What makes a salesperson great? Is it charisma?
Maybe. An intimate knowledge of the product they’re selling? In part. There are a number of potential factors that can set that person apart. However, there’s one thing that any successful salesperson absolutely must have: the ability to tell a good story.
Using Story Structure
Sales is all about storytelling. Maybe you don’t begin with, “Once upon a time.” Still, in order to convince a buyer that they need your product, you show them scenarios. And those scenarios should follow this basic story structure based on three main acts:
- You start with a main character:
- In this case, the main character is your potential customer: the hero of the story.
- Then you describe the setting: What’s their world like? Here, they can fill in some of the details themselves.
- Then, you come to a problem: Something they can’t do the way they’d like, something that’s difficult, something that’s just plain missing.
- You weave the scenario of what things are like currently, without your product, to help them understand what they’re lacking.
- Then, in the second act, you escalate things:
- You bring in a villain. Maybe not an actual, physical person, but some events or circumstances, which would have the potential to make things even more difficult.
- You show the potential customer what would happen if they needed your product in an emergency and didn’t have it.
- Then, you lead into the third act, and weave another scenario:
- What will life be like for them once they DO have your product?
- How will it help them defeat the “villain”?
- How will it make life better or easier and help them to avoid the circumstances in Act 2?
- You show them what you can do, in order for them to live happily ever after.
B2B Sales Tools
If you’ll notice, in the third act, you don’t just tell the potential customer about your product, you show them. The best way to tell a good story is with visuals. This is why PowerPoint has become so popular in presentations. It lets you illustrate the points you’re making with images, to drive them home and cement them in the audience’s minds. But, while projected images are all well and good, you can go a step further by using actual, physical samples to help you weave your story.
By creating B2B sales tools, you can provide first person, hands-on illustrations of the events as they unfold. Suddenly, your potential customer isn’t just listening to your story, they’re participating in it. You provide them with samples of your products to look at themselves and experience what the products can do and what makes them unique. You can even provide them with other types of physical visuals, props to help you make other points throughout the first two acts, before your product comes along. Having a few simple props and samples there, and ready to be used for demonstration, can enhance your story enormously in order to really get (and keep) potential customers engaged in what you’re saying.
Everyone loves a good story, which is why the best salesperson is the one who can truly deliver it. After all, you already know why your product will be good or helpful to your potential customers. But you need to be able to make them see it. That’s why the key to any B2B sales presentation is using quality physical B2B sales tools and samples to make your story come alive.