Value-based stories can benefit sellers in many ways. Not only do they engage prospects with storytelling, but they also help reps establish credibility. Credibility is increasingly important to buyers, especially now that most sales take place virtually. “Buyers diligently protect themselves and are increasingly able to evaluate possible solutions on their own,” writes Julie Thomas for the Training Industry blog. “Value-based credibility introductions help salespeople capture a buyer’s attention, engage authentically and establish trust early in the sales process.”
Thomas discusses three common questions that salespeople have in regard to value-based stories:
- “What are the critical components of a value-based story?”
- "How do less experienced reps craft compelling stories?"
- "Do credibility introductions have a time limit?"
What are the critical components of a value-based story?
First, Thomas addresses sellers’ uncertainty about how to craft a value-based story. She suggests that they begin by considering the prospect. One must understand what the prospect faces and needs in order to share a story that will be impactful. Successful stories will highlight challenges that are plaguing the prospect. They also show how you addressed those problems in the past. This is what will add value to the story, which is key. “Sales reps must be able to provide concrete examples of cases where the company’s solutions were able to add measurable value,” she explains.
While the storytelling aspect engages and keeps their interest, the connection and value drives them to want to learn more. Prospects will also be impressed that you’ve done your research and understand their needs.
How do less experienced reps craft compelling stories?
Coming up with value-based stories may seem challenging for reps new to the industry or even new to a company. But, Thomas reassures sellers that no matter their experience, they can still create compelling stories. They can even use examples from their company's past, before they were hired, for a story. “Past case studies are effective fodder for value-based stories and fill the gap between imagined impact and measurable results, providing the vital specifics that reps require to demonstrate that they understand the buyer’s critical business issues,” she explains. Also, consider telling a story that is based on the future rather than the past. A previous Media Sales Today post suggested making the prospect, rather than the product, the “hero” of the story. “Explain how the prospect will use what you’re selling to solve a problem or boost their company’s success,” it suggests.
Do credibility introductions have a time limit?
Succinct value-based stories are ideal. Thomas doesn’t put a specific time limit on these stories. But, she does point out that prospects won’t pay attention for very long. Remember, you must demonstrate value to the prospect with these stories; rambling for long periods of time likely won’t do that. You need to show that you are experienced, knowledgeable and credible, and to do it efficiently. She recommends choosing one or two important elements to discuss in the story: “Focus on the prospect and foster engagement rather than including every relevant point in [your] value-based story.”
While crafting these stories, keep in mind that this engagement, and showcasing your credibility, are the ultimate goals. Now, more than ever, sales reps with credibility rise to the top. As Thomas explains, “In a challenging economy, it’s common for prospects to guard themselves, which is why it’s critical to instill the importance of value-based credibility…”