Why am I telling you this story? A quick and easy framework to ensure your stories have impact
There is no disputing it. Stories are powerful. They make what you say relatable, interesting and memorable. For this reason, I encourage salespeople to identify one or two key points that they often need to make in a sales call or presentation and to developing a story that will help to drive home their point.
We are all natural storytellers and listeners. For many of us, our fondest memories are being tucked into bed listening to a mom, dad or grandparent tell us a story. It is likely that in the past twenty-four hours you have told and listened to more stories than you can count. But when we tell a story in a sales situation we need to ensure that it is memorable, interesting and on point.
Have you ever been in a situation in which you are listening to someone tell a story and you think to yourself “why are they telling me this story?” Or worse, you are the one telling the story and think “why am I telling you this story?“
We cannot afford to have this happen in a sales situation. For this reason, we coach salespeople to “frame” their stories. In other words, tell the point of your story before you tell the story, and then finish by telling the point of the story again. While this may sound redundant, it’s actually quite natural in practice and will go a long way to ensuring that your point is not lost. Here is an example.
I’d like to share with you a story that illustrates our extraordinary, sometimes over-the-top commitment to our clients. About three weeks ago, one of our clients was working from home on a presentation that she was making to the Executive Team the next day. Due to an unexpected ice storm, she lost all electricity. Her account manager happened to call her about a half hour into it, to confirm that she had received a report she had requested to include in her presentation. The client was panicked. She had very little battery power left on her computer and was afraid the electricity would be out for a while. Her account manager suggested that she email the draft presentation to her before the battery was depleted. She then hopped in a cab bringing her laptop, a thumb drive and a hot pizza and they worked together for a few hours to finish the presentation. The next day, the electricity was restored and our client delivered a great presentation. I tell you this story because it is important for you to know that our entire organization is hard-wired to provide extraordinary service to our clients, and when you work with us, you can expect the same.
The frame not only ensures that the point is clear, but as you can see in the above example, it connects the story back to the client. Using the frame takes a bit of practice, but I think you will find the investment worth it.