In Story Selling

Sales Story, Sales Leader, Donald Kelly, Paul SmithSell with a Story. Paul Smith is going to share with us a load of insights into how you can improve your storytelling so you can improve your sales.

Paul teaches the art and science of storytelling to leadership groups and sales teams. He helps people dive deeper into how they can craft their own stories to be much more effective.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Paul:

Paul’s impetus behind writing a book about storytelling:

  • Storytelling has not been thoroughly explored in terms of sales technique
  • Keep using whatever process you’re using but storytelling is something you can add to your skill set and your current process
  • Adding stories to your sales process and skill set can help you achieve more success

What is a sales story?

A story is a narrative about something that happened to somebody. A story has the following elements:

  • Time
  • Place
  • Main character
  • The goal of the main character
  • Someone or something getting in the way of that goal
  • Resolution
  • Events happening along the way

How to use a story effectively:

Don’t replace your sales pitch with a story; instead, add a story to your sales pitch.

Types of stories you can tell and add to your sales process:

  1. Value-adding story

It literally adds value to the product or service you’re selling and it makes it more valuable to your prospects. It creates an experience for your customers.

  1. Why I do what I do

This helps in the rapport-building part. Help the buyer understand why you’re even in the business you’re in.

  1. Founding of your company

Nobody ever started a company for a boring reason.

  1. How you’re different from your competitor
  2. Story about your product’s invention or discovery
  3. Explaining the problem

This is a story about the quintessential problem that your product or service is designed to solve that your buyer can relate with.

  1. Stories we tell ourselves

People that heard or told themselves stories about the benefits of what they’re doing for the customers did much better at sales than the ones that told people stories about themselves or didn’t tell stories at all.

  1. Stories you tell other salespeople in your company help them learn from your lessons
  2. Personal motivation story
  3. Stories to help people relax and take the stress off of a call

How to make clients tell their story:

  1. Shut up and listen

We tend to hate silence in conversations so we quickly fill it up with our own voice. Just be quiet for a moment and the other person will feel awkward that they’ll start to open up and share something.

  1. Ask open-ended questions about specific moments in time

“Tell me about the moment that you realized your biggest problem was your biggest problem.” Help them give you a specific kind of problem by asking a specific type of open-ended question.

  1. Find something in common

Look around the buyer’s office and find something personal to comment on or find something in common to elicit a story.

  1. You tell the story first

Tell the kind of story you want to hear and your buyer will reciprocate with a similar story.

Telling stories with data: The discovery journey story

  • Turn your ideas into their ideas. People are more passionate about pursuing their idea.
  • Tell the story about you and the analysis process you went through right up to the moment you had your brilliant idea and conclusion.
  • Stop and let them have that aha moment themselves.
  • Your idea becomes their idea because you let them have that aha moment themselves.

Donald Kelly, PandaDoc

Paul’s Major Takeaway:

Storytelling is a skill you can learn. You just have to study. Read a book on it. Take a class on it. Learn the skill and then put it to use.

Episode Resources:

Sell with a Story by Paul Smith

Connect with Paul Smith on and find his books and podcast.

List of 25 types of sales stories:

Create electronic proposals to your prospects quickly through PandaDoc. Sign and receive payments without leaving your CRM. Add videos or graphs that cater to their needs. Take advantage of their analytics. To get a quick demonstration and a free trial, go to

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

Recommended Posts
David Hooker, Prezi, Story Telling, The Sales Evangelist Podcas