How Salespeople Can Tell a Story: A Burger and Bill Gates

I read a great article in Fast Company about the founder of Yammer Adam Pisoni and his go-to success story about a burger. In a crucial meeting with Bill Gates he needed to convey the value of Yammer to help companies be more responsive. Adam told a story about restaurant chain Red Robin. Here is an excerpt from the article about Adam’s story.

“They released a new type of burger at a handful of restaurants, the Tavern Burger, and allowed servers to directly and instantly communicate with the product’s creators on Yammer. This allowed kitchens to literally iterate on the burger within the same day based on what customers were saying,” Pisoni explains. With a change in communication, the company empowered its employees, responded immediately to customer feedback, increased their rate of experimentation and decreased the cost of failure. And they rolled that new burger out in four weeks—down from the 18 months it usually took to launch a new product. Pisoni’s story was a slam-dunk, and he got heads nodding about why organizations should be built for agility.

Have a Story

Buyers want to hear stories from salespeople about how other customers use their products and services to help solve the problems they have or even better the problems they don’t know they have. In a study conducted by Forrester 78% of executive buyers state that salespeople they meet with don’t have relevant case studies or stories to share with them. Two out of ten salespeople have stories, who do you think gets the next meeting?

Every sale your company makes is a story. A customer who used your product or service to improve their life can be made into a story you can tell prospects. The burger story that Pisoni describes to Bill Gates takes less than a minute to tell and I bet every Yammer salesperson tells the story to other restaurant companies.

A success story doesn’t have to be a 15 page white paper or a 10 page case study. Although important in the buyer’s journey a relevant short story your prospect can relate to builds trust. 33% of buyers believe what a salesperson tells them but 92% of buyers believe what another buyer tells them. Buyers want to hear a story.

If you are in sales and you want to know what your teammates are doing to win deals you might have to wait until the weekly or monthly sales meeting or even worse the annual sales kickoff meeting to hear a story you could have used months ago, and by that time a competitor has closed a deal with your prospect. You might have to wait until marketing creates a white paper or case study missing more opportunities to help a prospect.

Like the burger story sales teams need to directly and instantly communicate with teammates who just won a deal. Sales teams need to ask questions of the winner on how they won the deal, what where the challenges and how they overcame them in a matter of minutes. They need to know the industry and the job title of the customer and how the customer used your product or service to solve a problem. Sales teams need to know to find similar prospects in LinkedIn or their lead database and share a great story with them in an email, phone call, and LinkedIn or blog post.

Anyone who watches sports can relate to a head coach being interviewed by Erin Andrews after a big win. “How did you overcome a 30 point deficit in the first half to come back and win coach?” Although your sales team may not ever be interviewed by Erin Andrews after they win a big deal who wouldn’t mind the CEO of their company with an immediate congrats and a question or two on how you did it?

In many ways, creating sales stories isn’t hard. Give your team access to a tool to instantly communicate freely wherever they are about the latest win is actually pretty easy. Try a new communication tool or add a communication tool to every sales win and watch better leads and more sales come in.

About the Author

Bryan Colyer has been consulting athletes, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 executives for 25 years. He is the founder of FastaSales, helping sales teams create stories that inspire their customer to buy their products and services.

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