Are You a Storyteller or a Salesman?

storytellingWe are all selling something.

Even if you’re not going door-to-door soliciting customers, you’re still trying to influence the opinions or actions of others. You might be selling yourself. In an attempt to earn a promotion or create a new opportunity you have to convince someone to buy what you’re selling. Or, in this case, you need them to buy into who you are and what you have to offer.

No matter the product, when it comes to selling, you have two options for closing the deal; be a storyteller or be a salesman.

 

Storytelling is an Essential Skill

Humans have communicated via story since the beginning of time. Countless stories have been told on cave walls and around the fire. Now we tell stories at warp speed online, using email and social media. As Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, points out; “we live in stories all day long…stories are how we learn and think”

Gottschall goes on to say that; “Storytelling is a key competence because it’s the most powerful method we know of riveting the attention of others and of connecting with them emotionally.” So, when we are consumed by a story we let our guard down and connect with the storyteller.

And, when we sell, that’s exactly what we’re going for – connection.

 

Nobody Likes a Salesman

Well, no one likes the perception of salesman – slimy, sleazy and scammy. When you’re trying to earn trust and build relationships, none of those attributes will work in your favor.

The game has changed for the salesman. There was a time when they help the upper hand. The salesman had knowledge that the customer didn’t. These days, thanks in part to the internet, the customer is empowered with knowledge, pricing, and facts. They don’t have to rely on the word of the salesman.

 

Drop the Pitch, Tell a Story

The trick to selling is doing it without anyone noticing – think of it as selling without selling.

The salesman talks fast, makes lofty promises, and never takes no for an answer.

On the other hand, the storyteller asks meaningful questions, builds relationships and earns trust.

To get ahead, take a page from the storyteller’s playbook and begin crafting your story.

 

What’s Your Story?

Whether it’s your bio, your Twitter handle, a section on your company’s website, or a proposal to a new client you have to create a concise narrative to engage others.

That narrative should be constructed around who you are, how you got here, what you can do, and why it matters.

It’s a process that will allow you to construct you to create a community, a loyal following and a platform for selling yourself.

Begin by being honest, transparent and genuine with potential clients. Stop telling them what you think they want and ask them what they need. Actually listen to what they say, and over deliver. Commit to understanding the unique needs and perspectives of your clients.

If you commit to this process you won’t have to be a salesman, your story and your clients will do the selling for you.

What’s your story?

About Joe Vennare

Joe is the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete where he writes, instructs and speaks about all things fitness. But, there’s more to him than just exercise, so he moonlights as a writer, bookworm and self-professed knowledge addict. For more, follow his business and fitness escapades on Twitter, @JoeVennare

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