Sell with a Story

How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale

 Sell with a Story

Author: Paul Smith
Pub Date: September 2016
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437117
Page Count: 304
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437124

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SELL WITH A STORY

How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale

“Instead of being viewed as a pitchman, a compelling story helps you come across as the value-creator, professional problem solver, and consultant you so badly want to be…If you’re serious about increasing your effectiveness as a communicator and looking to transform your sales results, Sell with a Story is for you.”

—Mike Weinberg, Consultant, Speaker, and Author of the AMACOM Bestsellers New Sales. Simplified. and Sales Management. Simplified.

Storytelling, as Motorola, Nike, P&G, 3M, and other companies recognize, can be a highly effective tool beyond employee training and brand building. Business leaders increasingly use stories to reinforce shared values, motivate peak performance, ignite innovation, and more. Marketers rely on stories for brand building. And in the sales trenches, the most effective salespeople use stories. The least effective just have a sales pitch.

“Stories sell,” attests Paul Smith, acclaimed author on harnessing the power of storytelling for leadership and parenting. Plus, as he assures salespeople across the board: “Storytelling can be can be developed like any other professional skill and added to whatever sales process you’re currently using.” In his new book, SELL WITH A STORY: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale (AMACOM 2016), Smith offers anyone in the business of selling a competitive edge on persuading and influencing prospective buyers, developing and maintaining relationships with customers, and building loyalty.

What is a sales story? Paul Smith starts by answering this crucial question, with attention to the six attributes—a time, a place, a main character, an obstacle, a goal, and events—that distinguish a story from a sales pitch and other narratives. From there, he moves on to cover why, what, and when salespeople should tell stories; how to come up with these stories; and, most importantly, how to craft and deliver them for maximum impact.

Drawing on in-depth, one-on-one interviews with professional buyers and sellers at over 50 companies, SELL WITH A STORY makes a powerful case for telling stories to appeal to buyers’ emotions, which rule over logic in decision-making. It identifies the 25 kinds of stories—for introducing yourself to the buyer, building rapport, making the sales pitch, handling objections, negotiating price, closing the sale, and more—that sales pros need to have in their storytelling repertoire. Then, it delves into the how to. Readers will learn:

• The elements of a great story and the key to engaging buyers: emphasizing a relevant challenge—an obstacle or a villain the main character must confront.

• How to incorporate challenge, conflict, and a resolution into a story in a way that directly relates to what they’re selling.

• Tips for telling stories that pack an emotional punch without crossing listeners’ intimacy threshold (which varies by culture) or manipulating their emotions.

• Techniques for telling interesting stories with data, weaving surprises into sales stories, and keeping stories short and on point.

• Where to find great stories and how to embellish a story without stretching the truth…and much more.

Packed with targeted exercises and enlightening stories from Microsoft, Abercrombie & Fitch, Costco, Xerox, Hewlett Packard, Kroger, Cushman & Wakefield, Amway, and dozens more, SELL WITH A STORY is a welcome guide to increasing sales success—and enjoyment.

About the Author

PAUL SMITH is a widely sought out speaker, coach, and trainer on business storytelling techniques whose clients include Hewlett Packard, Bayer Medical, Progressive Insurance, and Ford Motor Company. As the author of Lead with a Story (AMACOM, 2012), his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Time, Forbes, The Washington Post, Success, and Investor’s Business Daily. A former Procter & Gamble communications research executive with an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, he lives in suburban Ohio.

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