How do you connect with strangers and get them to become customers? Businesses have an array of tools to interact with customers (email, phone, social media, mail), but are they really connecting? Perhaps what businesses need isn’t a new technology but a new story.
Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale tackles this area and explains why stories are absolutely critical to your toolkit of sales techniques. The book provides an extensive treasure chest of sales stories and storytelling techniques to help everyone in the office utilize the stories that exist around them.
What is Sell With a Story About?
To show the power of stories, the author starts with one of his own. He bought a picture of a baby pig swimming in the ocean at an art event that he wasn’t too particularly interested in. Why did he buy this picture? It was the backstory that intrigued him. The baby pig was a descendant of pigs who had learned to swim in order to get food dumped by ships. After hearing that amazing story, the author says he was ready to buy.
This emphasis on connecting emotionally with your customer through stories is the central message of the book. Stories have immense power to connect with others on a deeper level than pure facts and numbers will do, something that has been recently backed up by science. Researchers have found that the human brain is able to remember stories about your product better than any data you show. The process may occur because our brains process stories differently than data. Most data is processed in the part of the brain associated with higher thought (neocortex), while stories are processed in another area (limbic system) where emotions are involved. To make it clearer, our brains can remember facts but they become emotionally attached to stories.
Creating stories isn’t a matter of crafting some pre-arranged script either. The storytelling process covered in the book is adaptive, rather than scripted. A story isn’t a quick fix for instant sales profits. A story should be an organic part of the conversation, a part of how your entire business communicates its value. Overall, the book’s goal is to peer into the storytelling process to help you realize how this process can be tweaked and refined to achieve your sales goals.
Author Paul Smith is a storytelling consultant for businesses, keynote speaker and trainer with a 20-year background as a Proctor and Gamble executive. Smith is currently the managing partner of StoryMakers LLC and Principal of ThoughtLEADERS LLC.
What Was Best About Sell With a Story?
The best part of Sell with a Story is the extensive amount of content available. Smith covers storytelling beyond the simple advice of “just add a story to your PowerPoint.” The book, instead, focuses on adapting the process of good storytelling to your need. This means the book goes into more detail about storytelling that other books don’t cover (ethics, tailoring a story for time and audience, collecting stories, etc.).
To be brief, Smith knows storytelling from a business perspective and demonstrates it throughout the entire book.
What Could Have Been Done Differently
One area that could have received more attention in Sell With a Story is the training of frontline sales staff. The book provides a lot of the material required for such training, but it doesn’t provide all of the details. For example, what if you are a retail store manager who believes in the message of this book? What kind of training program ,based on the book, should you set up for your customer service representatives? How would you start the training process?
Why Read Sell With a Story?
If the word “sales” is listed anywhere formally or informally as part of your job description, Sell with a Story is the kind of book that you want to consider spending some time with. Unlike other “you should tell stories about your brand” books, this book is packed with stories from a uniquely sales perspective. That being said, the book is also more than a manual of fixed stories or story templates. It is a comprehensive guide to the process and strategies of good storytelling that can help you find a way to connect with your customer’s brain faster than your competitors.