“The better you can show that you understand the problem, the better those potential clients think you have the solution. ” – John Livesay in today’s Tip 310
What is your best story?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from John Livesay. John is a keynote speaker and the author of Better Selling Through Storytelling. Here he is with today’s tip:
John Livesay: The old way of selling is to just push out a bunch of information and hope some of it sticks. That no longer works, especially if you’re the kind of company that has to present in person against two other finalists. This is everything from Lawyers to PR Firms, to Ad Agencies, to Architects, Executive Search Firms, all kinds of industries. Get it down to the final three and they’re invited to come in and give a one-hour presentation, pitch, interview, whatever you want to call it, and the wrong way of doing it is just to talk about yourself, but information. Here’s how long we’ve been in business. The new way is to tell a story. Whoever tells the best story is going to win the sale. When I was working with an architecture firm, they would always hope that whoever had the best designs would win the business. One of their clients told them, we’re going to hire the people we like the most because we have to work with you for five years. That’s when they realized that they needed some help in their selling, that the soft skills really made them strong. Soft skills are storytelling, competence, empathy, and listening. So if you really want to up your likability factor, you want to show empathy for the people whose problem you’re solving. The better you can show that you understand the problem, the better those potential clients think you have the solution. So the mistakes people make besides pushing out a bunch of information, include a really soft opening like, “Hi, thanks for this opportunity. We’re excited to be here.” That’s a horrible opening. Nobody cares that you’re excited. A better opening describes a specific problem that you understand and how you’re going to solve it and talk about that in the next 60 minutes. A bad closing sounds like “Well, that’s all we got. Any questions?” A good closing is a summary of everything that you’ve covered that takes them on the journey of where they are now and where you want to take them and invite them to be with you on the next steps and invite them to take the next steps. You want to think about what do I want the audience to think, feel and do after my presentation. So reverse engineer your closing and your opening before you start on what the content is going to be in the middle. And then when you get to your team slide, a lot of people just tell boring information about how long they’ve worked at the company. This is where you need to tell a good story, where you pull people in on what motivated you to become an architect or a lawyer or whatever your specialty is, because that’s what makes you memorable. A lot of people say, “Oh well you hope to go last if it’s between us and two other firms”, but we can’t control that. Well, what you can control is the ability to tell a good story. So even if you’re first, you’ll be memorable. So once you tell a story of who you are and something that people can remember about you personally, then you want to turn your boring case studies into a story as well. And a good story takes people on a journey. You paint the picture of where the client was two or three years ago, what problems they had, how you solve them, and what is their life like now after solving them. So remember, whoever tells the best story is going to get the sale, and it’s going to make you magnetic and memorable.