What’s your part in your prospects’ story?

In BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

How to sell more, when your competitors sell pretty much the same stuff.

Our world is getting more complex. And that makes it difficult. To influence. To sell. To make sense. To lead. To love. Even to hate.

As people in sales jobs, or non-selling-sales jobs (HT to Dan Pink), you are trying to convince someone to make a decision to join your cause. To buy from you. To invest in your start-up. To believe in your potential.

And you must do it in an attention starved landscape – children competing with smart phones for parents’ attention; employees fighting with each other for their “initiative” to be mentioned by a CXO; salesmen vying for attention of the prospects….

How starved are people of attention?

Let’s put it this way – the attention span of a human being is now less than that of a gold fish! A creature with a brain that’s 1/1000th of ours now can focus for a longer time!

But gaining their attention will only take you so far. It will not persuade them to make a change, in your favour. For that to happen, you need to be a part of their conversations. And to be part of a meaningful conversation, you must be a part of their story. Your prospects’ story. Your team members’ story. Your leaders’ story.

Why?

Because stories are the only device known to mankind that combines both concept and feelings. What the experts call as high-concept and high-touch.

In the earlier days, concepts were shared in boardrooms and formal meetings, while the high-touch (or feelings) part of the work to persuade a prospect typically happened outside of office – in restaurants, or at the golf course.

But given the lack to time and the agile world, you don’t have the luxury of doing both at different places and at different times, for all but the most important of your prospects.

Stories, and research is increasingly confirming this, are the best way to a man’s heart and mind!

While story-telling is treated as a fad by some, the bad rap is not justified. Attempts at story telling in business contexts fail, not because story telling is the wrong choice, but because the stories themselves were not right for the context, or were not told in a manner that made sense to the listener.

So how do you tell a great business story. Here’s a list of things you need to consider:

  1. Do you know your audience? What’s their common story? What can you tell them that they would understand?
  2. Does your story have a beginning (pity/empathy), middle (fear) and end (catharsis)?
  3. Can the listener step into the shoes of the hero of your story?
  4. What’s your role in the story? Remember, if you cannot be a part of their story, you are not relevant to them.
  5. Even if they don’t make a decision in your favour, will they remember you for the story you told?

Remember, it’s not the person with better product or service who wins in the end. It’s the person with the better story. And that’s how you sell more, even when your competition sells pretty much the same stuff.

 

Note : This article was originally published on LinkedIn

 

Ramesh Dorairaj

Ramesh Dorairaj is consultant, coach and an author. He has 27+ Years of Experience consulting for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He has groomed 50+ leaders. Has participated in 2.5 Billion $ worth of successful deals.  He is a Certified Executive Coach at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Certified Sales Coach and a Certified Proposal Coach

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