Over the past few years the concept of story telling has become a major focus in my life. As we traveled around the world with our family, the stories we created we amazing. The truth is, the story itself can be even more powerful than the actual experience. Over the past few weeks the concept of storytelling has been front and center in a book that was recommended to me titled 'What Great Salespeople Do" by Michael Bosworth and a recent event that I attended where the speaker, Maury Rogow, focus on the art of storytelling. Both the book and Maury's talk brought some additional clarity to my thinking of business development and the key role that the middle dot brings to our lives.
For those of you who have not followed my journey recently, I've just launched a new business called 5 Dots, an outsourced business development company. At the core of the company is a methodology that includes 5 steps, or the 5 Dots. The dots are Relationship Development, Target Market, Storytelling, Strategic Alliances and Relationship Management. At the center of the strategy is the art of storytelling. At this point of development of the 5 Dots, I believe that Storytelling is probably the most critical element of the strategy. You can learn to develop relationships and target your market clearly, but without the right story, a story that is compelling, concise and consistent, your strategic alliances won't be able to help you and you won't need to manage many relationships. On the other hand, if you can nail the story and engage people in an exciting way, you can transform your world.
So, what are the components of a great story? In Maury's recent presentation he used an acronym of STUFF. He says that stories need to Sexy, Touching, Unique, Funny and include Fear. Maury also had 9 keys to a successful story:
Know your audience
Disrupt their thinking
Sell the hole, not the drill
Focus on the experience
Raise the stakes
Keep it short and shareable
Maintain the mystery
Everyone loves an underdog
Keep it relate-able
In Bosworth's book, What Great Salespeople Do, he has four main elements of a story. They include the Setting, the Complication, the Turning Point and the Resolution. Bosworth outlines how to build stories from scratch and to create the arc. From Maury's presentation and reading this book I'm realizing that I've been telling stories for years, this is how I sell. When I get away from stories and start to focus too much on "selling" I usually get into trouble. It has often been said that people buy from people that they know and trust. Combine good storytelling with a positive attitude and not being attached to the outcome, where you're just building relationships, and I believe you'll achieve better results. In the end, that's what creates a great sales environment.
So, the next time you want to plan a sales call, don't focus so much on the details of the product you're selling or the current challenges you are facing in your day. I would suggest that you focus on a great story, one that will impart the message you want to deliver to the audience you're talking to. A great story is what makes us sit up and want to listen. Become a great storyteller and see how it changes your relationships.