I work in the serious world of health care with big dollars and even bigger egos. So, when my company was on its fourth meeting with yet more new contacts from a Big Pharma company, there was a definite level of frustration. The team wasn’t making headway into the organization. Looking back, the issue wasn’t the other company, it was our team. We simply weren’t compelling. Instead of pitching our capabilities, we needed to address the pain points through storytelling.
In yesterday’s issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we shared six key elements of a compelling case study from business author and speaker Henry DeVries. Today, we’ll share tips to put that story to work and get the sale over the finish line.
In storytelling, context is everything. You should never randomly tell stories, but instead use stories at the right strategic times. Here are six perfect opportunities to persuade with a story.
1. During An Initial Call To Get A Meeting. Never lead with the story. First have a conversation with the prospect. Ask about their goals, what they are doing right and what they see as the roadblocks they hope you can help them get past. At this point ask: “May I tell you a true story about how we helped a client get from where you are now to where you want to go?”
2. To Close A Client During A Meeting. For many companies, business development is not a one-step close. During an initial get-together you gather information and in the subsequent meeting you propose a course of action. This is the time to add a case history story about a client company that was in a similar situation.
3. On A Website And In Collateral Material. Get rid of those dry case studies on your website. Instead, convert them to the more persuasive story format of the six-step formula. This also applies to your marketing collateral. Don’t just tell when stories will sell. In your brochures and information kits replace drab case histories with persuasive heroic success stories-remember, your role is as a wise mentor.
4. During A New Business Presentation. Oftentimes, you may be asked to make a presentation to a group. Because humans are hardwired for stories, this is a perfect opportunity to make your pitch memorable.
5. During A Speech Or Media Interview. Occasionally you may receive an invitation to make a speech or give an interview to the media. Illustrate your message with a pithy story.
6. To Train Employees On Core Values. Stories can also be the gift to your business that keeps giving. Reinforce core values with employees and new hires through sharing your inventory of stories.
The right stories can work wonders whether you are using them in a one-to-one meeting, in a presentation that is one-to-several, or in a speech or in publicity that is one-to-many. Start today to build an inventory of persuasive stories.
Source: Henry DeVries, CEO of Indie Books International, works with consultants to attract high-paying clients by marketing with a book and speech. As a professional speaker, he teaches sales and business development professionals how to build an inventory of persuasive stories. He is the author of Marketing with a Book and Persuade with a Story.