Kids remember stories (Buyers do too!)

Stories are easy to remember

Getting clients, prospects or family and friends to remember something is never easy. We go through our daily lives and get interrupted 10’s, 100’s times a day. So, how do you, as a sales professional get someone to remember you? Or more importantly remember the value you bring? The easiest and most proven way is via stories, not data or features.

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.’ ―Muriel Rukeyser

Case in point, I was with my wife and she wanted me to go to the grocery story. I had to get a handful of items and pick up some adult beverages for our Labor Day picnic.  She verbal gave me a list of 7 or 8 items bread, mustard, cheese. In addition we needed wine coolers and beer. I went on my way and stopped by the beer distributor got the wine coolers and beer. When I got the grocery store I got the bread, mustard and cheese. But for the life of me, couldn’t remember the rest of the list. I know I should have written it down, right!

Serial Position Effect

Keep this story in mind when speaking with clients and prospects. We can’t always tell them to write down what’s important. They will recall what they think is important. Unless you specifically identify what is important for them. When you list stats, features and benefits, buyers will remember the first and last item in the lists. The reason is Serial Position effect.  Simply it means that you will generally remember the first item or two in a list. This is because people rehearse the first item in their mind each time after items are added. So the first item is repeated in the mind each time a new item is added to the list. In one word, it’s Repetition. On the other hand the last item is usually remembered because it is still in active memory. Whereas everything else in the middle is more easily forgotten.

How to create a memorable story

So how do we get around our facts, features and benefits being forgotten? Create a story! You are more likely to remember this article simply because I told you a story about going shopping. My wife gave me a list of items and I forgot some it.  Though I remembered the wine coolers and beer. 🙂

We are taught to consume information in the form of stories since we were young, really young. When we are young our stories are pretty straightforward. They have a simple structure we can model our sales stories after:

  • Beginning
    • For kids: Once a upon a time.
    • For a sales: “I was recently speaking with a VP of Sales for a Fortune 500 company…”
  • Problem
    • For kids: bad guys were robbing a bank
    • For sales: “they were overspending on training and not seeing results” or “they were not able to engage their employees enough, so they had high turnover”
  • Resolution
    • For kids: Spiderman came and caught the bad guys and returned all the money and everyone felt safe again.
    • For sales: “They really loved that personalized training that produced an immediate ROI” or “Through sharing video from top executives, employees better understood the direction of the company and saw how they added value and turnover was cut in half in 3 months.”

In closing

You can see the natural flow of the story here. Someone of authority shared a concern and had a positive outcome. This will be more memorable and stand out more than listing stats about cutting turnover by half in 3 months.

There are many ways to use stories in your sales calls, including:

  • to answer questions, concerns or objections
  • throughout your demo or presentations
  • to turn cold calls into warm calls.The important point is use stories to get your prospects to remember you and the value you bring. Get to work building your story!

Reading that inspired this piece: