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Selling with Stories

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Let me tell you a quick story. Perhaps you will find it relevant.

In the early 1990s Fortune magazine decided to do an article on
selling. The question they set out to answer was:

Why were some people so good at selling while others so
blatantly bad?

To find out the answer the writers interviewed 24 top sales
performers across a broad spectrum of fields. Among those who
were interviewed were financial advisors, insurance producers,
executive recruiters and a wide variety of consultants and
high-value services providers. Here is what they learned.

The most successful sales people sell without it ever being
apparent that they are in fact, selling. There was nothing
obvious or obnoxious about their presentation. No Trial Close,
Ben Franklin close or Take Away closes. They sold, but they sold

Moreover the Fortune article concluded that the more you are
marketing and selling high-value services the more important it
is to be able to sell invisibly.

So what exactly does this mean? How did the top performers go
about building trust and credibility? How did they overcome
often deep-seated skepticism? How did they persuade others to
their point of view?

The one thing in common was, they all told stories.

Lots of stories. Stories that demonstrated how others had
successfully achieved results by using their services. Stories
that preemptively addressed objections or concerns. Stories that
made it easy for others to refer them to their friends and
colleagues. Stories that built credibility and reduced

So why do you need a marketing story?

You need them for your brochures, sales letters and your
website. You need them for your face-to-face sales
presentations. However, we believe that the most important
reason to have a marketing story is

It differentiates you from your competition and establishes your

Ultimately, the stories you tell about who you are, your
uniqueness, the results your clients achieve, are what will
establish you as a unique player in your field.

Excellent marketing stories don’t scream, “I WANT TO IMPRESS
YOU.” They don’t scream, “BUY MY SERVICES NOW.” Rather, the
gifted marketing storyteller takes the reader or listener on a
journey. And if the story is well constructed, at the end of the
journey, we are going to be impressed. We are going to be
interested. We are going to want to take the next step in the
sales process.

And that is why the most successful marketers tell stories.

So, what is your marketing story?


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  • Posted On July 28, 2006
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