If you are a passion-driven sales leader, you may occasionally find yourself in a predicament: you understand all the important aspects of business, and you know exactly why your product or service is needed, but when it comes to closing the deal, you just can’t quite get your pitch to feel as natural as your vision.
You aren’t alone. The fact is that pushy sales aren’t comfortable. You probably don’t like it when others try to sell you things, and therefore, you don’t want to be on the distributing end of an interaction that can often feel forced or tacky.
The good news is that sales success doesn’t come from “selling.” It comes from connection, which starts with authentic brand storytelling.
How Does a Story Make a Sale?
Think about the brands you regularly purchase. What is it that makes you choose them over all other possible options? A recent study found that around 91% of consumers highly value authenticity when deciding where to buy their products and services.
One of the best ways to make a genuine connection with your customers is to show them that you have a real connection with your product through authentic brand storytelling. You got into business for a reason, and there is a story behind it. If you can identify (and share!) that story, you’re well on your way to helping your customers believe in your product as much as you do.
Tell, Don’t Sell
If you ever spent a miserable summer selling anything door-to-door as a kid, you’ve probably sat through all sorts of slide presentations about sales tricks and tactics that might convince people to buy from you. You likely learned the hard way that those tactics don’t really work. And this may feel doubly true as you’ve tried to use those same tactics to win sales for your current company.
You’ll find you have a much easier time when you leave the tactics behind and simply present the true story; share why your passion led you to start your business in the first place. Consider successful brands that started very small: An excellent example is Clif Bar. The company was born because the founder couldn’t stand the energy bars he had taken with him on a long biking trip and turned to his mom for help with developing something better.
A story like that is an excellent example of authentic brand storytelling. Not only because it connects a human experience with the product, but it also naturally promises that a lot of care has gone into the quality of the product. Authentic brand storytelling connects us to our customers and explain why exactly your product or service is worth buying in the first place.
Authenticity = Authority
In a recent episode of the Story Talks podcast, startup CEO Penny Schiffer told several stories about experiences she’d had that helped her eventually start her business. These stories ranged from an interesting conversation she’d had with a stranger on a plane, to a professor who hugely influenced her understanding of statistics during her schooling. Story Talks host and Narativ CEO Jerome Deroy pointed out that in telling these stories she was not only using those meaningful human experiences to connect with her audience, but she was also establishing herself as a credible authority in her field as well.
It is very much the same when it comes to bringing stories into your company’s sales equation. If you can find your authentic story and share with your customers why you are passionate about what you do, the story of your experience will often establish you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy authority in the services you provide.
Anybody can claim to be the best in the business, but if you can show your work and share a story that proves it, your customers will be a lot more likely to believe your claim.
Putting Theory Into Action
It’s one thing to learn principles and theories, but the true value of any lesson is in learning to actually apply it. If you fear that you are not much of a storyteller—or even that you don’t feel a genuine connection to whatever you’re selling—don’t worry. You may be surprised to find that putting ideas into action in this exercise opens up a new dimension of selling for you. Here’s how to do it:
Common wisdom tells us that we need to focus on the needs of our audience: What do they care about? While this is a valuable question, it’s not where we believe you should start. Start with you. You are your first listener..
You got into this business for a reason. What sparked your desire? This could be an experience from your childhood that stuck with you, or it could be an incident that led directly to you working for your current company?
If you’re not in business for yourself, there’s something that connects you to the product or service you’re selling. Think of all the challenges that you experienced in your own life or could have experienced if you didn’t have access to the product or service you’re selling. When you start with yourself, and identify what’s getting in the way of your ability to listen to yourself and others, then you understand what you need to address and release in order to be fully present to the stories that NEED to be told, urgently.
The experiences that emerge from listening to yourself create fertile ground for excavating, crafting, and presenting authentic stories. Through a device we call the “What Happened Camera,” you are able to separate facts from feelings. This opens up the door to you being able to engage with people through raw description of actions rather than layering on your interpretation of the experience.
Once your story is written out, it will be a lot easier for you to begin to see the ways your experience might set you apart as someone uniquely equipped to do what you’re doing, as well as why the product or service you provide is bound to be superior because of it.
This is where consideration of your audience comes into play. Who are they? What are their demographics? What sorts of experiences do they have, and which pain points of theirs is your business meant to help ease? Consider these things as you look for the elements of your story that most relate to those experiences and pains.
This step is especially important in making the connection with your audience that will help them know you are authentic and that you care more about their needs than about getting their money.
Tales Over Sales
Putting authentic brand storytelling at the forefront of your sales equation will remove the need for a lot of sales “tricks” and pushy tactics. Instead, it will help you build your customer base on a relationship of trust.
Your customers are smart, and they can usually see right through a sales pitch. Instead, take the time to build your pitch around your personality and your life experiences and allow the authenticity to flow.
And, where authenticity flows, connection follows.
This is what we are excited to help you access—true, authentic, meaningful connection. This is the kind of connection that makes you wake up in the morning with a new sense of purpose, and a drive that lifts the whole enterprise.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can work together to personalize and differentiate your sales strategy and pitch, visit us here. If you are ready to speak with us, schedule a 15-minute consultation with our CEO, Jerome Deroy.