How much does a polar bear weigh?
Answer: Enough to break the ice.
Okay, maybe it’s the cheesiest pickup line ever, but it accomplishes an important task: it opens the door to conversation.
The best sales conversation starters do the same. They tell a short story to open conversation — a story about what problem you can solve for other people and how it might help your prospect, too.
Make Your Story About the Solution
Successful companies don’t exist because people needed something to do. They exist because they solved someone’s problem.
Think about a screw company. No one said, “I’d just really like to make screws!” Instead, someone likely heard, “We need a screw for this material, and no one makes it.” They thought, “I could do it!” And now they have more orders than they can fill.
When you meet new prospects, center your story on the problem you solve. Explain, “Here’s what I do and here’s how it helps you.” It’s less about I and more about you. The story stays focused on the customer’s needs — you just happen to be delivering the solution.
With Callproof, sometimes when we’re meeting new prospects we don’t even show them the demo. Once we tell them why we exist, they say, “This is exactly what we need.” I just agree and show them where to sign.
People also like to know why you decided to solve the problem in the first place. Think about any reality show from Shark Tank to American Ninja Warrior. How do they introduce each contestant? They tell the story of why they do what they do. Why did they invent this new gadget? What pushed them to train so hard? Then, if we identify with their story, we’re rooting them on to the end. The story does two things: it captures our attention and then gives us something to believe in.
Apply this to sales. If you want people on board, start with a story worth listening to.
How to Tell Your Story
How do you come up with such a great hook for your future customers? First, describe how your company started. When were you first introduced to the problem you now solve?
Then think about your first two customers. What was their biggest problem and how did you help? What did your solution do for their business?
Sounds simple, right? But there’s a catch — you need to know why your customers use you. If you don’t know, ask them.
Once you identify the why, you’ll be able to tell a story that helps prospects envision how you’ll change things for them too.
Make the Sale
Then the story sells the product for you. You’ve built your pitch into the story when you tell them why people choose you. Don’t push a traditional sales pitch on them. You’ll never hear me spitting facts out about our 90% repeat customer rate, etc. Skip the statistics and stick with the story.
Then ask about them. What’s their story? They’ll tell you their story, the problem you solve will likely show up, and they’ll buy.
What About the Numbers?
When the conversation starts to get into the numbers and facts, be prepared. Either know the stats they want to know or set up a time for their technical people to connect with your technical people. Just keep the stats in perspective. The story will sell better than the fact sheet any day.
In case you’re still wondering about those polar bears, the females tip the scales at about 550 pounds and males at 990.