Why Storytellers Make Up The Best Sales Teams

Olin Hyde
December 8, 2017

When it comes to building a sales team, a lot of us look at the wrong things. We tend to focus in on the items that might sound nice, but don’t exactly equate to much, like the buzzwords they use or if they have a “sales mentality.” However, while those are images of what a lot of us think a traditional salesperson is, the ones that are able to tell a story will win every time.

As we’ve discussed before, AI will have a huge impact on marketing, those that focus on quantity over quality will begin to start falling by the wayside. While that might sound ambitious, the busy work is going away, leaving room for those who can really tell a story as the frontrunners to bringing you more business. Here’s why:

The Art Of The Storyteller

Everyone loves a good storyteller. Whether it be our friend who has one too many great tales or a podcast we find so fascinating, it’s a talent we become enraptured in. Part of this deals with the imagination, being engulfed in another time for a second, while the other aspect heavily relies on value. Stories give something meaning, as they tap into a special bond between the teller and the audience. And in sales, that bond is everything.

This theory is one that’s been proven time and time again. In fact, in a study presented by AdWeek, participants were given an example of a product- one with a basic description while the other had a story behind the product. The result? The product with a story was perceived up to 11% more valuable, giving an extra boost to the price.

When hiring for your sales team, try having them tell you a story about a product or service they’re familiar with. Focus on the elements that make the tale unique, including the details in how they bring you in, as well as how they make a connection to what’s being sold the focal point. The overarching goal is to see how well they think on their feet, as well as their ability to be personable and relatable.

Good Listeners Make Great Waves

An overlooked aspect of a great storyteller isn’t necessarily how well they can use words, but how well they can listen. As sales is all about relationship building, a storyteller worth bringing on doesn’t just listen to hear what’s going on with a client, but to genuinely understand them. In fact, talking too much can be the #1 element that turns a lot of potential leads off, because as noted by Hubspot, 69% of respondents believed that listening to their needs was the biggest thing that salespeople lacked.

To test this with your team, sit in on some calls and see how often they’re asking questions. Additionally, have them recite back some main points that the potential client addressed, as well as how your product can help. Remember, sales isn’t about just landing the deal, but actually solving a customer’s problem. And by listening more, your team will have plenty of stories to relay to others on how your product could help future prospects.

Social Creatures

Social media is one of the strongest sources for your inbound efforts, which is a place storytellers thrive. While it’s somewhat unrealistic to bring on a verified influencer with thousands of fans, it is possible to bring on someone that’s mastered engagement. Why? Because their network already puts you ahead of the competition.

When screening candidates, see what their online presence looks like. Do they have a blog? Are they regularly posting their materials to their Twitter or LinkedIn? These are practices that some of the best have learned to capitalize on, because as Business2Community notes, approximately 80% of inbound b2b leads come from LinkedIn. Which, when forming your perfect sales team, social should be a strategy you take into consideration when gauging how successful they might be.

Believers Become Evangelists

If there’s one thing that makes a story even more powerful, it’s one that we heard from our family or friends. I know it might sound silly, but despite how much we put into advertising, marketing, and data, the classic form of word of mouth advertising is still, by far, the most powerful.

According to a survey by Nielsen, 84% of respondents said they’d trust the word of someone they know over any brand. And although it might seem unrealistic to track down those a candidate has worked with in the past, utilizing their social media profiles and web presence will give you a good acumen as to how far their recommendations have lasted. All-in-all, the more people gravitate towards what they say, the better off their word-of-mouth will be, which is exactly what can help take your business to the next level.

What are some key qualities you look for in your sales team? Comment with your answers below.

Further Reading

Olin Hyde
April 8, 2020
. 5 min read
Lainey Mebust
October 10, 2019
Olin Hyde
August 18, 2019