Competing with AI Using Storytelling… There is Only One Winner.

What 4 iconic words will have your audience leaning in? …. Once upon a time.

Well, perhaps not those exact 4 words, but how many of us share stories with our prospects or clients? Stories to highlight an insight, expose a gap, or draw a parallel to
situations that ended positively or negatively.In the past few decades, neuroscientists have learned more about emotion and its role in persuasion. According to molecular biologist John Medina, emotionally arousing events using words, pictures or objects that trigger fear, joy, hope and surprise tend to be better remembered than neutral events.

This is also supported by the loss aversion theory, people are twice as likely to avoid pain than they are to realize gain, hence the focus on problem centric messaging.  
As salespeople, the first commitment we must gain is for our prospects to acknowledge their challenge. How can we do this using storytelling? 

Storytelling is an underutilized, yet very effective tool that allows us to be different, stand out in the AI driven, look alike, sound like world of sales.   The limbic part of the
brain, responsible for decision making, building trust and loyalty is activated through emotion, it has no concept for language. Yet many of us continue to sell facts, stats,
and specs. Igniting the data-driven neo-cortex part of the brain, that justifies and rationalizes our decision.

Which area does your message align to?
If you are looking to connect, disarm and engage on a different level, our focus should be on the limbic, reptilian brain.  Let’s examine this further.
Princeton’s neuroscientist, Uri Hasson looked at images of brain patterns of people who are engaged in conversation. He discovered a specific type of dialogue resulted in “neural coupling” where scans show similar patterns of activity in the same region of both the speaker and the listener's brain. Hasson concluded that an emotional story is the only kind of dialogue that triggers this kind of “mind-meld” between two brains.

How can we use this superpower as salespeople? Do we want to create a sense of urgency? Empathy for their situation? Highlight risk due to inactivity, we can do all this
through storytelling, however, we have to be intentional.56% of B2B deals end in indecision, with the under-pinning emotion of fear. Can we loosen their grip
through storytelling? elicit emotion that invites them to feel that the discomfort of change is worth it to get to "happily every after".

‍3 Points to Consider when using storytelling?
1) When creating a story we need to work backwards and ask ourselves, what do we want our audience to KFD? Know, Feel and Do? Now, what stories do we need to tell to accomplish this? Furthermore, what emotions do we have to isolate to elicit these emotions? Capturing all senses, can we invite our buyers to see themselves in our
story? moreover in a particular character. Can you create imagery to set the stage, like telling a good joke that takes practice? Can we create a hook, how can we ignite their curiosity and have them lean in more?

2) If we are telling a “solution story” with a happy ending, we want to paint a before and after picture. Highlight a similar client who was in a situation like theirs, it is important to highlight the emotional impact in the before state, lets them know that they are not alone. If they have not fully anchored themselves to the problem this will help activate their emotions. Feelings such as overwhelm, frustration, demotivated, loss etc. Before we transition to the future state, we have to cross the bridge. The bridge is where we worked with them, what solution did you implement? How did you help them? This is the turning point. Remember they are still the hero, you only helped them get to the top.

3) Finally, the Future state and a new way forward. How were your clients feeling after the fact? Again, the emotional impact here, empowered, liberated, and confident, they should feel excited and want to move forward knowing the desired outcomes are not far behind. If delivered in an intentional, well-timed, emotional manner your prospect will want to know more about “how” you were able to help others like them. Because you intrigued them with emotion first, the tables are turned. They want to know how can you do the same for them.

As Matthew McConaughey says, Greenlight, we can now share our value proposition, and what we do. We lead to it, not with it.

How can you operationalize this?
As a team, can you segment various stages of the buyer’s journey? where there is friction, decrease in deal velocity? or stalled deals. What stories can you create to
proactively get in front of these situations? Can you practice as a group? deliver the story, with inflection, intonation pausing? Record yourselves to see what your client will experience, are you conveying the emotion in an intended way? Where will you add stories in your selling motions? Like a stand-up comedian, practice timing, pausing and getting the laugh.

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

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