Want to sell more? Tell more stories


Peri Shawn of the Coaching and Sales Institute poses with Podium Coachiong's Halina St James at a meeting of the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Association of Public Speakers
Peri Shawn (left) with Halina St James at the CAPS meeting

by Halina St James

Storytelling is the magic sauce that gives a little zip to any form of communication. Stories turn facts into memories, they are a great teaching tool, and they keep audiences engaged.

And, apparently, stories are a great tool for sales people. Last week Peri Shawn shared her sell-with-stories philosophy with members of the Atlantic chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

The key to making a sale, Peri told us, is to engage the customer on an emotional level. And the best way to do that is to tell a story. Humans are hard-wired for stories; we’re brought up on stories and we love to share stories, regardless of age, gender or culture.

Peri Shawn says if you want to use stories effectively in a sales context, you have to remember three things:

  • the story must to relevant to the customer/client
  • the story must be told from the customer’s/client’s perspective
  • the story must have suspense to engage the customer/client

And if the client has a question or objection, answer with a story. It’s doesn’t have to be long, but it must be a story.

Peri Shawn knows selling. Her company, the Coaching and Sales Institute (CSI), has been in the sales coaching business for 25 years and was involved in the launch of such products as the debit card and Blackberry in Canada. Peri is the author of Sell More with Sales Coaching (Wiley, September 2013) as well as the three corporate guidebooks.

Here are a few snippets of the advice she shared with the CAPS audience:

  • Selling is about helping others with their buying decisions.
  • Sell to one person at a time.
  • The emotionally engaged person will be 4 times more likely to buy and 2 times more likely to refer you.
  • People buy based on emotions and then justify based on logic.

So if you want to engage people on an emotional level, tell them a story.

At Podium Coaching we have long taught the power of story. It’s good to know of yet another powerful way to use this ancient tool. Thank you Peri.

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