Ways to Break the Sales Stereotype: Way 5 – Know Your Story and Tell It!


Your prospect knows that you are a salesperson. But what is your story?  Why do you work here?  What are the themes and events in your life that have brought you to this company?  Why do you want to spend a third or more of your life working at this company, selling this product or service, providing these benefits to your prospects and customers?

I’m surprised at how few salespeople know and tell their own story. As stated in my last post, they prefer to just hand over a business card.  People authentically connect through story.  Prospects want to know that there is a reason, other than a commission plan, that you are invested in your company.

One of the greatest sales minds of our generation, Mike Bosworth, has recognized this.  His life’s work has been about helping improve the lives of salespeople.  In the early 80’s Mike noticed that a typical salesforce adhered to the 80/20 rule.  Essentially 20% of the salesforce was responsible for the high performance of bringing in 80% of the revenue.  Mike wanted to help the bottom 80% perform like the top 20%.  He new that authentic connection was essential, but the general consensus was that this connection wasn’t teachable.  So Mike created a diagnostic needs-development framework in his book Solution Selling.  Many companies implemented it and garnered positive revenue results.

Then Mike noticed that their was a misalignment between sales and marketing and he addressed that in his next effort which was Customer Centric Selling.  CCS continues to be a world class sales methodology for many major corporations all over the world.  It consistently generates positive results for companies that implement it.

But the results still weren’t good enough.  Mike realized that NO MATTER WHAT YOUR SALES PROCESS IS – YOU CANNOT EXECUTE IT SUCCESSFULLY UNLESS YOU HAVE AN AUTHENTIC CONNECTION WITH A PROSPECT.  So, he and his partner, Ben Zoldan went on a journey to find some answers in the field of Neuroscience.  They talked with  people outside of sales like, detectives, storytellers, therapists, and cognitive scientists.  They discovered that that there was a way to teach connectedness.  And this way was through Story.  He and Ben created StoryLeaders.  And in this effort they are already seeing very positive results.

Steve Bosworth from Bosworth-Kenney Selling says that the effective combination of a strong sales process and the ability to authentically connect drives exceptional sales performance.  I agree.

Try this:

What were you passionate about in high school?  What are the common themes between your passion then, and what you do now?  What about your product, service, or company really excites you?  What in your role is your favorite activity?  What about each place you have worked attracted you?  What have been your low points in your career?  How did you overcome them to be where you are today?

The answers to these questions will give you clues to your story.  And once you figure it out, go out there and tell it!

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6 Responses to Ways to Break the Sales Stereotype: Way 5 – Know Your Story and Tell It!

  1. One of my favorite questions in an interview is to ask the person “what is not on your resume that you really want to tell me about”. I am looking for personality, creativity, passion in their response (to your point Mr. Greg – what is their story).

  2. Mark Dillard says:

    Well done. Being able to articulate one’s story in a meaningful way is not only a critical component in establishing a connection with others, but also a cornerstone for leadership effectiveness. “I want someone with passion” is a common refrain I hear from senior executives and recruiters when asked about what they look for in potential candidates as well. Check out readings from Bill George on Authentic Leadership for some more good stuff on this area.

  3. Useful blog website, keep me personally through searching it, I am seriously interested to find out another recommendation of it.

  4. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  5. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

  6. silver price says:

    Story Leaders was founded on the belief that there is a better way to help salespeople thrive. Through the years, only a small percentage of salespeople have been able to forge the connections that influence and inspire people to change. We once thought selling to be a problem-solving process based on the paradigm that decision-making is logical and rational. Story is in our DNANew science has significantly reshaped our understanding of how humans decide to change, how we decide to trust, how we allow ourselves to be influenced by others, how we take “leaps of faith” to try new things, and how we buy. We now have a greater understanding of how people are influenced by other people to change. We’ve drawn upon our own experiences and researched a wide range of disciplines including neuroscience, psychology, sociology and others, to create the Story Leaders framework. Through our workshops and executive coaching, we help people learn how to use the powers of story and empathic listening to connect with, inspire, and influence change in others.

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