue last year. Personalisation is more necessary than ever to help sales reps to stand out from the competition and bridge the gap between buyer and seller. Instead of dictating your pitch to your prospect, listen closely, let them steer the conversation based on what’s relevant to them, and then you can relate with stories to make a lasting impression.
Storytelling is the oldest form of education. Through the ages, it has ignited new ideas, inspired action and connected us to each other. Bringing storytelling into modern selling is a sure way to elevate the experience for all of those involved. With Highspot and Prezi‘s integration, you can deliver personalised, visual pitches and presentations designed to take your buyer conversations to the next level.