26 May Commission is the mission: Pitfalls of a hollow selling story
There’s some popular advice gaining traction around the sales community. Industry experts and marketing gurus alike are saying that the best way to sell something isn’t to sell at all. Instead, you should make an effort to “earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.”
Look, I get it, you have to keep your goals (and your commission) in mind. It’s just the practical way to actually do your job. But there’s a huge problem with letting that mentality drive your pitches: Your prospects can tell when you’re feeding them filler in an attempt to make a sale. You might want to think twice if you’re considering cutting corners with your selling story. Sure, developing a great story takes precious time and effort, but this isn’t the place to throw something together haphazardly.
A hollow selling story is overly promotional
Solution: Don’t make it all about you.
Before you can persuade someone, it’s important to make sure they feel understood. When people rush through the development of their selling story, the result usually isn’t much more than an overly promotional list of accomplishments. Referring solely to your previous work isn’t enough.
Storytelling is one of the best ways to address challenges from a buyer’s perspective. An effective selling story works your experience into a narrative that engages your audience, and most importantly….focuses on the issues they care about. This is your opportunity to show that you truly understand your customer’s pain points. Why would you want to pass up on that?
A hollow selling story isn’t versatile.
Solution: Show your expertise.
Prove it. This is your chance to show your expertise. After you’ve connected with a client, you should give them insight and challenge them to think critically. Andy Raskin once said “some of your most powerful sales weapons are stories about how you’ve already helped people achieve what your prospect wants”, and that’s definitely true. You can re-frame the way a prospect views their entire situation by presenting a relatable scenario. The success of this all comes down to how you choose to present your solution.
David Gisonno, our Director of Strategic Business Development said it best:
“The best selling story is one that is situational. To provide the best fit solution, you need to listen attentively and fully understand the problem. Listen to what the prospect is describing as pain points and make those your high notes.”
Figure out what’s important to your prospect. Then, make sure to appeal to those interests throughout your story. The key here is being aware of the difference between value added and hype.
A hollow story falls flat.
Solution: Be approachable.
Storytelling should be about transparency.
Your selling story shouldn’t be all accolades and bragging rights. It’s important to share your accomplishments as well as the journey you took to get there (missteps and all). This helps your audience paint a picture of how you fit into your clients’ lives and ideally make them better.
Instead of just showing results, show how you came up with an idea whether it’s a video or something as unconventional as a series of fever-induced doodles. When it’s all said and done, your audience should walk away with an understanding of what it feels like to work with you.
Resonating with your audience
Don’t miss out on telling the types of stories that your prospects actually want to hear. A great story can work wonders for your sales process, but you have to take the time to make sure that story’s both strong and genuine. It’s not just about selling. It’s about giving yourself context that shows how you’ll make your prospects’ lives better.
And once you have things down, edit as necessary. Tweak and tailor your story for each situation. This shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. The connection you’ll create is well worth the effort it takes to create an awesome selling story.