Storytelling in sales helps Funding Pros capture the attention and resonate with customers as well as humanize transactions between us.
Effective storytelling does this by inducing an emotional response in the listener.
A great story, well placed in the Sales Process, will induce three key biochemicals in the prospect to elicit the most receptive emotional response:
Cortisol– is the stress hormone released in response to a perceived threat.
It causes our fight or flight reaction, especially if there is a perceived danger, risk and potential reward.
Cortisol sharpens your focus and dials in your attention to whatever is causing this emotional tension. It is valuable to the storyteller, because it grabs attention and cuts away distraction.
Oxytocin– is the ultimate empathy hormone. In many scientific circles it is also known as the “love hormone.”
It is released when we are bonding with others that we like or love. It is strongest in new mothers directly following birth, and will even generate a protective response if there is enough connection there. This hormone, unlike cortisol, feels good.
Cortisol might hook us into the story, its oxytocin that keeps us there. It is very valuable to the storyteller because, as long as the story has at least one character we can identify with, we will empathize and bond with this character, thus bond to the story, and the one telling it.
Dopamine– is one of the most important neurotransmitters, which releases the pleasurable feelings of satisfaction as part of the brain’s reward system.
Now that we feel bonded to the character in the story, and we subconsciously feel our fate is intertwined with theirs, if there is a positive resolution to the story, we will feel satisfied and rewarded as if we arrived at the positive outcome ourselves.
This is extremely valuable to the storyteller because he has satisfied us and shifted the audience into an emotional state of optimism charged to take action (and overcome risks) on their own perceived rewards/outcomes.
So what’s a great sales story look like?
In over a decade of research, SBI has identified these 5 Key Elements to an effective Sales Story:
The Hero – the main character with whom the prospect can relate to. The Hero should share some traits with the prospect and must find himself/herself in situations that are similar or are metaphors for what the prospect regularly experiences.
The Stimulus – something that pushes the Hero towards solving their own problem or changing the situation for the better. This could be likened to your product or the sales process you’re in right now.
Tension or Conflict – problems, struggles, trials and dangers the Hero needs to overcome.
A Crossroad – the moment of decision where the Hero needs to choose a path to bring him to the solution. In the sales process when you’re using a case study story or the prospect’s situation, this portion is when the client makes the purchase.
The Moral of the Story – where the hero’s problem is solved by the solution he or she found.
So how would you put this all together to win the sale?