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

    • Marketing
    • 4.3 • 9 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.

    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 markbowser.com.

    Source: Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale, by Paul Smith.

    Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on a href="https://itunes.apple.

    • 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 sayin...

    • 5 min
    Getting Past Procurement and Having Fun Doing It

    Getting Past Procurement and Having Fun Doing It

    Mike Weinberg is pissed off. And if you work in sales, you should be, too.

    And that very righteous anger is directed at people in his own industry — the sales coaching and training business. In particular, it’s directed at people holding themselves out as sales experts preaching that “everything in sales has changed. . . nothing that used to work in sales works anymore. . . picking up the phone is for dinosaurs. . .”

    That anger prompted Mike to write his most recent book Sales Truth: Debunk the Myths. Apply Powerful Principles. Win More New Sales.

    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard or learned so much from a single podcast interview. And if you work in sales, you should stop reading this now and listen to my conversation with Mike above. It’s a lot more fun and thorough than the tiny snipped you’re going to get below.

    But just so you can have something to read in the bathroom, below is a short excerpt from his book you’re going to love. It debunks the myth that you’ll win more deals by scoring obedience points with the procurement department.

    Specifically, it’s about how he finally broke free of the trap of having to deal with the Procurement Department at all. And it’s as liberating as it is genius. I tried it myself and it worked! (You can hear that story in our conversation at the 14-minute mark.)

    Excerpt from Chapter 13 of Sales Truth, by Mike Weinberg

    I reached my tolerance limit (and finally snapped) after yet one more procurement weenie sent over a master services agreement (MSA), along with the threat that in order to do business with their company, I must agree to the entire thirty-two-page document printed in eight-point legalese.

    Not only couldn’t I understand most of the clauses, I was perplexed as to why there were so many sections in the document that seemed more appropriate for a contract software developer or a raw materials manufacturer. I also wondered why I should invest (waste) hours plowing through what felt like an irrelevant agreement in order to conduct a half-day sales workshop for a company that had already decided to use me.

    In abject frustration and righteous anger, I tossed that mostly unintelligible thirty-two-page MSA in my recycle bin and called the procurement weenie who had just informed me via email that going forward, she owned the relationship with my firm and that she would be my main contact. As pleasantly as I could fake it, I told this twenty-six-year-old certified procurement analyst (with a very inflated view of her role) that I was tapping out. I had neither the energy nor the desire to spend any more time trying to decipher her nonsensical agreement and I was done.

    Then I said two more things. I let her know that she was not my contact at her company, the senior vice president of sales was. And then with a bit of attitude and glee, I asked the procurement woman to please inform the sales executive that I would not be executing the agreement and that I wished her well with the big meeting.

    I immediately felt better even though I figured we’d end up losing that deal. Although I was sorry about hanging the SVP of sales out to dry because she was excited about the event we were putting together, the sheer relief getting to tell the procurement woman to pound sand more than made up for the money I was forgoing by walking away. It was quite empowering.

    More than that, it was an eye-opening lesson when later that afternoon the sales exe...

    • 21 min
    Coaching the Breakup – Helping your Prospect Fire Their Current Supplier to Make Room for You

    Coaching the Breakup – Helping your Prospect Fire Their Current Supplier to Make Room for You

    [#22 of the 25 Most Useful Sales Stories]

    This is the most creative use of storytelling in closing the sale that you’re ever likely to come across. It’s definitely not one I expected to find when I was doing the research on sales stories. But I did, from a guy we’ll call “Brad” who worked for a company that published high school yearbooks.



    The Situation

    So, imagine you’re a high school English teacher and the adviser to the student yearbook committee. One of your jobs is to decide which publisher to produce your school’s yearbook, and you’ve worked with the same one for years. Their sales rep has always been easy to work with, has high integrity, and is a generally likable person. In fact, under other circumstances, you could easily see yourself being friends.

    But while her company does good work, you’ve recently come across another yearbook publisher that offers a better product at a more aggressive price. Now you have to fire the rep you’ve been working with for years. And that’s no fun. In fact, it can be daunting. How’re they going to react? Will they be mad at you?

    According to Brad, these are legitimate questions. He’s heard it all. Some reps get offended, as if the buyer’s being disloyal. Some lay on a guilt trip and complain that the buyer is taking food out of their children’s mouths. Some desperately offer to drop their price.

    Some even start to cry. And while tears might be a little extreme, most of these reactions are no different from what you’re likely to find in any industry. Business is personal when you’re in sales and your livelihood depends on the revenue. That’s why getting dropped by a customer feels like getting dumped by your high school steady. And to anyone who’s ever had to do it, you know that being the dumper is almost as painful as being the dumpee. And that’s why firing your supplier can be an awful experience—so much so that some people just won’t do it. They’d rather keep their current supplier just to avoid the emotional turmoil.

    The Story

    And that’s why one of the stories in Brad’s bag is called “coaching the breakup.” It’s how he helps prepare a new client to end their existing relationship as painlessly as possible. In its most common form, the story he tells is about how one of his other clients navigated the breakup. So, it might start out something like this:

    I’m really looking forward to working with you. But I know you’ve got a difficult thing you have to do now—explain all this to your current publisher. And I can tell you’re a little stressed about that. So I thought it might help if I told you how some of my other customers handled it.”

    And then Brad can walk the buyer through a few success stories of how other customers handled, for example, the offer to drop the price (by asking, “Where’s that discount been all these years?”), or how they handled the crier (by reiterating how this isn’t personal, it’s a business decision), or how they slowed down and continued to work with the old supplier for the rest of the school year before transitioning to the new supplier next year. The story he tells depends on what the prospect thinks the most likely reaction will be.

    So, if breaking up is hard for your prospects to do, develop your own breakup stories to help coach them through it. It might help to have some conversations with your other customers to find out how they did it. (By the way, you’ll get some of your best stories that way. Don’t be shy about asking for stories. Think of it as a flattering excuse to schedule some time with your customers.) Your own company’s procurement department is another great source for these kinds of stories. I mean, who else has more experience firing suppliers than a professional buyer? Right?

    Next step

    • 5 min
    Salespeople: Steve Jobs Didn’t Need Empathy, So Why Should You?

    Salespeople: Steve Jobs Didn’t Need Empathy, So Why Should You?

    Do you really need empathy to be a good sales rep? My podcast guest this week says no. He’s Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO of Chili Piper.

    Nicolas started his career selling newspapers in the streets of Paris in high school, studied math in undergrad, and then got an MBA from Stanford. He then started and sold 3 tech companies, and also ran sales for a $2B telecom firm.

    Today he runs Chili Piper which provides companies a brilliant solution to a sales problem they probably don’t even know they have. You can hear Nicolas talk about all of this and more in our conversation above.

    A few highlights of our conversation . . .

    Closing the leak in your sales funnel

    Chili Piper solves an interesting sales problem a lot of companies have. See if this sounds familiar — Someone comes to your website and they click a button or submit a form saying they’d be interested in talking to someone or seeing a demo. Then they get a message that basically says, “Thank you. Someone will contact you” which obviously leaves them wondering who’s going to contact them and when.

    And that causes a lot of leakage in the sales funnel because salespeople and the prospect end up chasing each other on email for days and don’t always have a call.

    So, what Chili Piper did was to create a JavaScript program you can add into your website so that when that prospect submits the form, the program qualifies the prospect, finds the right sales rep, and calls them on the phone to connect them with the prospect immediately. And if the sales rep isn’t available, they access their calendar and schedule a meeting right on the spot. As a result, you book more client calls and close more sales.

    Nicolas meets Steve Jobs and has an epiphany

    While at Stanford, Nicolas got to attend a small meeting with Steve Jobs. His reaction: 

    “Everyone said he was the best salesperson in the world. And theoretically, salespeople have lots of empathy. Well, the guy sitting in front of me was super inspiring, but he didn’t strike as someone with much empathy.”

    And that set Nicolas off to learn more about a number of topics to help him figure out that dilemma.

    Nicolas concluded what you really need to be a good salesperson is not empathy (which is feeling other people’s feelings), but the ability to recognize and understand other people’s feelings.

    For example, if your prospect is getting frustrated during your sales call, the last thing you want to do is get frustrated yourself, which is what a highly empathetic person would do. What you want to do is be able to stay calm but recognize the signals that they’re frustrated and figure out why so you can change that.

    And that ability will help you identify objections or opportunities in a conversation that you might not otherwise know about.

    Some of the books and articles that came up were:



    * Neuroeconomics: Chapter 27 – Theory of Mind and Empathy

    * Mindset, by Carol Dweck

    * Sell with a Story, by Paul Smith

    * Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss



    You can find out more about Nicolas and Chili Piper at their website here: chilipiper.

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

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!!!

179dfrsa ,

WOW!

How to manipulate others for your own gain..parasitic, narcissistic, sociopathic!
Know your enemy, good podcasts to listen to before making a major purchase.

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