Course Outcomes

This storytelling course for salespeople will:

  • Explain the value of stories in sales.
  • Suggest methods for choosing stories.
  • Explain the science behind stories as a sales tool.
  • Offer guidance for creating purposeful plots.
  • Help participants develop interesting and relevant characters.
  • Suggest tactics for improving delivery.

Course Overview

A well-told story can simplify the complicated, add color to a data point, and sway buyers in ways no hype or traditional pitch ever can. This storytelling course is designed specifically for salespeople who wish to leverage the power of stories when meeting with clients and prospects. Through a series of practical exercises, group members will discuss the elements that make a story successful. Furthermore, they will learn how to take advantage of the brain’s reaction to stories, how to select a plot structure, how to use a story to answer a customer’s concern, and how to leverage language to flesh out a narrative and build compelling, believable characters.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Articulate the value of “story selling.”
  • Identify presentations and conversations they can enhance with stories.
  • Explain how a great story looks and sounds.
  • Describe the sticky nature of stories and how the brain reacts to stories versus data.
  • Work with seven basic plots.
  • Target an audience, isolate a benefit, and craft an interest statement.
  • Build robust characters and settings.
  • Use their voices and bodies to enhance delivery.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

When and Why Use Stories: The Value of Tales for Sales

This program kicks off with a discussion about stories and their role in the sales process.  Participants will learn how stories can make emotional connections, help to simplify complex ideas, illustrate possibilities, reinforce relationships, and influence a buyer’s behavior.

Good Story, Bad Story: Differentiating Great from Ghastly

A bad cook can ruin the best ingredients.  Likewise, a skilled chef can take mediocre “fixin’s” and transform them into a gourmet treat.  During this workshop segment, we will look at the components of a good story and the traits most exceptional storytellers share.  Next, we will identify the flaws poor stories have in common and the pitfalls into which mediocre storytellers fall.

Grey Matter Matters: Your Brain on Stories

Salespeople who give presentations that offer bullet point after bullet point activate Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area in their audience members’ brains.  When this happens, language processing systems kick in, and people connect words with meaning. That’s it. A message is understood, and game over.

When salespeople use stories, however, they can engage the parts of the brain data doesn’t reach.  This course component provides a brief overview of the science behind storytelling and why salespeople can’t afford to ignore stories as a tool for connecting with prospects and customers.

Exploring Options: Understanding Classic Plot Structures

In this part of the workshop, we will examine seven plots as outlined in The Seven Basic Plots, by Christopher Booker.  Next, participants will consider a variety of well-known stories and determine which of the seven plots each follows.  Following that exercise, group members will create a story that adheres to one of the seven options.

Targeting Tales: Selecting an Audience and Enticing Them

In sales, a story for a story’s sake equals a waste of time.  In this segment, we will identify customer pain points and create several micro-stories that follow the hero-goal-problem-headline format. Once the group is comfortable with the process, we will choose a typical business presentation and begin developing two- and three-minute narratives to enhance various points.

The Piano Sounds Like a Carnival: Building Scenes

Good storytellers use verbal illustrations to help people visualize what they describe. Great storytellers also engage their audiences with their vivid descriptions of smells, sounds, tastes, touch, and movement.  In this part of the workshop, participants will practice enhancing their stories with robust descriptions of people, places, emotions, and events.

Special Delivery: Stage Tricks for Better Storytelling

In storytelling, a great narrative is only half the equation.  This part of the course discusses delivery techniques.  Through a series of exercises, participants will learn to leverage their bodies and voices when telling their tales.

By the end of this course, participants should know how to develop stories to achieve a variety of sales objectives, from highlighting a product’s benefit to cautioning a customer from making the wrong choice.