A Compelling Sales Narrative

by Chris Arlen on October 18, 2013

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Compelling Sales NarrativeMaking a sale can hang on a single question: “How compelling is your story to your customer?”

A compelling sales narrative should be baked into customer conversations, written or spoken. It’s the warp and weft of sales proposals; the theme and through-line of showtime presentations.

2 Components of a Compelling Sales Narrative

For a sales narrative to be compelling it starts with a classical business theme and is then painted with local color.

Classical Business Themes

Every customer’s job is to accomplish one or both of the following:

1) To reduce costsĀ  -and/or-
2) To improve performance

“To improve performance” may be to:

* Increase revenue, profit, sales, etc.
* Improve brand value, productivity, output, quality, etc.
* Enhance any other performance area

Since all customers deal with these classical business themes, sales reps only have to figure out which one(s) are pertinent to their individual customer.

And once that’s determined, then the sales rep can make it personal by painting it with local color.

Painting with Local Color

Local color is another way of describing the specifics a customer is experiencing, i.e. their pain points or desired gains.

Starting from the classical theme, local color makes it specific to a customer’s unique situation – at the market, business, departmental and individual level.

Local color makes it personal.

For example, a classical theme may be to increase sales. Painting it with local color then takes it to

“increase sales by 7% annual compound over the next three years in the new Northeast territory, with more than 50% of increased sales coming from the high-profitability XYZ product line.

And, make those sales using the customer’s expensive but rarely used CRM system, which will help realize ROI for the CRM’s purchase and provide air cover for the customer’s boss who spent lots of political and financial capital to get her CRM in place.”

The last paragraph typically wouldn’t include the mention of the customer’s boss in the written proposal. But depending on the sales rep’s comfort and trust with their customer , may be spoken of directly.

It’s certainly critical to know and include in conversations, just with the sensitive information removed for the medium (written or spoken) and the audience (customer and/or their boss).

The Story Comes Together

A compelling sales narrative is not born in the first conversation between sales rep and customer.

Through consultative sales questioning, relationship building and business savvy, sales reps pick up the business intel that helps them move from classical themes to painting with local color.

Once the local color is applied, the story is personal for that customer. And the more local color, the more compelling the story. Bada bing, bada boom and there’s your sale.

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