Everyone loves a good story. Stories are engaging and often require investment, emotional or otherwise. In terms of sales presentation success, a few well-told stories are more likely to resonate long after your slide deck has disappeared from their radar. If you link your stories to your presentation sales message, there’s a good chance that will be remembered too.
Here are 6 story telling techniques that will make your sales presentations better:
Story Telling Technique #1 Chronological
Chronological story telling is probably the first technique that comes to mind for most people. It’s the classic narrative. How did we get here? Where do we go next? While there is room for chronological story telling in sales presentations, you should remember to tread carefully.
Beware the back-story. Gripping sales pitches do not begin with a brief history of your company. Too many sales presentations are inward looking and slip into audience education territory. To educate is not the same as to persuade.
Aim to be outward looking. Make your sales presentation more about you can do for your client and less about you in general. Chronological story telling can help you illustrate big market trends and give weight to your key reasons to buy.
Story Telling Technique #2 Before and After
Not all stories are complex. In fact, sometimes the simplest of stories can be the most powerful. Sales professionals often insist on overcomplicating their messages in a bid to appear more serious and important. Never apologise for portraying something in the simplest way possible.
Before and after story telling works particularly well delivered visually. Two lines on the same graph or a strong set of before and after images can allow an otherwise forgettable case study to leave a lasting impact.
Story Telling Technique #3 Quotations
Using quotations in sales presentation is one of the oldest strategy tricks in the book. A good useable quote should be from somebody with considerable clout; a key name in your industry. Quotations can be useful because they give you “evidence” and usually support what it is you’re trying to sell. The trick is to use them sparingly. One good quote is more powerful than 10 mediocre comments.
Story Telling Technique #4 Metaphor
Using an extended metaphor to tell your story can give the audience a familiar structure to follow. This is especially useful if what you’re selling takes your client out of their typical comfort zone and into new territory.
Story Telling Technique #5 Cause and Effect
Pain points can be incredibly persuasive sales tool. You can use Cause and Effect story telling to illustrate how a negative situation occurred in another industry. Be sure to explain how your product or service would ensure that your audience do not repeat the mistakes of others.
Story Telling Technique #6 Personal Anecdote
Making your topic personal and showing the audience how you relate to your narrative is critical to sales presentation success. It is important to remember that people buy from people. Engaging personal anecdotes will bring people to your point of view and encourage them to share your ideas and, hopefully, buy from you.