10 episodes

This podcast is to help you use the art and science of storytelling to help you be more effective in your sales role. What you'll hear will come from two primary sources. Most will be stories that come from interviews I conducted with professional sales and procurement managers from over 50 companies around the world, including: Microsoft, Costco, Xerox, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hewlett Packard, Kroger, Cushman & Wakefield, Huntington Bank, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Amway, and Children’s Hospital, among others — all of which are documented in my book, Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale.



On other episodes I’ll have guest authors and experts in the sales field, including bestselling sales authors like Mike Weinberg, Anthony Ianarrino, Mark Hunter, and others.

Sell with a Story Podcast Paul Smith

    • Business
    • 4.5 • 11 Ratings

This podcast is to help you use the art and science of storytelling to help you be more effective in your sales role. What you'll hear will come from two primary sources. Most will be stories that come from interviews I conducted with professional sales and procurement managers from over 50 companies around the world, including: Microsoft, Costco, Xerox, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hewlett Packard, Kroger, Cushman & Wakefield, Huntington Bank, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Amway, and Children’s Hospital, among others — all of which are documented in my book, Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale.



On other episodes I’ll have guest authors and experts in the sales field, including bestselling sales authors like Mike Weinberg, Anthony Ianarrino, Mark Hunter, and others.

    Story the Call: How to Learn from the Best (and Worst) Sales Calls

    Story the Call: How to Learn from the Best (and Worst) Sales Calls

    {#25 in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories from Sell with a Story, by Paul Smith}















    One of the most productive uses of storytelling in sales isn’t found in a story you tell to the buyer, a story the buyer tells you, or even a story that you tell to yourself. It’s a story that you craft for the benefit of other salespeople who work at your company. And it tells the story of the successful sale you just closed or the unsuccessful one you just failed to close. The purpose is to capture the wisdom you just gained in the call for your boss, your peers, or the next generation of salespeople calling on that customer.







    We all know those wise old sales gurus who’ve been around and seen it all. We love hearing their “war stories” about what worked and what didn’t work. Well, you don’t have to have been around for 40 years to remember a few great war stories if you capture your stories as they happen.







    One of my favorite examples comes from a guy named Steve Blair from his days as a salesperson for a major confectionary company.







    The Valentine’s Day Box of Chocolates















    In the summer of 2010, when Steve was about a year into the role, he was calling on the buyer at a major drugstore chain. The buyer, let’s call him David, was legendary in the business. Once you had his ear and earned his trust, you had it forever. But getting that trust was difficult. And neither Steve nor anyone at his company had earned it yet.







    At one point, Steve and his boss (the CEO of the company) rented a suite at a major league baseball field and invited David and his boss to a game. Their general purpose was to get to know their prospects a little better. But Steve also had a specific sales objective: get David to agree to carry at least one of their boxes of heart-shaped chocolates for Valentine’s Day.







    Steve had been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to make that sale. David’s objection each time was that he thought the price per ounce of chocolate was too high. Said another way, he thought there just wasn’t enough chocolate for the price. Steve’s response each time was that Valentine’s Day chocolates are a gift. The person who receives the chocolate will appreciate the gift regardless of how much chocolate is in it.















    Steve was hoping he could finally get David to see things his way during the game. Somewhere around the sixth inning, Steve saw his opportunity. He noticed that the server in the suite was a 20-something female—exactly the demographic profile of someone who might be on the receiving end of a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates. Steve thought David might understand his position if he could hear for himself how much a young woman would appreciate one of these gifts.







    The next time she came through the suite, Steve pulled her over to ask her a question. He took out a sample of one of the boxes and held it in front of her. Making sure he had David’s attention, he said to her, “What would you say if your husband or boyfriend gave you this for Valentine’s Day?” Of course, Steve couldn’t be sure how she’d respond. But who doesn’t like a free box of chocolates?







    The server opened up the box, looked inside, and then said,







    Well, the first thing I’d probably say is ‘Where’s the rest of the chocolate?’

    • 5 min
    Sales Hall of Fame President on Selling Well During a Pandemic

    Sales Hall of Fame President on Selling Well During a Pandemic

    Sales Hall of Fame president Steve Benson joins me to talk about a clever sales tool Badger Maps, as well as specific problems and solutions for salespeople during the pandemic. read more

    • 32 min
    How NOT to Sell Yourself on LinkedIn

    How NOT to Sell Yourself on LinkedIn

    Great at LinkedIn author Mike Sweigart joins me to talk about some of the best -- and worst -- things you can do on LinkedIn to help market you and your brand

    • 24 min
    No Regrets Selling and the Paradox of Choice

    No Regrets Selling and the Paradox of Choice

    Today, Jason Cutter is a sales success architect who coaches and trains successful salespeople. But in his past, he had several sales jobs in the trenches where he made the same kind of mistakes most of us make early in sales. Jason joined me this week to share two of his early mistakes and what we can all learn from them. read more

    • 21 min
    “These are not my pants!”: A Loyalty-Building Story for Salespeople

    “These are not my pants!”: A Loyalty-Building Story for Salespeople

    {#24 in the series of the 25 most useful sales stories}







    “Hello. I’m Mark Bowser, and these are not my pants.”







    If you’d been in one of Mark Bowser‘s customer service training classes in Indianapolis in the late 1990s, those are the first words you would have heard him say as he introduced himself.







    His explanation was just as entertaining. To hear Mark tell the story himself, click the play button above. Short on time? Read the summary of our conversation below. 







    Mark’s seminar was being held in the Hyatt Regency hotel, so naturally that’s where he stayed the night before. Well, sometime that night after he checked in and was safely ensconced in bed watching television, he started having a nagging feeling. As he tells the story:







    I kept hearing in my head “Check your suit, check your suit.” So I crawled out of bed and looked in my bag. I found my suit jacket right way. And then I quickly realized, “Ahh, I don’t have any pants!” Well, that sent me into a panic. “What am I going to do?” The only thing I could think of was to retrace my steps since I arrived. Maybe they fell out of my bag. So I went back through the parking garage, the lobby, and the stairs—no pants. As a last resort, I went to the front desk and sheepishly asked if anyone had found any pants and turned them in. They said no but told me the hotel had some clothing shops on the main floor that would be open in the morning if I wanted to buy some. They told me what time they opened, and of course it was too late for me to make it to the seminar on time.I was just about to walk away when one of the other clerks who overheard the conversation interrupted. “Sir, did I hear you correctly that you need a pair of pants? Because I have some of mine in the back office. I just picked them up from the dry cleaners. You’re welcome to borrow a pair for tomorrow.” They didn’t fit perfectly, but they were certainly better than nothing. I thanked him and wore them all the next day! It was the most amazing customer service I’ve ever personally experienced.”







    Mark never did find his pants. But as a motivational speaker and trainer in sales and customer service, he does find lots of opportunities to tell that story. It’s the kind of over-the-top service story you might expect from Nordstrom. The most obvious use for such stories is to teach other employees within your company what great customer service looks like.







    The Lesson







    But it’s the not-so-obvious use that I’m more interested in here. If these stories can teach employees how to deliver customer service, they can teach existing customers what to expect from customer service. The purpose of doing that is to build loyalty—to keep your current customers from even considering going anywhere else.







    Practically speaking, of course, only rarely would hotel guests realize they’ve lost their pants. A story like the one above isn’t supposed to communicate to hotel guests that they should come down to the front desk to borrow a pair of pants. It just reinforces the notion that this hotel has unbelievable customer service. Why would you want to stay anywhere else?







    Recommendation







    Find your most outrageously positive customer service stories and share them with your existing customers on a regular basis—in sales calls, emails, newsletters, or notes slipped into invoices. You’ll keep more of the customers you’ve worked so hard to earn.







    You can learn more about Mark at a href="https://markbowser.

    • 12 min
    3 Ways to Use Storytelling After the Sale

    3 Ways to Use Storytelling After the Sale

    {#23 in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories}

    Just because you’ve closed the sale doesn’t mean the need for storytelling has ended. In fact, the best salespeople continue to use storytelling after the sale in three primary ways:

        1. to deliver service after the sale,

        2. to generate loyalty, and

        3. to summarize learnings from the sales call.

    In this episode, we’ll talk about the first of those ways — to deliver better service after the sale. We’ll tackle the other two in future articles.

    Depending on the type of product or service you have, a lot of times storytelling can help your existing customers make better decisions about how to use what they’ve already bought from you. And it’s obviously in your best interest to help them do that so they can become the most satisfied customers they can be.

    Here are two examples from a company called Backroads, an active travel company that’s part travel agent, part Sherpa guide. 

    Example 1

    So, let’s say a typical trip with Backroads is six nights and five days. Each of those days might include three primary options for each person to pick from that they’ll choose over breakfast each morning. What decision people make can have an enormous impact on how much they enjoy the day. For example, on a biking day, if a novice biker chooses the longest, most difficult bike route, they’ll be overwhelmed, late, and exhausted when they get back. And if an experienced biker chooses the easiest path, they won’t be challenged enough.

    So, getting people to make the best decision is critical. The truth is, by the third day, the Backroads leaders know their guests well enough to tell them which option is best for them. But it would be insulting to say to a guest, “Bob, you’re a slow rider, so you should take option #1 today.” The Backroads leaders need to help guests make that decision for themselves, but make it in the most informed manner possible. And that’s where storytelling comes in. 

    Let’s say our slow rider, Bob, has his heart set on taking the longest bike route today. The leader might share a story about a similar guest last week who made the same choice:

    Last week, Sally picked the same route. But she knew it was going to be a long ride for her. So she got up an hour early, skipped breakfast, and headed out a couple of hours ahead of everyone else. We drove ahead and met her at the 15-mile mark and had a muffin and yogurt waiting for her. By 11 a.m., she was already over the mountain pass and had the rest of the day to make the easy part of the ride.” 

    That short little story about Sally now helps Bob make a more informed decision about today’s ride. He might choose to pick another option, or he can do what Sally did and leave early. Either way, he’ll feel better about the experience than being told, “Okay, but you’ll need to leave earlier than everyone else because you’re slow.” That statement tells the guest what to do. The story empowers him to make a better decision for himself. 

    Example 2

    Storytelling can also help the trip leaders emphasize their flexibility by providing a concrete example. According to Jo Zulaica, global leadership development manager at Backroads, they might say something like this:

    Last week, we had a guest who was really interested in golfing and fishing even though that wasn’t part of this trip. So on the layover days, he found a local operator who could take him fly fishing. And on a couple of other days, we set up a tee time for him at the nearest golf course. We even drove him to the course right after breakfast to get started.” 

    Compare that short story to the non-story alternatives of just sayi...

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

BradStudio ,

Very Important Book

Out of all the business books I’ve read, “Sell with a Story” is one of the Top Five in my library. Stories are powerful, there is no better method of marketing a product than using a story. Anytime I have a new product or service, I come back to my story template and create the story. It has a profound effect as a communication method. I recently encountered a vendor that used the method during a webinar and I still remember their presentation months later.

Ima listener ,

AWESOME!

Paul is a fabulous host and wealth of knowledge! Highly recommend the listen.

Get Clients Now ,

Ignore The Idiot Naysayers

Not only have I read Paul’s book “Sell With A Story” and listen to this podcast... I’ve interviewed Paul on my own podcast.

I’ve got a listening audience of over 100,000 and the quality of content Paul gave during the interview was FABULOUS!

If you’re looking for a way to ethically sell more of your products and services you’ll want to subscribe to this show and read his book.

I’ve never met Paul in person and I wasn’t asked to write this review for him. I just know that he delivers great content you can use immediately to generate more sales

My advice to the moron who wrote the nasty review that sparked my response: Get a good book on dating, move out of your parent’s basement... and get a life.

If you don’t like someone’s show give a reason why... but don’t accuse someone you know nothing about of being sleazy or dishonest

You’re the exact kind of loser none of us working hard to serve others wants listening or reading our stuff

Keep up the great job Paul!!!