Tag Archives: Sales

Paul Smith on Selling with a Story

Jacket cover of Sell with a Story by Paul Smith Paul Smith recently sat down with the AMA Edgewise team to discuss his book, SELL WITH A STORY: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale (AMACOM September 2017). Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in any salesperson’s arsenal, and Smith shares how to put it to use at any stage in the sales cycle for maximum results.

Paul Smith, author of Lead with a Story and Parenting with a Story, has come out with a third installment of the series: Sell with a Story. He joins us to talk about how to set aside a portion of your sales pitch to tell stories to make your selling even more effective.

Listen to Paul Smith on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

Paul Smith, author of Sell with a Story

 

Paul Smith is a popular speaker and expert trainer on business storytelling techniques. A former Procter & Gamble executive, his clients include Hewlett Packard, Bayer Medical, Progressive Insurance, Walmart, and other distinguished companies. As the author of Lead with a Story, his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Time, Forbes, The Washington Post, Success, and Investor’s Business Daily.

 

Listen to more interviews with AMACOM authors on the AMA Edgewise Podcast.

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Emotional Stories that Sell: Techniques for Deeply Moving Buyers’ Decisions

As brain science now proves, emotions play a critical role in decision making. Human beings make rapid, subconscious, emotional decisions in one part of the brain, and then justify (or possibly adjust) those decisions more rationally in another area. Research also shows that we recall information more clearly and easily when it’s attached to emotion.

“If you want to influence buyers’ decisions, you need to influence them emotionally, not just rationally and logically,” affirms bestselling author Paul Smith. “And it’s difficult to influence people emotionally with only facts and logic and data. Fortunately, we have a tool to tap into people’s emotions quite effectively—a story.” In his new book, SELL WITH A STORY: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale (AMACOM; September 8, 2016), Smith offers the following techniques to enhance the emotional impact of the stories you tell buyers:

  • Make me feel. Telling buyers how your main character feels (“He was outraged.” “She was distraught.”) is a good start. Showing them how the character feels by describing his or her behavior (“He stormed in and kicked over a chair.” “She ducked behind her minivan and started crying.”) is better. Best is to actually make buyers feel those very emotions. To pull this off, put your listeners in an equal position with the main character. Gradually draw them into the story and let them know as much, but no more and no less, than him or her. This position allows listeners to experience the same emotion as the main character by finding out the same emotion-causing information in the same way he or she does in the story.
  • Make me care. If your listeners don’t know anything about the characters in your story, it’s difficult for them to care about what happens to those characters. If your story starts with, “There was this guy I used to work with who got fired…,” why should they care? But if you start with, “There was this guy named Matt I used to work with in California who was my favorite coworker. He got to work every morning before everyone and turned on the coffeepot. He’d always cover for me when I needed to take a day off. He knew the job and answered my questions without making me feel stupid for asking…,” and then go on to tell about how he got fired, then your listeners will care. Because they know Matt and like him.
  • Use dialogue. Instead of telling the audience what the characters feel, let them hear it. Use words that capture your character’s unspoken emotions, as well as what he or she says out loud. For example, instead of telling listeners that your character felt nervous and unprepared for her new job, you could share her inner thoughts this way: “She shook the interviewer’s hand and said, ‘Thank you so much for the job offer. I won’t let you down.’ But inside, she was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I have no idea how to do this. I’m going to get fired on my first day!’”

Cover of Sell with a Story by Paul Smith

Adapted from Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith (AMACOM September 2016).

PAUL SMITH is a popular speaker and expert trainer on business storytelling techniques. A former Procter & Gamble executive, his clients include Hewlett Packard, Bayer Medical, Progressive Insurance, Walmart, and other distinguished companies. As the author of Lead with a Story, his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Time, Forbes, The Washington Post, Success, and Investor’s Business Daily.

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Random Quotes from New Books this September

Jacket cover of Sell with a Story by Paul SmithSell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith

Storytelling speaks to the part of the brain where decisions are actually made. Much of the cognitive science in the past two decades tells us that human beings often make subconscious, emotional, and sometimes irrational decisions in one place in the brain, and then justify those decisions rationally and logically in another place. So if you’re trying to influence buyers’ decisions, using facts and rational arguments alone isn’t enough. You need to influence them emotionally, and stories are your best vehicle to do that” (page 17).

 

Jacket cover of High-Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter

High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results by Mark Hunter

“A key reason I’m against using price as a prospecting tool is because once you start using it, you and your customers will become addicted to it. The level of profit you lose will be huge, both in the short term and the long term. Sadly, you will become slightly blind to this, because focusing on low price will be your go-to method.
“To help keep your focus on the needs of the prospect, make sure you’re asking them questions that get them to expand upon their problem. Remember, your objective is to either help them overcome a problem or allow them to achieve a gain. That’s it. Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep your focus on the the customer’s wants and needs and you’ll avoid having to go down the price trap road” (pages 71-72).

 

september 2016 new releases

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.

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Books for Small Businesses

If you’re running or helping to run a small business, you’ve encountered unique challenges (and, we hope, many unique rewards!). It can feel like you’re doing it all yourself–which means you could use as much help as you can get from the experts. Below, check out some of our most helpful recent books for small businesses.

The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money for Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals by Cliff Ennico

Jacket cover

Until May 2016, the act of offering securities (stocks, bonds, and more) in exchange for investment was extremely limited. The arduous and expensive process for companies and the strict regulations for investors left countless hopefuls out. That has now changed with equity crowdfunding. This isn’t your average Kickstarter campaign–you’ll need Cliff Ennico’s comprehensive handbook–but, if the timing is right for your small business, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small by Nick Westergaard

Jacket cover of Get Scrappy

While Get Scrappy‘s digital marketing wisdom applies to businesses of any size, small businesses will find it especially crucial. Marketing without a significant budget may feel like an uphill climb, but you can see results without a gargantuan budget if you follow Nick Westergaard’s essential advice on constructing your brand, sticking to your strategy, creating content that answers your potential customers’ most urgent questions, measuring your results accurately to hone your tactics, and more.

75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees by Paul Falcone

Jacket cover of 75 Ways by Paul Falcone

Not all small businesses have human resources departments, but that doesn’t mean the procedures and issues that HR departments handle just disappear. HR rock star Paul Falcone‘s new book delivers key human resources strategies to managers and executives. Small business owners will appreciate Falcone’s attention to each step in the employee cycle, readable explanations of the legal implications of key management decisions, and focus on hiring and managing effectively in the first place (because it’s much harder for small businesses to bounce back when hiring goes wrong).

When the Pressure’s On: The Secret to Winning When You Can’t Afford to Lose by Dr. Louis S. Csoka

Jacket cover of When the Pressure's On

Small business owners face an extraordinary amount of stress, and with the weight of a whole company on their shoulders, it’s not always possible to shrug it off. No one knows how to manage stress better than Dr. Louis S. Csoka, founder of West Point’s Center for Enhanced Performance and creator of the first ever Peak Performance Center for a Fortune 500 company. He shared his five-pronged strategy for performing under pressure–which small business owners face regularly–in his remarkable book, When the Pressure’s On.

Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith

Jacket cover of Sell with a Story by Paul Smith

Small businesses pitching products might not always be able to offer the lowest price right away, and they might not have the highest brand recognition–so what’s going to get their prospects interested? The most important tool in any salesperson’s kit, but especially that of a salesperson from a smaller firm, is the story. In Sell with a Story, acclaimed author Paul Smith details how to craft narratives that will strengthen relationships, make the product memorable, increase product value (really!), and more. When it comes to storytelling, small businesses likely have a leg up on the competition–take advantage of it!

 

Sample Chapter of HIGH-PROFIT PROSPECTING Now Available

We’ve uploaded a sample chapter for an amazing read as salespeople gear up for the fall sales season–Mark Hunter’s High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.

High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results by Mark Hunter
Jacket cover of High-Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter

The best salespeople don’t get that way by simply fulfilling whatever leads come their way–they take responsibility and fill their own pipelines. They prospect. In High-Profit Prospecting, Mark Hunter presents a clear-cut process for this perennially challenging task. Readers will learn how to stay motivated, prospect even without being a born salesperson, identify viable prospects, tailor pitches to the customer’s needs, use technology effectively, prospect large companies and C-suites, and more.  Click here or on the cover image for your free sample chapter.

high profit prospecting sample chapter

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