I attended the Association of Professional Sales insights seminar this morning. What a brilliant session it was too.

Mike Adams, all the way over from Australia, kicked things off with the power of storytelling in sales.  For a salesperson to tell a story, it has to feature :

  • A sequence of related events
  • Time & a place
  • A Character, this can be you or one of your clients - the person listening has to be able to put themselves in the character's shoes.
  • Ideally an element of surprise.
  • A business-related point.

You need to be able to connect and build trust, sell the change and get the decision.

Ideally, you also need to be able to create a "story exchange" - you lead in with a story and then the person listening, responds with a story of their own.

There is also a typical pattern that a success story follows - those who write case studies take note!

Mike expertly guided us through his thinking, practicing what he preached by interspersing his own stories, both personal and those of his clients.

We cannot ignore that emotions play a huge part in how we buy, and using the power of stories in a selling environment is really powerful to tap into this.

The one piece of advice that really struck a chord was this :

You cannot change an anti-story, a wrong belief that your prospect/client may have about your product or service, with facts. You have to tell a better story to the anti-story that influences a change in this belief.

How many times have you found yourself in this situation where the prospects believe something to be true, you throw all logical facts at them, and still no dice. Tell a story of another customer who was in the same place and what did they do to overcome this belief.

We were then put into the capable hands of Nicole Soames to guide us through the inner sanctum of our emotional intelligence.

Nicole opened with what is emotional intelligence EQ vs IQ.

IQ is pretty much fixed. EQ is a skill and can be learned over time. Your natural levels of emotional intelligence rise and fall with age, peaking mid-30s (ish). One sign that your levels of emotional intelligence may be waning as one gets older is our patience for things diminishes.

What was interesting to hear was that a piece of research from Carnegie that "reveals that 85 percent of a person’s financial success is due to social skills such as your personality and the ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Surprisingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge. "

In short, it is more about who you are as a person over how much you know.

Nicole describes this as having a "set of emotional and social skills that are most effective at influencing others"

These can be broken down into these 4 areas :

A couple of points Nicole made stood out for me:

Listen beyond the words. Hearing is involuntary, listening is a skill, how do you really listen to your prospects and clients when they are talking to you. 

The other, which is the title of this post - Be ambitious for your clients, which I really like. Push yourself and them to the stretch of your comfort zones.

The session was closed by Andrew Hough of the APS. He was sharing the results from their Pulse Survey, They asked 2 simple questions, with a series of multiple-choice answers.

Question 1 - What are your main priorities as a Seller for 2020

Question 2 - What are your main concerns as a Seller for 2020

Top answer to both questions :

Work-Life Balance.

Your sales teams want a better work-life balance, but they are worried that they are not going to get it.

Food for thought.

Thank you to the team at The Association of Professional Sales and Schlumberger for hosting us this morning, it was well worth the time spent.

Headline Photo by Arteum.ro on Unsplash