As Sales Development Reps, you are always working to ensure that you are the best partner for your clients. Through your conversations, you are constantly finding ways to create those moments with your customers. The ones where you can show them that your product is exactly what they need for their business.
I thought more about these moments and came up with an interesting metaphor that seemed to fit this idea.
My mother is an artist. With this influence in mind, the idea of creating art actually works quite well with what we do as sellers every day. Especially with our team here at Demodesk — we are always trying to improve and make the customers feel like they are a part of what we are building.
So, what does art within the sales cycle look like exactly? How can this be done?
Well, to put it simply, create an artistic masterpiece through storytelling and building up your client relationship with insight and curiosity. Don’t simply create a doodle.
Let me explain further.
The power of storytelling in sales meetings
Have you ever been on a call or in a meeting and heard about a challenge that relates to your product offering? Have you ever dived in immediately and started demoing the product or told your prospect about this fantastic feature?
If you do this, then you are essentially drawing them a quick doodle of what the solution could look like with your product. It's scrappy, it doesn't take much time. And you’ve probably done it a million times before.
Sure you may close the deal if you have a great product-led platform, but overall the doodle itself isn’t worth much value. The deal is passed over to the Account Executive without much further discussion and the meeting ends up not happening. Ultimately, the customer didn't trust that you saw their vision and went elsewhere for their painting.
Compare this to gaining rich insights into your prospect's company and learning about their challenges and pains. Instead of trying to just sell your product, you are spending the time working with them on what the final product should look like based on their needs.
You want them to be excited. You highlight the value of your product and challenge them to ideas they didn't know even existed. Ultimately, you are building their trust that you can be their artist for this masterpiece.
Sometimes, we create quick doodles to service what we think a customer wants. We usually jump to conclusions without fully understanding what they want because we have drawn this painting multiple times before. Meanwhile, the masterpieces may take longer to create but are usually worth more to you and your client over time.
The difference between creating a doodle and a masterpiece can end up being the reason why you ultimately win the client.
3 Tips for using storytelling in your sales calls
Now that you understand the metaphor, how can you incorporate storytelling in sales? Where can you begin to implement the tools you need to create your masterpiece?
Humans, in general, are more hard-wired to connect to stories over straight data. In fact, there are whole studies related to the neuroscience behind storytelling in sales! So, by simply changing your sales approach from purely fact-based to story-based, you are already setting yourself up to create a unique piece of artwork with your customer.
Here are three tips from my most recent webinar with Sales Confidence on making masterpieces out of your prospect calls:
Tip 1: Create the solution with your prospect
Think about the last five deals you converted. Did you spend time listening to the customers' challenges? Did they work with you to solve the problem or did you just diagnose it for them? Maybe you just asked the questions from your checklist and simply wrote down their answers?
As an SDR, there is usually a set goal for every prospect call. Get the meetings scheduled, get a list of which tools they are using, etc. However, when you start to infuse curiosity into the equation, it can change the whole conversation.
When you begin to listen to understand, rather than just respond, you will find that the conversation naturally moves towards finding the right solution to their unique problem.
You still want to start by understanding what the customer's challenges are. But you also want to remember to follow up with genuine questions and a deeply caring mindset. This can make the difference between you and the next SDR.
As an example, let’s say a client tells you that they don’t have a budget yet. You can respond with a challenging, yet curious question like, “That’s really interesting. Most customers that speak to us have a timeframe they are working towards and usually have a budget. If we show you on this call that your expectations can be matched, how would you take it forward from here?”
Asking these types of curious questions is imperative to being a successful SDR and will help you throughout your career, regardless of where you go.
Tip 2: Ask the right questions
There is not one main masterpiece that is suited for everyone and their expectations. Artists paint in different styles and formats. One artist may use oils while another uses watercolors.
You may not always have the exact tools to create the artwork that the client wants, but it is up to you as the SDR to help them recognize how your company solves their challenges. Ultimately, use the palette you have to help your prospect understand why you should work together.
Asking the right questions and matching their vision of the deal is what gives the shape of your discovery calls. It also changes the quality of the deal when you hand it over to your AE.
Additionally, don't always expect it to be perfect. It's ok to fail in a deal. It’s how we learn to become better salespeople (or artists!). These lessons make us better and improve our skills for the next painting.
Tip 3: Seek out inspiration from your colleagues
Artists get their inspiration from other artists and SDRs should be no different. It is no secret that everyone sells differently. Here at Demodesk, we shadow each other's calls and meetings to learn how other reps are overcoming objections, pitching the products, and closing deals.
Being a good artist is having a keen eye for detail. It also means being able to understand how the other artist created that detail. How did they overcome their client’s challenges and solve their problem? How can you take that information and use it within your own painting?
Additionally, when reviewing your own painting, make sure to also receive feedback from the other artists on your team. By opening up the space for honest communication and helpful feedback, you can approach the next deal in a better way.
When you incorporate storytelling into sales, you are creating a more human-based connection with your clients. Building that relationship through trust, genuine interest, and reframing your approach can end up being the key to winning the client.
Begin to think of your deals as artwork and collaborate with the other artists on your team to help create a unique masterpiece for your client. Work with your customer to perfect your image.
Remember that your demo or product presentation is only a piece of your artwork. Be curious, ask thoughtful questions, and understand the unique perspectives for each of your client’s visions.
The art of sales is an ever-evolving one. Don’t expect to close every single deal or land every meeting. We become better artists through failure. Most importantly, remember that a masterpiece is a journey, not a destination.