What’s Your Story? How Well Does It Sell?

storytelling storyselling

Who doesn’t like a good story? When you think of the times you were most wrapped up in a conversation, I’d bet you were listening intently to someone unfolding a good story. Why? Because a good story connects people like a common and universal language.

The power of a good story was brought home while I was reading Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. The book focuses on why developing a story that puts the customer as the hero of his/her own story is a powerful marketing strategy. Miller (2017) shares that every successful story has specific elements and events: (1) a character, (2) a problem, (3) character meets guide, (4) guide gives plan, (5) character is inspired to action, and (6) success results or failure is avoided. Blockbusters have proved this theme to be true over and over again as exemplified in such movies as Star Wars and Hunger Games.

What makes for a good story? A good story answers three specific questions: (1) What the hero wants? (2) Who or what is opposing the hero of getting it? and (3) What the hero’s life will look like if he or she gets it? If you’re marketing your business, you need to answer those questions and answer them fast with the least amount of noise.

Miller (2017) asserts that successful businesses have developed websites and marketing materials that within 5 seconds of looking at them, potential customers can answer:

  • What the business offers?
  • How the product or service will make their life better?
  • What they need to do to buy it?

How do your marketing materials stand up to the storyline test? Do they clearly and succinctly communicate what problem you solve and the impact to the customer? Do they challenge the customer to act? If the answer is not a resounding “yes” to all these questions, perhaps you should revamp your marketing and advertising. You’ll be happy you did but be forewarned that making these changes will be harder than you think. Most people are not conditioned to think in this way when designing marketing materials.

Reference

Miller, D. (2017). Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen. Nashville, TN: HarperCollins.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

See Your Revenue Increase When You Switch from Sales Training to Sales Coaching

Sales Growth

Will 2020 be the year when companies have 20/20 vision on how to implement an effective sales training process that delivers the expected and sought-after performance? With US-based companies spending nearly $20 billion per year on sales training, why do they settle for traditional sales programs where 85% of the content is lost within 90 days (SRG, 2018)? The more effective program is strategic and tactical coaching which can potentially increase revenue by 20%.

Ideally, the sales manager would be the coach; however, most sales leaders don’t have the coaching skills or time to invest in their sales staff. For this and other reasons, an external sales coach can be part of the sales training solution—working with the sales leader and meeting one-on-one with a sales rep on day 30, 60, and 90 after the initial training. In most scenarios, sales coaching in itself brings substantial and sustainable benefits regardless of whether formal training is part of the process.

A coach can help the sales professional with approaches to new accounts or how to sell deeper with an existing client. A coach can also help the sales team to:

  • identify and overcome specific account obstacles
  • prioritize accounts based on risk/reward
  • create specific customer strategies
  • review and understand contributors to success
  • develop plans for improvement
  • build general sales skills in preparation and execution
  • increase sales team cohesiveness and teamwork

More companies are realizing the value of individual coaching for its sales team. Group training can still be part of the process, but to sustain the impact of the training investment it should be paired with one-on-one coaching. Coaching is the sign of the future. Are you ready to get on board and make more effective use of your training dollars?

Reference

Sales Readiness Group. (2018). Maximizing the Effectiveness of Sales Training: Five Factors for Developing Sustainable Selling Skills.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Is DISC in Your Sales Tool Kit?

discprofilewheelSalespeople are usually seeking ways to connect with customers, and some of the most strategic utilize the power of DISC. If you haven’t heard of the DISC personality profile, it’s an acronym representing four behavioral styles: dominance (D), influence (I), steadiness (S), and conscientiousness. People can be a mixture of all four but typically act out behaviors that align with one or a blend of two primary styles. Strategic salespeople leverage the power of DISC by adjusting their approach, words, presentation, and pace to the prospects’ preferred style and the role the customer plays as influencer, approver, decision-maker, or recommender.

DISC (www.discprofile.com) measures (1) the degree a person naturally prefers to be outgoing as opposed to reserved and (2) the extent to which a person is people- versus task-oriented. Although there are many exceptions, people who gravitate toward finance, accounting, and analysis are typically strong C’s. CEOs tend to be D-driven. Commonly, salespeople are strong I’s, which explains why they typically approach their clients with enthusiasm, as if they too are I’s. Strong S-people are drawn toward jobs where they can support teams such as Human Resources and Training & Development.

Salespeople should ask enough questions to determine what behavior styles each client favors. The clients’ preferences and role they play in the purchase decision should influence how the salesperson approaches the sales process. For example, “C” clients will prefer to know the facts, measure the ROI, thoroughly understand the alternatives, and focus on efficiency. They will likely ask a lot of questions and may extend the sales process until they get answers. On the other hand, a “D” client will be about action. Once D’s decide something needs to be addressed, they look to solve it and solve it fast, so they can move on to the next decision that needs to be made. Salespeople should focus on the benefits and minimize the details; otherwise, they will lose the attention of this decision-maker.

High-performing salespeople intentionally get to know the personalities and behaviors of their clients and adapt their style to match. They don’t have a one-size fits all approach. Although salespeople have a tool kit, the DISC personality assessment can be one of their most effective tools when they know how to use it.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Consistent Success: Are You Doing This One Thing?

success

After studying the attitudes and behaviors of successful people, Gschwandtner (2018) proposes there are 5 key attributes common among successful people in any profession. Consistently successful people do the following:

  1. Understand and operate with strong core values
  2. Focus intently on a life goal or mission
  3. Build and architect their lives
  4. Manage their career decisions wisely
  5. Practice persistence and consistency

As a Leadership and Life Coach, I work with individuals to help them increase performance in one or more of these areas. Driving on one attribute, let alone all five, can be daunting depending upon where one stands on the continuum.

For people who want to make changes that deliver consistent success, I suggest starting with a Core Values Evaluation to understand the top values that drive who they are. They are the foundation upon which everything else is built. If one doesn’t design a life upon his or her core values, the structure will be shaky, and in many cases, may crumble under its emptiness.

Coaching can help drive improvement in each of these behaviors shared among successful people. Ask me how I can help you become more successful in the ways you define life success.

Reference

Gschwandtner, G. (2018), Five Tips to Achieve Consistent Success, Selling Power, July 2018.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Sales Success: Where do You Focus First?

Zig ziglar

As a coach, I’m an advocate of always having a vision for every area of your life, whether it be marriage, career, or what you want to accomplish in the position you currently have. In my opinion, salespeople have some additional pressures, because their success is usually dependent on influencing others as opposed to working on tasks that are easily self-controlled. You could say that sales people have pressure to “close the deal” by the “close of business” which is no small task.

With so much emphasis on closing the deal, where does the salesperson spend most of his or her time, energy, and effort with a customer? A search for the best sales training would have you believe it’s anywhere but the beginning, as promotions abound for “selling with stories,” “driving to a close,” and “sales presentation training.” I’m sure there are useful insights delivered by each program, but what I believe is missing is how to take the very first step with the customer, which is the farthest point from winning the deal.

Instead of focusing on the end, I suggest the focus be on taking the first successful step with the customer. You’ll never have the opportunity to make a second first impression, and a first impression is made within the first 10 seconds. Studies show there are two questions a person will try to answer about you when they first meet you: (1) Can I trust you? and (2) Are you competent?

Maybe the best way to successfully close business is to focus on how to open business—the first conversation. I’m not referring to idle chit-chat or talking about your credentials. Forget about the weather or traffic, which are meaningless banter. I’m talking about forming a genuine connection based on finding out who you know in common or asking questions about your prospect’s background?

If you’re good with your opening, your customers will be able to answer “yes” to their two burning questions. When you earn trust and credibility, usually everything else that follows falls into place.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com