The Value of a Story

I was not a natural born salesman.

I know, I know… that is very hard to believe – but it is true. 🙂

The truth is that if it were not for learning some great sales principles from some very strong people, I have no doubt that I would have had very little success in the industry.

One of the first lessons I learned, was the value of story telling.

It was my first week in sales in the voluntary employee benefit industry.   I had a small group with eight employees.  I was hungry.  I needed to feed my family.  I had complete faith that the employees would see the logic of why they needed our coverage.  And I was ready to roll!

I saw all eight employees… and not one person purchased anything.

I called my District Sales Coordinator and the following conversation took place…

Me:  “David, it’s Jeff.  I didn’t do this right.”

DSC: “Well tell me, how many people did you see?”

Me:  “Eight.”

DSC:  “How many did you sell?”

Me:  “None.”

DSC:  “Jeff, you didn’t do this right.”

Me:  “NO …. (kidding)”

The next day, I observed him in an enrollment.  He saw 14 employees and all 14 signed up.

I learned that day what I was doing incorrectly.  David gave each employee the logic of why they should own these policies.  I did the same.

The difference was that David told stories – painted word pictures in order to establish “why” they needed the policies.  He connected their logic and their emotions and thus made the sales.

“Stories establish the why – logic establishes the justification…

and together, they make the sale.”

– Jeff C. West

According to Dr. Antonio Damasio, in his book The Decartes Error, every decision is made with a combination of logic and emotion.  Dr. Damasio completed a study on patients that had damaged the area of their brain that produce emotions.  What he found was that when faced with decision, they could see the logical arguments in each option they were presented.  However, they could not choose which option was the best for them.

Never make only the emotional connection.  Never make only the logical connection.

In your sales process, combine logic and emotion to help you prospect make the decision that is best for them.  When you do, it will always be the best for you as well.

QUESTION: What is your favorite story?