Today I had two hours of intense sale conversation with my colleague, answering questions from my time as a stockbroker. I got to refresh a lot of my sales knowledge and why not then write about it at @leofinance? If you are into finance or the like, it is not negative to learn how to sell ideas, financial ideas!
When I started as a stockbroker early in 2017 the first prior to the job was to learn how to sell. “Sell me this Pen” was often shouted from every corner of the room! This was also the first question I got on my first working day, probably inspired by the “Wolf of Wall Street” back in 2013. Sell me this pen! – VeI, I need you to write down a note for me… (this was only one solution out of MANY).
Not only did we learn how to sell (a pen), but we also learned how to sell with a story and make great preparations before meetings. “It is not the meeting itself that create deals, it is how you prepare for the meeting that eventually create deals in the meeting” (olebulls, 2021).
“A sales story is any story that used in a process of earning a sale and maintaining a customer.”
We use stories because we want to influence people emotionally. It is much easier to remember a guy who told you an amazing story than the guy who clicked on the Power Point for 45 minutes and eventually said; “Is this something that could be of your interests”?
And as it is easier to remember you, stories are contagious and is spread by Word of Mouth (when a consumer's interest in a company's product or service is reflected in their daily dialogues). Stories makes buyers relax. Stories does not feel like a sales pitch, it opens their minds, and they just listen. Stories build trust. Stories increase the value of your product!
Features of a story!
- Main Character
Let us make a story out of the bullet points above:
“A couple of years ago (Time), Ole Bull Season (Main Character), the Stockbroker of the company All Time High in Norway (Place) realized he had a problem. His clients were not happy with the return on investments that he made (ROI) (Obstacle). He needed to figure a way to give them something that would let them feel secure so that they could sleep better at night (Goal). He tailored “Skyrocket Stock Options” for hedging purposes, hence creating “barriers” if the stock market would crash. “As predicted” the market plunged 30% but Olebulls clients did not get any higher pulse. They where suddenly happy about Olebulls coverage and continued to buy stocks and options from him for many years to come” (Events).
Apologies… it is not a true story nor is it good, but you get the point, you just need to make this story 10 times better and prepare for that meeting of yours!
The most effective way to sell anything to anyone is to get them to tell their story, first. When the story is about their problem you get to tell your story to help them!
Three stories that matters in a meeting: The first being that you want them to tell a story about them so that you get to know them better. Secondly you want them to tell what their biggest problem is so that you can come up with a solution. Thirdly make them tell a story about the product they got the most value out of.
So, you have made your preparations before the meeting, now what are you going to do in the meeting? After you have introduced each other and maybe told some stories to build trust I suggest that you shut up and listen to the customer – the more you shut up the more stories you get! 😊
Ask questions that require a story. Do not ask yes or no questions (if so, ask rhetorical questions; “if you were drowning and I threw you a life jacket, would you grab it? YES! Get a yes out of them). Ask open ended questions, they will eventually lead to a story (people love to tell stories that concerns them). If you get a yes or no it can be awkward silence and less good conversation, so you need to avoid that. “Tell me about that problem” is a better question. Then you can dig more and probably get a story. When did you know for sure that you got a serious problem? Then they start to tell. Ask about specific events in time. What led you to fire the CEO? Use problem prompts. Ask about specific problems you might think the customers have about their current suppliers, e.g. Are you not getting as good ROI as you were promised? Ask “everyday” questions. For instance, tell me what a typical day is for you at work? This is a great way to get a glint of the buyer’s vision for the future and how you might be a part of it.
My favorite is to ask about something personal at the buyer’s office. Items of high personal value. It is always an item there that have a value and a story. If you get a story out of an item, you are really building big swinging trust - kachiiiiing!
When to set up a meeting? Call buyers when they are not at the office. When byers are on the office, they are busy and have their “game face” on. They are worrying about hitting their numbers this month and are already starting to think about their meetings they have with the next 3 salespersons they have after you leave. They are more likely to have time and share stories if they are out of the office. You see here is where many salesmen fail, they caught the client when they were busy. I personally prepped at day and sold at night – if that make sense!?
“Why I do what I do stories”: People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it. A buyer needs to understand why you do what you do for a living? What drew you to the profession or the company you work for? The reason says something about who you are as a person, and the passion you show or the lack there of will influence the buyer’s natural affection for you. After all who does not want to do business with someone who is passionate about what they do?
It is time to share your stories. People like to do business with the people they trust!
I hope you like my Stockbroker approach! There are more, but maybe later…
Do you have a story to tell? or a question to ask? Keep them open ended! 😉