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Love and the art of storytelling for sales. How to be your own Monet


We all have our own visions of success at different times in our lives. When I started in sales, I was a senior in high school and my vision of success was basic. I was bagging groceries at the local grocery store, it was a thankless job, I was burning out fast and I hated it.


All I wanted to do was find a job that I could make $200-$300 per week and not be stuck in a store all day long.


One day I was walking around a swap meet and I saw a guy pitch selling carpet shampoo. It was brilliant. He was demonstrating how to clean carpets and it seemed like he was making good money. Wow, I thought, I can do that.


At the end of the day, I asked him how I could do what he was doing, and he offered to teach me. I bought carpets, oil to get them dirty, and a large supply of LOVE Carpet and Upholstery cleaner. My new product.


I practiced the sales pitch, and got myself a vendor space at the Roadium swap meet in Torrance CA. As I started that first day, I realized that I had two fears. Speaking in front of large crowds and getting people to buy. After all, I was selling two bottles of an unknown carpet cleaner for $5.00. Was I out of my mind? How was I possibly going to make $300-$400 a day?


My first hour was a complete disaster and I thought, “this is never going to work”. I found myself in another job that would be no fun and make no money. Then I remembered something my mentor told me. “In sales you must be an artist with your words”. You have to paint a picture for people, you have to be your own Monet. I shifted my strategy that morning and started telling a carpet cleaning story.


I started cleaning my carpets and as people walked by I told the story of Love Carpet and Upholstery cleaner. I painted a picture of a product that was color fast and safe to use on carpets, upholstery and all fabrics. I let people know that it was safe for pets and even told a story of my dog licking the carpets while I was cleaning them and seeing my beautiful dog with while foam all over her mouth and how relieved I was to know that she was totally fine. Next, I took it a step further, and drank a sip of the cleaner. While I was talking, I was actively demonstrating the difference in cleaning power and ease of use of Love Carpet and Upholstery cleaner compared to Glory carpet cleaner (the top brand at the time). Finally, I boasted about offering a full money back guarantee.


As I did this people started to gather around and watch me and I began pitch all over again, telling the story of how we all have dirty carpets and the benefit of using Love Carpet and Upholstery cleaner.


By the end of the day, I had made $800 and I started averaging between $1,000 and $2,000 per day. The only difference was that I was evolving as a storyteller, and I was painting the picture of how to easily clean your carpets risk free as opposed to selling features and benefits.


A few years later I was a national accounts manager with SPRINT Telecommunications, and I found myself in front of a group of Japanese businessmen who spoke very little English. This was a potentially large sale to a big book publisher, and I needed to effectively explain how our network operated and how it would benefit their company. I needed to convey all this information without words of art or technical speak and I quickly fell back on my swap meet training and painted a picture with my words about the reliability of the SPRINT network and how it would benefit them. I made the sale and retained this account for the next several years.


So, how can you become your own Monet? Remember these important takeaways:


1. Storytelling will engage your prospect. People love stories and their mind will less likely wonder if you are painting a picture with your words.


2. Story telling will make your presentation memorable. Painting a positive picture for your client about how you helped a client with a similar problem is far more effective than spitting out statistics and facts and figures.


3. Do not use words of art. Prospects do not want to hear words of art and if you use a word that they do not understand they will most likely not ask you what you meant.

4. Practice your story telling so that you know who your main character is and how you solved their pain point. Be sure you can convey this clearly and effectively.


5. Personalize your story.



6. Know where your story is taking you so you can effectively use it to close the sale.


7. Most important, Practice, Practice, Practice.



Do you use story telling effectively when you sell? Let me hear about some of your wins!


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