Tell and sell: why stories help you build trust and sell more


Are you sitting comfortably? Then let Sales Confidence show you how being a better storyteller can help you be a better salesperson. Once upon a time…

Sales is all about communication. You can’t sell if it’s just you talking. You need to start a conversation, gain your prospect’s trust and build a relationship. To do this, you need to grab their attention from the outset, so they don’t switch off. You have to make them want to hear more from you.

The most effective way to achieve this? — tell them a good story. Sharing stories is one of the most effective ways to get your message across. Humans have been telling stories since the invention of language. Stories help us connect, remember and stir up an emotional response.

Here are three tips on how to use stories next time you sell:

1 — Employ the Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey is a storytelling device that has been used for thousands of years. You have read it and seen it on film, even if you don’t realise it, from The Bible to Shakespeare to Star Wars.

Briefly, in these stories, the Hero goes on a quest to improve their life in some way. During the journey, they will go through a transformation of some kind, face adversity that they will have to overcome, possibly by making up for something bad they did in their past. Eventually, through dedication and help from others, they will achieve their goal and feel the massive impact on their life.

What does that have to do with sales? Try weaving a Hero’s Journey story into your sales conversations. See how effective it is. But, remember to make your customer the hero, not you.

Your prospect is facing big problems, but you can help them on their quest to solve them. Your product is what helps them get to the promised land on the other side. But your prospect is the one with the power.

2 — Ask questions

You can’t just recite a story on your sales call. Even if your story is fantastic, your prospect may switch off temporarily, or they may not see the link between themselves and the story.

Make sure you regularly stop to check the prospect is still with you. You can ask them questions which will get them thinking, emphasising the magnitude of the problems they face, as well as the massive impact that solving them (with your product) would make to their life. This also helps you build trust, into the bargain.

3 — Always go for impact

Use as many devices as you need to emphasise the impact of your story. Use imagery and descriptive words to paint a picture in your prospect’s mind. Talk with power words that stir up emotion.

Humour is great for making your story more memorable. If you can make your prospect laugh, you’ve got them on the hook.

Another device for increased impact is tension. Build your story to a crescendo; get your prospect invested in the outcome. Show them that they are at a crossroads, but only you can help them choose the right path.

Over to you

…and they all lived happily ever after.

Now, we want to know what you think.

What are your tips for storytelling in sales?

What stories do you tell your prospects and customers to show them your value?

Let the Sales Confidence community know with a comment below.

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