A Humorous Take on the

World of Sales and Management

What are the elements of an effective business sales story?  One that's fun and interesting, and not boring?

For a simple formula, read on....

Mike S.
Persuasive Selling

My last blog post talked about the importance of framing every selling point with an illustrative story.  "Bad Decisions Make Great Stories" . 

Great salespeople are often terrifically entertaining and gifted storytellers.  Average salespeople tell boring stories, if they tell any at all.  Is there a simple way to deliver a great business story?

Story Structure

Let's start with the simplest structure, a joke.  Most jokes have three components:
  • Premise
  • Setup
  • Punchline
Every good punchline in turn, has one or two "Punch Words".  These are the "money" words with emphasis that get the laugh.  
Next in the hierarchy of stories comes the funny story.  This may have several punch lines in it, and it's more complex than a joke.  Humorous stories can be represented by this simple structure:
  1. Get your guy up in a tree
  2. Throw rocks at him
  3. Get him down
The more complex the story, the more plot developments.  You can see the beginnings of a "story arc", which builds a more interesting tale.  

Hollywood Story

Most Hollywood movies follow a standard outline.  Now we have seven points, ending up where the guy gets the girl, the bad guy gets killed, or the Force prevails. Here is the story arc for most movies:

Bad War Stories

Most poorly told stories suffer from:
  • Not Enough Detail - "Boring & Pointless"
  • Too Much Detail - "Please get to the Point"
  • Not Relevant - "So What?"
How to Tell a Great War Story

A great war story has five components.  Just enough information and color to make it interesting and highly relevant to the customer.  Of course, there's the requisite happy ending! 
  1. BACKGROUND:  explain enough detail so the customer can visualize the story as you go along.  Who, what, where, when, etc.
  2. JOURNEY:  What was the company trying to do or accomplish?
  3. OBSTACLES:  What were the challenges?  What was keeping the company from reaching their goals?  Who / What was the bad guy?
  4. SOLUTION:  How did YOU heroically save the day?  What did you do?
  5. RESULTS:  Based on your solution, what results did the customer gain?  How did they thank you & acknowledge your great work?
Once you start seeing each war story through the lens of a story arc, you'll notice quickly how pitiful most salespeople are in this area.  They omit critical detail and color.  They gloss over the magical results.  They may give the bare bones, but not the "So What?" at the end that provides the killer takeaway.

Use this sure-fire structure to tell your stories, entertain your prospects, and create your commissions!  :-)


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