The #1 skill of the modern sales and marketing pro.
Storytelling ought to be the top skillset of the sales & marketing pro. We should always be telling stories of problems, agitations, and resolutions. Note that this is a sales and marketing formula. This prospect has a problem. They’ve been stuck with it for some time and now it is getting really painful for them to deal with it. They’ve tried to solve it in the past by themselves but they weren’t able to do it. Now, it’s become a real thorn in their side and they just don’t know how to resolve it. Then one day, a guide enters their life who knows the path to solve that problem. The guide ensures that the hero of the story — the customer — knows what the solution is, and leads the customer hero to conquer the problem. Problem solved. This is the compelling story arc of just about anything you can sell. This is the path of the customer journey. It is easy to grasp and it is replicable. You can use it over and over again in your sales and marketing process. When you zoom up and out, you’ll see it. All your sales will cover this path.
That’s the great thing about the customer journey: it gives you a roadmap to follow. Different prospects will be at different points along the journey, which is why it is vital to follow up with value for them at each stage to help nudge them along. You can offer them training, coaching, courses, cheat sheets, guides, case studies, stories about how you learned it, even done-for-you services if that’s what the prospects end up wanting. Some people just want the whole thing done for them. Don’t forget to offer this! It’s a higher end, high value offer. Be sure to include it! The most important thing is to stay in front of them with great value all along their journey.
You may not know when they really need you. The prospect may not know when they really need you. This is the power of automated follow-up because very few of us will buy at the first touch point. Most people need 7, 8, 9+ touch points before they’re ready to buy. So, instead of you calling and asking for their money 7, 8, 9 times, you follow up with automated value messages about them, relevant to them, so that when they’re ready to buy, they buy! The entire point of the follow up is value. Value. Value. Value. Nothing pesky. Nothing me-centric. Nothing about my company. Value for them. Remember: people don’t care about your stuff. People care about their stuff. They want the win for themselves and their families. Help them to win for themselves and they will love you for it. The prospect sees themselves as the hero of the story. We’re the guide. We need to guide them to their Promised Land of their problem solved. And we do that along the customer’s value journey. Remember what Zig said, “You can have whatever you want in this life so long as you help other people get whatever it is they want in this life first.” We are here as the guide in the journey.
Look how influential guides are for the hero. The guides have proof it can be done. The guides have the experience of going through the tough times and having prevailed over them. The guides are the teachers and trainers for those new to the realm. And when you’re new, you lack confidence in your abilities to get things done. You play the reluctant hero, unsure of himself. The guides exists to help the hero come to believe in himself through training and pushing himself to get better. As sales and marketing pros, we gift the hero the guidance, confidence and tools to help them achieve more, to help them build more, to move them to the Promised Land. Sales and marketing pros are experts at solving the customer’s problem, which perfectly positions them for the guide role.
This is why storytelling is such an effective sales tool. Telling compelling stories gets peoples’ attention. People are willing and able to listen because it is a story of identity and transformation. And everybody loves a story of transformation. We cannot help ourselves because stories of transformation are culture. We want to see the hero transformed into a better version of her former self. She needs confirmation and affirmation. She’s changed for the better. And now she can act as the example for others seeking similar change in their lives. She’s proof it can be done.
With enough of these stories of transformation, prospects see the pattern over and over again and identify with the hero of the story. They see themselves similarly, especially the part about self-doubt and reluctancy to improve on the hero’s journey. All of us want a guide on our success path to help us be more confident, giving us the guidance and tools to solve our problems. As humans, all of us desire transformation! We desire transformation because we are all about growth. We want to get better. We want a more compelling future for ourselves and our families. We want our problem solved. As sales and marketing pros, the most unselfish thing we can do is help guide the prospect along the customer value journey to their Promised Land. The great news is that it feels really good to do this because it is congruent with what our prospect wants. Our desires are aligned. They want their problem solved, and we are here to help them solve it! We want what they want.
That’s the difference between the old school sales and marketing pro vs. the modern sales pro: aligned goals. We are here to help, not to shove product onto the prospect without them seeing how it solves their problem. They have to get it, understand it, and think they can do it. They need our help to see it. They need our guidance and our confidence transfer. They need us to guide them to their transformation, which is the ultimate goal of us all.