Sales Storytelling: I couldn’t remember. So, I did not say

I couldn’t remember, so, I did not say is what leads to wasted sales opportunities. I learnt this at Paul Smith‘s Book Club on SPI and I am so glad that I attended this book club.

Why am I glad?

Well, its simple. When you want to learn something you look for information but the problem we face is in finding relevant information that makes you say, ” I am so glad I found this”. The book club with Paul Smith was exactly that – A relevant platform because I walked away learning something new.

What did I learn?

Let’s try to answer this with example of John who is head of sales for an IT firm and how he communicates in 2 pitching scenarios

John is pitching to a manufacturing client and at one stage he says

Scenario 1

“Our client’s regularly express concerns over production defects and we have been able to help our clients bring down these defects phenomenally with the use of our technology”

Scenario 2

We have many manufacturing clients in a similar situation. In fact Maria from XYZ who we worked with last month was in a similar situation and when I met her she said'” our manufacturing defects are effecting the business so much that if we don’t do something we are going to have to reduce head counts “.The problem was serious but in one month with the use of our technology they were able to reduce manufacturing defects by around 45%. Maria was very pleased with the outcome

Which one sounds more compelling to you?

If your answer is scenario 2, then you are like most people.

But the key thing to notice here is even if you tell John that scenario 2 is a better way to communicate, he will still want to speak like in scenario 1. Knowing fully well that his sales storytelling is falling on deaf ears.

Why?

Because in John’s word ” I don’t remember the exact % . I know its around 45% but I am not sure what exactly it was. I can’t remember what were Maria’s exact words. I don’t want to make stuff up. I couldn’t remember. So, I did not say

Scenario 1 is a wasted opportunity. If the % was 44.78 % and you said 45% its absolutely fine. The client won’t come back and call that a lie. If you do not remember what exactly Maria said. Its ok, as long as the implication of what she actually said and what you are saying is the same. We waste several opportunities because we think we are embellishing our stories. Be accurate but don’t fuss over precision. In an effort to be precise you are wasting opportunities.

In business sales storytelling, 

Accuracy is important

not precision 

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