Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Using Stories for Sales Engagement - What Great Salespeople Do!

Posted by Mark Gibson on Thu, Dec 27, 2012

Mike Bosworth is a sales trainer and mentor for tens of thousands of B2B salespeople Worldwide through his seminars, consulting, and his books, "Solution Selling", "Customer-centric Selling" and now "What Great Salespeople Do".

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When Mike stated recently that the old stuff isn't working any more and moved away from these generally accepted sales process models to start an entirely new business to teach salespeople to tell stories, I took note and I bought his new book, What Great Salespeople Do.
 
One astonishing statistic published in the book reveals the unfortunate truth in the sales profession and that is, now just 13% of salespeople are responsible for 87% of the revenue (*Sales Benchmark Index). This led Mike to the realization that despite decades of conventional sales training, the core group of salespeople had not improved their performance. That is, decades of sales training made the best salespeople better, but the bottom 80% did not improve. On closer examination of the 13% who were selling 87% of the business in his own organization, Mike found that they all had the ability to forge real emotional connections with their customers.

What makes great salespeople great?

The answer to this question is not masterful use of the CRM system, or strict adherance to the sales process model, or the number of connects per day or the ability to ask questions. These are table stakes in the old process oriented, logical paradigm for sales professionals.

The salespeople who are successful today are able to forge strong emotional connections with buyers through either a natural or learned ability to quickly create rapport, listen empathically and emotionally connect with buyers through story.

Why Story? 

We love listening to stories. Humans have been telling stories and have been enthralled by the power of stories since civilization began. 
Stories are trance inducing and are the most powerful way of delivering information. Stories link one persons heart with another. Values, beliefs and norms become intertwined. Tell a story and people will be more receptive to your ideas.

Telling a personal story at the outset of a meeting can be extremely effective in creating rapport and trust... but who reading this article today starts a meeting with a new prospect with a personal story? The answer to this question in a recent Your PowerPoint Sucks - Webinar for The Sales Association was only about 3 in 10 people and I was surprised this number was so high... perhaps this was a non-typical audience.

The Gift of the Gab - Not Enough

I recall people saying I had the gift of the gab early in my professional career, which started in engineering - and that I would be good in sales. I suspect this is how many young people find their way into the profession. They have a self confidence and can project that confidence through an ability to articulate their  thoughts and people suggest they could be successful in sales. But that does not translate into success in selling today.

Just because you are a good talker does not make you a good listener and in fact millions of salepeople struggle with learning to listen. I had been selling for 20 years and had been very successful and one day my wife said to me "your problem is that you don't have empathy." I think she was referring to my selling style, but it could have been more personal.

In any case this triggered a change and it began a search for emotional connection, commencing with a series of counselling visits with a psychotherapist, continued through the complete Tony Robbins program, followed by NLP Practitioner certification and numerous ongoing workshops and certifications.

I have learned, observed, practiced and now I know what it takes to develop rapport and listen empathicaly and the affect on the physiology of humans when we suspend our instinctive flight/fight mechanism and engage emotionally with another human being. When we decide to trust another human being, we open the door to deep emotional connection and the possibility of having our stories listenened to.

What Great SalesPeople Do - Workshop

When Mike asked me if I would help promote his forthoming workshop in San Diego on 8-10 January 2013, I agreed immediately. Whereas it took me years and tens of thousands of dollars to figure all of this stuff out, the learning around forming emotional connection and storytelling is condensed into his 2.5 day What Great Salespeople Do - Workshop. 

Cost: $1,750.00/person
Location:   Courtyard Marriott®
717 South Highway 101
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Ph: 858 792-8200
www. marriott.com/sansb

Workshop Agenda 

Phase 1 – Participants will learn the new science behind how humans act: how we decide to trust, decide to change, how we allow ourselves to be influenced by some people and not by others, and how we decide to buy or not buy. Also, in phase I, attendees will learn the science behind the powerful effects of story on the human mind.  

Phase II – Participants will learn how to build an inventory of stories, to be used in their sales cycles, using the WGSD card system, a universal story framework and a storyboard. The output of phase II will be a set of stories that follow this narrative form, to include: The Who Am I story, The Who I Represent story, Lesson Learned stories and Who I've Helped stories.  

Phase III – Participants will gain the practice necessary to tell their stories authentically and passionately to their peers and will receive immediate feedback on their content and telling skills.  

Phase IV – Participants will learn to be ‘emotional detectives.’ They will be immersed in an empathic listening model designed to help them learn to tend and fully ‘get’ the stories of their customers and prospects.

Phase V – Participants will apply their storytelling and story listening skills to real life professional situations. Attendees will leave the workshop with the ability to use Storytelling and Story Tending as a way to foster collaborative, reciprocal conversations, which result in the trust necessary to influence change.

To find out more or register for this program, contact Mike Bosworth Leadership
Email 
mtbent@gmail.com
Phone 858 350-5570

 

Topics: mike bosworth, storytelling, rapport and emapthy

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