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  • Katherine Smith

Success Breeds Success - The Art of Storytelling in Sales


In sales, it is important to leverage all the tools you have at your disposal - and that includes your past successes.

Why Do Sales Stories Work?

Whether it’s an accurate reflection of data or not, anecdotes play a powerful role in shaping opinions. Humans have always been storytellers, and that certainly hasn’t changed in the digital age. If anything it has increased as the access to anecdotes and stories has grown exponentially through internet mediums such as social networks, websites like reddit and imgur, and (the original) email. But why are they so effective? Numbers and data do not resonate with most people the way adding a human element can. Think of a court case, seeing a mother cry over her dead son is going to affect a jury much more than hearing the charges listed out by a lawyer.

In a less dramatic example, reviews are a prime example of the reliance and trust that we all put into anecdotes and stories. Many of us do a lot of our shopping online, or even if we don’t buy it that way we often research the product online before making a purchase. Reviews, good and bad, have a lot of sway with the public as the reviewed are discovering. Whether it’s a pair of speakers, a restaurant for dinner or even a vacation destination, many people read reviews before buying. Seeing good reviews gives us confidence and is often the final push towards making a purchase.

How to Add Stories to Sales

What sales success stories do is allow you to use past successes as a good “review” for your potential customer. It gives them the same kind of confidence as reading good reviews online, and in the same vein can be the tipping point in moving them towards a closed deal. There are a few key takeaways for putting together an effective sales success story:

  • Keep it Relevant - while a non-relevant success story can still instill some confidence, it will be much more effective if the story is similar to your potential customer’s example.

  • Keep it Focused - yes, humans are storytellers. However, that doesn’t mean we want a success story to be as long as a novel. Keep your story focused on being relevant for your potential customer, and keep it concise so that they don’t lose interest.

  • Keep it Customer-Centric - sure, maybe you are a great salesperson, but that isn’t what your potential customer wants to hear. They don’t want to hear about you being great at selling, they want to hear the success your past customer experienced from buying from you. Always keep it focused on the customer and not on your selling.

Success stories are a great tool to use for instilling confidence in your product or service for your potential customer, and can be a great way to move them towards a closed deal. Have you used a success story to close a deal? Tell us in the comments.


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