Tag Archives: Storytelling

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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Fall/Winter 2016 Catalog Now Online!

Image of AMACOM Books Fall 2016 Catalog CoverIt may be summer now, but when it’s time to curl up inside with a blanket and a book, you’ll know what to read: the AMACOM Fall/Winter 2016 Catalog is now available on our website alongside our past catalogs.

 

 

 

Some of the most anticipated books from our fall list:

 

Now Available on NetGalley: SELL WITH A STORY

Cover art for Sell with a Story by Paul Smith, September 2016Great salespeople know how important it is to make themselves and their product memorable, to create a rapport with their customers, and to position what they’re selling as a true solution. What better way to accomplish all of this and more than through a story? Paul Smith knows how valuable stories can be, and he shares why and how in SELL WITH A STORY: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale (AMACOM September 2016). Journalists, booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, and media professionals interested in sales and storytelling are invited to request Sell with a Story for review.

Stories sell. Great SALES STORIES sell even more.

Despite all the high-tech tools available to salespeople, the most personal method still works best.

Storytelling packs the emotional punch to turn routine presentations into productive relationships. It explains products or services in ways that resonate; it connects people and creates momentum. Stories speak to the part of the brain where decisions are made.

Paul Smith, author of the acclaimed Lead with a Story, shifts his best-selling formula to the sales arena. In Sell with a Story, he identifies the ingredients of the most effective sales stories and reveals how to:

Select the right story • Craft a compelling and memorable narrative • Incorporate challenge, conflict, and resolution • Use stories to introduce yourself, build rapport, address objections, add value, bring data to life, create a sense of urgency, and more

Complete with model stories, skill-building exercises, and enlightening examples from Microsoft, Costco, Xerox, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hewlett Packard, and other top companies, this powerful and practical guide gives you the tools you need to turn your experiences into stories that sell.

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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