Who does not like a happy ending? When encountering a business interaction a common set of experiences is often the bond that holds the parties together. Relationships result from connecting through mutually understood perspectives and common feelings. Shared great stories, in turn strengthen such emotional bonds. Certainly when a buyer and seller connect, emotions are present. Each side wants to be sure their personal, financial and reputational needs are met. With so many indiviual traits invested, the need for a mutually palatable story is even greater to establish and maintain common ground. In fact, successful selling requires great stories.
Even if a buyer is shopping for a purchase through a seemingly logical lens, the buyer still makes a personal decision to select one seller over another. For example, a decision purely based on price requires the buyer to prioritize cost-savings over other attributes, like service, quality, or brand recognition. Even when focused on price, other factors can creep into the decision. Consequently, sellers wanting to earn more business need to be able to tell a story that encourages truth and that potential buyers will want to hear, understand, and ultimately value.
But why a story? Much like successful selling, stories are predicated on a fundamental structure: setup, conflict, and resolution. The setup introduces the characters. Before any progress occurs, we need to know who is involved and why they matter. Knowing why the characters matters is essential to caring about the conflict and then, the resolution. Whether rescuing a damsel in distress, fixing a technological catastrophe, or delivering an ironclad plan to successful retirement, solving the problem with a story is the equivalent to winning the business. A closed deal means a hero emerged to save the day.
To deliver solutions through successful selling, follow the story line from setup to resolution. The more elements that are understood along the way, the more predictable is the ending. Professionals seeking to win business with a story, need to understand the structure in order to influence the outcome. Successful sales people position themselves as protagonists. They are the good guys. They have tools to solve problems. They identify and overcome conflict.
Through intellect, insight, determination, or heroism, a satisfactory solution delivered to a needy environment wins the day. Successful business development professionals slay dragons. And upon finally resolving the problem, the hero boldly acknowledges the solution’s delivery. Whether riding into the sunset, or living happily ever after, all parties who benefit from the resolved problem know exactly who performed the good deed. The audience must know who to thank. Therefore for competitive professionals who intend to emerge as heroes, approach each opportunity expecting to win with a great story. So, who’s ready for a sequel?
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Mo Patton Sports, LLC
Principal of Hunter & Beyond