One sales strategy that is gaining momentum, is the importance of telling a story. In Dan Ambrose’s article, Be a Good Storyteller, Ambrose talks about telling a story to make a sale. He writes, “…selling requires persuasion. And optimum persuasion involves storytelling.” Making a difference in your pitch requires adding value. And as humans, we love stories and hearing about experiences. “Top sales people tell stories because it engages customers and puts the sales message in a context that captures the prospect’s attention, perhaps even tugs at the prospect’s emotions.”
Think about your favorite brands, your favorite companies. Likely they are your favorite because they focus on telling stories with their product and their people. “ A story provides a structure that makes it easier to understand your pitch, and to remember it, so your prospect can recommend and defend your property when you are not in the room.”
“When it comes to storytelling, the opening should be dramatic and personal. The beginning of the sales conversation should focus on dramatizing the needs of the readers. If the story is delivered in the right way, it captures the prospect’s attention and involves them in the drama of the story, communicates a sense of tension and then has them interested in learning the outcome.”
Develop your own story, work on your company’s brand and find something persuasive to say and contribute. Add value through storytelling.
In her article, Jessie Kwak writes “Are you seeing stagnant sales figures when your sales team looks busier than ever? It could be because your salespeople have fallen into bad sales habits and unproductive activities.” It’s easy to get off track, and maybe your sales team has. What are seven bad habits that can hinder sales productivity?
- Dialing for dollars. “Calling customers and prospects when you don’t have a valid business reason is a waste of time. Consider your motives before picking up the phone. Think about whether your conversation will truly push the deal forward.”
- Sticking to a script. “Nothing turns a potential client off faster than a salesperson who simply sticks to a script. Too often, salespeople have a set list of questions to ask, and they spend so much time thinking about crossing off each question that the customer feels their concerns are being ignored.”
- Treating all your prospects the same. “Believe it or not, sales is a creative profession, one that requires salespeople constantly to be thinking about the best approach for a particular prospect rather than trotting out cookie-cutter tactics. Approach prospects with an open mind, so you can be ready to tackle anything they bring to the table.”
- Not selling to the right person. “Salespeople can waste time by not connecting with the right decision makers within a prospect’s company – whether that’s selling to someone too far down the decision-making chain who will still need to get buy-in, or bypassing the true decision maker in an attempt to sell to the C-suite.” Conduct research before going in.
- Letting email rule the day. “Many salespeople have been trained to jump at every incoming email, but that can create an unproductive rhythm of reacting throughout the day, rather than prioritizing the work that should take precedence.” Take breaks to check emails, instead of answering emails as you get them.
- Doing work that should be delegated. “Spending time and energy on tasks that are outside the salesperson’s job description is another bad habit. Delegating tasks that are specific to a team member’s strengths will eliminate unnecessary burden and create a smoother, more efficient workflow.”
- Poor time management.
Get rid of bad sales habits, and develop good sales habits!
In Rhys Metler’s article, Metler says that regardless of you having worked in sales or being new to sales, “Different types of sales roles require diverse skills and qualities to make a great sales person, so it’s worth experimenting to see which is the best fit for you.” Metler made a list of why you should try out different roles in sales and the list includes:
- New Experiences. “The best sales people will actively seek new challenges, and engaged and passionate reps will want a stimulating and exciting job.” By trying new roles and learning everything you can, you broaden your scope, gain new stories to tell, and have more experience in the sales world.
- Finding Your Best Opportunities.
- Losing Motivation in Your Current Role. Sometimes we get too comfortable in a certain role, and we need a change. This is okay.
- Impressive Career Trajectory. “Showing that your versatile and not afraid of a new challenge looks great on an impressive sales resume. When you’re able to show that you’re successful in a number of sales roles throughout your career, an employer will immediately recognize that you’re top talent. This can lead to exciting new opportunities for professional growth.”
In his article, Martin Zwilling says “As a business advisor, I certainly recognize the need for talking to make an investment case, close a sale, or communicate with your team. I also recognize the need for active listening.”
“It’s a sad spiral, since the longer you talk to someone without stopping to listen, the less both of you really hear. They don’t learn anything and you weren’t listening. You have to spend even more time talking to get the message across.”
Here are Martin’s suggestions for listening better and learning more:
- Limit your statements and answers to sixty seconds or less.
- Listen attentively to responses, and do not interrupt.
- Lead your response with a thoughtful pause.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions for clarification.
- Use part of your talking time to summarize what you have heard.
- When speaking to an individual, address them by name if possible.
- Choose the right environment and mode of communication.
- Practice the connect, convey, and convince strategy.
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