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Storytelling in Sales: Becoming the Trusted Guide

Doc Hudson is the Trusted Guide for Lightning McQueen in Cars

 

There are three elements needed in every message that sellers send to prospects to tell a compelling story. Properly aligning the value proposition of your product or service to include the roles of Heroes, Villains, and Guides will help you create great stories. These stories can help you connect with a prospective customer at an emotional level. 

I've talked a lot already about building narrative story frameworks around outbound sales messages to construct personalized messages that are persuasive and entice action. I've also identified the heroes and villains of your buyer's journey

With that out of the way, it's finally time to talk about where sales reps fall into buyer success stories… as the trusted Guide. 
 

Your Sales Team has the Most Important Role

Sales professionals often mistake their role in a prospect's story. Specifically, they think they can save the day as the Hero. Reps do this by using hero language in their sales process. It includes talking too much about their company, their awards, how long they have been in business, or how many customers they have. 

The problem is that prospects relate to stories where they are the Hero, not you.

So what is the role of a salesperson? It's to be the Guide. In any story, the Guide arguably plays the most crucial role in the story because they teach the Hero to see their need, not their desire. Let me give you an example. 

In the movie Cars, Lightning McQueen desires to win the Piston Cup. But along the way, in a series of conflicts, Lightning McQueen meets Doc Hudson (the Guide). Doc's role is to show Lightning McQueen the difference between his desire and his need. 

His Desire? To win the Piston Cup. His need? To transform from a selfish driver who is in it for himself to a team-oriented noble character who is in it for others. 

How does Doc help Lightning transform? He does it by showing him Empathy, Authority, and a Plan. These are the same elements sellers need to communicate with prospects in their cold outreach. 

Empathy - Telling a prospect that your company knows the pain and how frustrating it can go a long way. This can be subtle or overt, but a great Guide says, "this will be alright." But Empathy without Authority loses its value. 

Authority - Show the prospect that your business is equipped, based on experience, to help the prospect transform. Authority is the opportunity for you to sprinkle in your domain knowledge. Saying, "We've helped X number of customers like you solve this same problem, " tells the customer that it's okay. We have been on the Hero's journey you are trying to go on. It can be painful, but we have the knowledge and tools to help. 

A Plan - Show the prospect that you can hold their hand by a set of action steps to help them go from one place to a better place. In the case of outbound prospecting. You must lay out your business plan to support this prospect, including a series of next steps. Make it simple. What are the 2 or 3 things your company does to help customers like me solve the problem that others have had and that you have helped? 

Prospects trust authenticity. Place yourself in the correct role as a seller. Not as a Hero, but as a trusted Guide. Putting yourself in this role will yield results because the prospect will see you as the help they need to overcome their pain points and challenges.