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Salespeople Need To Spot Stories
The ability to spot a story is the key to effective story work. You only get the benefits of storytelling if you’re actually telling a story. This knowledge alone will set you apart from all the people who are merely talking about stories rather than telling them.
Many people know what a story is until they are asked to find or tell one. To accurately spot stories, you need to train your ears to differentiate them from opinions, viewpoints, statements of fact, and the many other things that aren’t stories. This is an essential skill; without it, systematic and purposeful sales storytelling is impossible. Our ability to spot stories is based on the simple fact that stories have structure, which is why Superior Sales has developed a story-spotting framework.
Before we go any further, let me just say that the story-spotting framework is not an attempt to come up with a rigid definition of a story. Rather, it’s merely a tool that will help salespeople to identify useful stories. In that context, the framework is a simple device that allows you to quickly decide whether something you’re hearing is a story or not. Now let us break it down for you.
Begins with a Time or Place Marker, Sometimes a Character
Oral stories often begin with a time marker (denoted by the clock image). When you hear someone say “Just this week…” or “The other day…”, then it is likely they are starting to tell a story. These are time markers. Sometimes an oral story starts in a different way, such as with a place (place tag image); for example, “We were in the boardroom and Bill walked in….” Of course, the fabled time marker is ‘Once upon a time…’, but let me tell you, avoid this phrase in a sales negotiation. It never goes down well.
Stories mostly begin with either a time marker or a place marker because they are always set in a particular time and place.
A series of connected Events
Connected events are the bare essentials of a story (events image). This is essential. Stories describe something that has happened – a series of interconnected events. When you hear someone say “And then…after that… and because of that…”, you are hearing a story. The events supply cause and effect. They make us wander what happens next.
The creators of the animated sitcom South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, warn fledgling animators that if two scenes are separated with ‘and then…’, the result is likely to be a boring story. However, if the scenes are connected with the equivalent of ‘but…’ and ‘therefore…’, things stay interesting. We like to hear how people face and then resolve problems.
People Doing Things and Talking
If you hear people’s names and what they did, or if you hear dialogue, then there’s a good chance you’re listening to a story (people image). In fact, dialogue can only be delivered in a story—it’s a real giveaway.
Something unanticipated happens
A story is a promise – a promise to share something that the audience doesn’t know (wham image). To qualify as a story, there must be something in it that’s unanticipated. It doesn’t have to be a big insight, but the listener should at least raise the eyebrows a little. That’s what makes it story-worthy.
It has a business point
For a story to be a sales influencing story, it just has to have a business related point.
If you are looking at turning your Salespeople into Storytellers either email Mark at email@example.com OR
dig for more information at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/workshops/
At Superior Sales we build programmes leveraging all the core drivers of capability – organisation, people, process and culture, not just skills. Refer to our white paper at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/storytelling/whitepaper/
At Superior Sales our capability experts work extensively with companies to equip sales teams, and indeed the whole organisation, to deliver a better customer experience. Please get in touch at http://www.superiorsales.com.au/contact-us/
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