Sales Stories: Are You Creating the Wrong Heroes?


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An outline of most sales stories that you will see goes something like this. First, you must grab their attention or the hook. Second, you tell them a relevant story that addresses their needs starting with the current state and the deficiencies or pain points, proceeding to describe the future state and how it will address those pain points and what other gains it may have and finally an ending that excites them to take action. A simple well thought out structure.

If you create a Value Model Map beforehand (Download the Value Model Mapping PDF), you can construct your stories more relative to the audience making sure that you can reach common ground. Look for that commonality to form analogies within your stories. Remember that not everyone has the same context and needs/gains within the organization you are selling.

People struggle with this context thinking that they need to be a hero for all of these participants. They think they need to have a feature and benefit to meet all the needs addressed. Sometimes, of course, we cannot meet them all, and we will have to prioritize. However, we strive to be a hero for everyone.

However, if you remove yourself, your organization from being the hero, your story becomes much more powerful. Tony Ulwick describes in his book, What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services, that three distinct outcomes are what organizations need to know in their marketing practices.

  • Jobs (to be Done) are the tasks or activities that customers are trying to get done
  • Outcomes are what customers are trying to achieve
  • Constraints something that may prevent a customer from using a product or service

If we stop telling stories about our product, but instead how the jobs are completed using our product, I think our sales stories become much more powerful and believable. However, to do this, you must no longer think of yourself as the hero but leave the customer become the hero. This develops a common language with your customer around which to discuss issues and build shared understanding.

Next time your are on a Hero’s Journey  make sure the reward does not stop with the purchase of your product. Rather, have it be the successful outcome of  your customer’s job. Everyone enjoys being a Hero, don’t they?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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