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Tell a story to close more sales

Submitted by Dominick N. Biangone on Thu, 09/22/2016 - 3:39pm

Have you ever wondered why your current sales presentation or pitch doesn't work? Is it possible it's failing because you are leading with facts? The truth is that facts rarely sell a prospect today. That doesn't mean facts aren't important. It just means they have their proper time and place.

So for your next presentation don't rely on facts and statistics alone. Instead, try persuading your prospects by telling a story. Of course, you still need to explain features and benefits, but only to give support to your story.

Storytelling is truly the essence of the "soft sell" method of salesmanship. This is where you use subtle persuasion in a non-aggressive nature. This doesn't mean you are passive; rather, this technique is designed to push a product or service without coming off as pushy.

I laugh every time I watch the 1992 classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross. Alec Baldwin arrives on a stormy night at an office full of NYC real estate salesmen, mainly played by Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, and Ed Harris. He proceeds to inform them that at the end of the week all but the top two will be fired. He then tries to motivate them, negatively I might add, by delivering a speech on how to close more deals. The crux of his tirade is the theme "ABC," which stands for "Always Be Closing." He wants them to push the customer harder, insisting this "hard sell" method is the only way to succeed.

Now, that may have worked in 1992, but it certainly doesn't work in today's society. When a salesperson begins a presentation with a list of bullet points on how great their offering is it only frustrates the prospect or audience, gives them zero urgency to get involved, and actually pushes the salesperson into a lower status. That's because a consumer immediately feels the salesperson's neediness, and neediness kills deals.

There is actually a scientific reason for this, and it has to do with neuroscience of the brain, in particular how the brain stem, "your croc brain" processes information. When we are first approached by another person our brain automatically evokes fear. That's right, our fight or flight response is triggered. So if you want your information to get past that first neuro response and to the part of the brain that tells us everything is ok, you need to start with a narrative.

Smart companies and sales reps know that a good story captivates and disarms an audience. It makes them think, it also makes them feel emotion, and that's what inspires and motivates them. Storytelling in business helps create a more trusting and productive relationship with any prospective audience.

This is important to remember because stories get your prospects' attention, makes you stand out, and spreads your message. Just make your message fast, novel, visual, and have a narrative that unfolds without the audience guessing the end.

Stories have been a primary driver of change throughout the history of man, so make your next presentation a story, and increase your chances of closing that sale.

Dominick N. Biangone is a business strategist, CEO of Confident Endeavors, and a member of the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants. As a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of business leadership experience in Strategy, Marketing, Sales, and Operations, he has expert knowledge and skills in all facets of the business life cycle, and leads every project personally. Contact him via email at or call (843) 384-4846. For additional information please visit