A well-crafted story gives power to your ideas and recommendations like nothing else can.It can open people’s minds to new ways of thinking. It connects them with your solution on an emotional level. And it can make your idea more memorable, encouraging people to share it with others.
In other words, your ideas start to sell themselves.
A story that belongs in every salesperson’s toolbox? The "what if" story.
Also known as a day-in-the-life story, a what if story contrasts how much better life would be for your listeners if your recommended solution were already in place, or your idea already a reality.
Unlike other types of stories or anecdotes, a what if story hasn’t happened yet.
Its power comes from how accurately you’re able to describe the problems your customer is experiencing now—and then how well you can imagine a future where those problems are overcome.
People should come away from your story thinking, “This person really gets me and what I’m up against. I can see this solution working.”
How do you build an effective "what if" story?Putting your idea into a what if story format is a true test of how tangible and attractive it will be to your listeners.
If you’re struggling to translate an idea into a what if story, take a step back to rethink it or refine it before presenting.
1. Create a hero for your story.Your goal is to portray your hero’s quest (i.e., your customer’s challenge or goal) in such a way that your customer deeply feels the dilemma and embraces it as their own.
Your customer’s ability to identify with your hero is what gives your story emotional weight, making it more memorable—and more persuasive—than a series of facts on a slide.
Describe your hero well enough for listeners to form a mental picture of him or her. Include details like job title, length of time on the job and, most importantly, what their needs and goals are.
Your hero can either be a real person, disguised if necessary, or a composite of several people.
Keep in mind that specific demographic information is much less important than what the person cares about, or what motivates or challenges them.
2. Put your hero in the thick of things.Once you’ve created your hero, place them in the thick of the same problems your customer is facing.
Be careful not to make assumptions about what your customer’s problems are. Do your discovery homework, because if you don’t know or can’t identify the real problems, your story won’t resonate.
3. Give your hero a brighter future.Paint a future where your hero reaps the benefits that your proposed solution brings.
That might be improved team productivity, projects managed with less stress, new customers coming on board, better work-life balance, increased product margins, or the successful launch of new software—whatever you’ve discovered is most important to your customer.
Learn how to sell with storytelling.Stories are powerful motivators.
More than any sales methodology or slide deck, a strong narrative helps sales teams establish credibility with customers, build momentum, and get to a decision faster.
Through 30 years of research and applied practice, Mandel has created simple, yet effective storytelling frameworks that any professional can use.
Using these easy-to-apply tools, we train sales teams to sell with storytelling—to build narratives that help customers better connect with you and your recommendations.
Learn how Hewlett Packard Enterprise uses Mandel's methods to drive sales results.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
Sales professionals need a mix of soft skills to be successful. While rapport building is often considered the top sales skill, listening is the most critical skill for closing sales, and building long-term client relationships.
Learn 3 crucial tips to closing sales, and why listening is the top sales skill of 2021.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
Read this week's blog to learn the secret ingredient to Nobel Laureate success. (Hint: It’s not just that they're smart!)
What inspires and motivates people to action? Here’s a hint: it’s not a PowerPoint deck filled with data points and analytics. Learning how to share a powerful story can positively influence others and help your ideas become memorable. Perhaps you need to promote a new idea or close that crucial sale. Learn how some of the most successful business ventures today got their start from sharing a powerful story and how you can make your own narrative work for you.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
Memory almost full. Imagine that warning flashing brightly on the forehead of every audience member. A successful presentation isn’t just about the speaker’s dynamic energy or their confident manner in front of an audience. Without compelling, easy to follow content, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are in the spotlight. You and your topic will quickly be forgotten. So how do you ensure lasting, memorable impact? Learn how to be remembered by leveraging the ancient, globally relevant, and scientifically proven rule of three to focus your content, motivate your listeners, and make your executive presence shine.
- 7 Tips for Leading Zoom Panel Discussions
- Why Listening Is Key to Onboarding New Hires—Especially If They’re Virtual
- Welcome to the Future of Sales (Hint: It’s Virtual)
- Listen Closely: Your Company Culture Depends On It
- How to Deliver Impactful, Engaging Hybrid Meetings
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!