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Why most stories will never help you sell but how yours can!

stories

The story is in the struggle.

If there is no struggle there is no story.

You can’t have a hero if you don’t first have a villain.

You can’t have an exciting climax if you don’t first have a dramatic conflict.

You can’t have a win if you don’t first have a chance of a loss.

The story is in the struggle.

That is the secret to storytelling.

If you want to tell better stories then you have to become better at describing the struggle.

Why do stories matter?

Because stories are one of the most powerful, communication tools we have.

Stories are persuasive because they are what people relate to.

Stories are one of the best strategies you can use to influence people to change their behavior, buy, donate, or take action.

The human mind loves stories.

Part of the reason why is because the human mind loves to complete things

It loves to finish things.

And it doesn’t like unfinished things.

Which is why stories are so powerful.

The start of a story begins something and then our brain stays engaged until it is finished.

The opening of a story draws us in and our mind doesn’t let us release until the story is closed.

Think about it, haven’t you ever finished watching a movie or reading a book that you really didn’t like?

Why did you do that?

It’s just because you couldn’t handle not knowing how it ended!

Expert leaders, salespeople, marketers, speakers and of course authors know this and that is why they use stories to communicate their points rather than just delivering information by itself.

And the single most important ingredient to any story is the struggle.

The story is in the struggle.

It is the conflict.

It is the drama.

It is the uncertainty and unknowing of what is going to happen.

We’re not interested in a movie where a man meets a girl and they immediately fall in love and they get married and live happily ever after.

That’s nice but it’s boring. It doesn’t engage us. It doesn’t get us emotionally bought in. And so it doesn’t capture our attention.

But you could make the same exact movie a thousand times just using different characters that follows this plot:

Girl wants love but is unsure she is worthy of it and will ever find it.

Man loves to party and is unsure if he’ll ever trade in his independence to settle down and become a family man.

Upon an unexpected meeting, they both feel a spark.

But neither is sure if it’s real or if the other person would go for them.

Still unsure about the relationship possibility and their own selves, they flirt and it starts to come together.

They start to casually date and all is wonderful as they begin to fall in love.

But then something terrible happens and they separate. It all falls apart.

Just when there seems to be no hope, one of them has an epiphany and comes back to the other desperate for forgiveness.

For a moment though we’re not sure if their partner will ever take them back.

But then they do and THEN they live happily ever after!

Sound familiar? It should.

It’s the formula for just about every romantic comedy ever made. (I love all of them!)

But it works because it’s littered with conflict!

It’s loaded with self-doubt, uncertainty, challenges, and odds.

The story is all about the struggle.

We think it’s the climax that we care about but it’s really the struggle that’s more important.

How do stories apply to business? 

Smart marketers know that you can’t just talk about the results you provide – that is just skipping ahead in uninteresting fashion immediately to the conclusion.

Rather, you have to write about and describe the problems you help solve.

Smart salespeople know that when you’re third party selling, don’t just tell a story about the results your client experienced.

Make it interesting, more engaging, and more influential by first telling us about the challenges they were experiencing and the obstacles they had to overcome.

Tell me a story specifically about what they were struggling with BEFORE they met you and if I can relate to having a similar problem in my own life then I will be more likely to buy from you as well.

You have to sell the problem as much as you sell the solution!

If you’re a leader don’t just tell us about a new strategy the company has. Give us the context for why you made the decision based on a real-life story of what happened that triggered the realization that we needed to change.

If you’re a fundraiser don’t just tell us about all the thousands of people you’ve helped as a collective body. That’s wonderful but we sometimes have a hard time connecting with a mass body of faceless people.

Instead, tell us the story of one person and what they were struggling with and what their life was like BEFORE they found you. THEN tell us about what your cause or charity did for them and how it changed their life.

Do that and I’ll double the amount of the check I’ll write to you.

It’s important that you share the results. It’s important that you tell us what ended up happening. But that is most powerful when you first tell us what the need or the pain was before.

We do want to know what happens. We do want to know how it finishes. We do care about knowing the ending.

But if you want to engage us, if you want us to pay attention, if you want us to care…

Tell us a story.

Tell us a struggle.

Tell us about what the challenge was, what the villain was, what the darkness was, what the problem was, what the doubt was, what the uncertainty was, what the hopelessness was…

Then tell us how you overcame it.

That’s a story that will sell.

That’s a story that will influence.

That’s a story that will lead people to action.

That’s a story because the story is in the struggle.

How to Activate Your Creativity

creativity

Nobody likes constraints.

We don’t like being told we can’t do something.

We don’t like not being able to afford something that we want to do.

We don’t like being forced out of what is comfortable.

We don’t like finding out that we don’t have the resources we hoped we would have to execute new ideas.

Yet there is a magic to constraints.

There is a blessing to not having all you want.

And there is a power to having limited resources.

The power is creativity.

Creativity is often activated as a byproduct of constraint.

You don’t need to be creative when everything’s going your way, you have unlimited resources, and you can do whatever you want to do.

You have to be creative when there is a need to find a way, solve a problem, and figure out a path for where no obvious one exists yet.

And that is when the magic happens.

Magic happens when you are forced to be creative.

Magic happens when your back is up against the wall and you have no other choice.

Magic happens when everything you’ve known changes and now you need to come up with something new.

And people who survive…

People who thrive…

People who change the world…

Are creative.

And their creativity is very often the birth child of constraints and challenges and difficult circumstance.

So, if you’re experiencing constraint, don’t be frustrated; be thankful.

Don’t be discouraged; be determined.

Don’t be blocked; be creative.

Painless Prospecting and Conquering Call Reluctance with Dave Brown – Episode 195 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Prospecting

Dave Brown is a Founding Partner of Southwestern Consulting and one of the driving forces in making Southwestern Consulting what it is today. He is a world leader in training people to eliminate their call reluctance through his award winning speech and book Painless Prospecting. He lives out the 160+ year Southwestern Principles in all he does. Dave is a sales and sales leadership practitioner first and everything else second. When he is not on stage or on the phone selling something he is spending time with his wife, kids, friends and dog. He is still very active with sports around his community and is a wine fanatic that is preparing the soil on his land outside of Nashville for their family’s future Tennessee Winery already named “Brown Family Sellers.”

Show Highlights:

Learn to say positive things about rejection. @davebrown_SWC

Pray for your nos. @davebrown_SWC

Asks everyone, even if they reject you, for referrals. @davebrown_SWC

When you’re rejected, you are intercepting the negativity for someone else. @davebrown_SWC

There are massive opportunities out there for us if we just reach out. @davebrown_SWC

You have to ask for what you want or you’re not going to get it. @davebrown_SWC

The reason we don’t ask is because we don’t believe we deserve it.  @davebrown_SWC

Be pleasantly persistent. @rory_vaden

Act your way into healthy thinking. @davebrown_SWC

It’s hard to be nervous when your hearts on service. @rory_vaden

Fear is self-centered. @rory_vaden

Change the way you think about “no.” @rory_vaden

 

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Avoiding Professional Extinction

extinction

It used to be: “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. ”

Now it’s: “If you do what you’ve always done then tomorrow you may be out of business.”

Don’t believe me?

Ask Blockbuster video.

In 2004 at its peak, it had 60,000 employees, 9000 stores and nearly $6 billion in annual revenues. It had 2 chances to buy Netflix (which was started by an angry customer of theirs who was charged $40 for a late fee) but declined both times.

Blockbuster didn’t want to look at a new business model because approximately 16% of their revenues came from late fees. But if anyone had the chance to capitalize on the market shift and had the resources to squash the competition, it was Blockbuster.

But they didn’t shift.

By 2010 Blockbuster had declared bankruptcy and by 2013 they basically completely vanished from the earth.

You don’t want to be the next Blockbuster video.

Kodak would be another good example. Borders bookstores would fall into this category. Blackberry phones and Taxi cabs may be next.

These are not companies that did anything “wrong” really. They just didn’t adapt. They didn’t evolve. At least not at the speed of consumer demand.

Therein lies the lesson for all of us.

We have to realize that today we live in a world of massive and rapid change.

And that means that for us to stay relevant and useful in the marketplace we have to stay sharp. We have to continually be learning.

We have to continually be growing.

And we have to continually be looking for creative ways to best serve our clients needs.

Which is one more reason why you should consider getting a professional coach.

Because growth, development and innovation are no longer a strategy for success; they are a mandate for survival.

If you aren’t growing and learning and paying close attention to how the world is changing around you right now then you risk going being put out of business.

The scary part is that today we can be rendered extinct not through any lack of our own competence but through sheer force of market forces of change rendering us suddenly as obsolete.

So what are you doing to learn?

Where are you gathering new ideas and skills from?

And who is helping shape you into being the sharpest professional you can possibly be?

We would love the privilege and opportunity to be considered for that role in your life. If you ever want to do a free call to learn more about professional one on one coaching just click here.

Navigate: Advanced Selling Systems with Dustin Hillis – Episode 162 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Navigate

Dustin Hillis is an entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting. He has a degree in Psychology and is the author of the book Navigate: Selling The Way People Like To Buy and Co-author of newly released Navigate 2.0. He is the co-creator of the sales training curriculum Top Producer’s Edge & Manager’s Edge, which has been fully integrated by more than 5,000 sales professionals worldwide.

More than just a teacher of sales, Dustin is a Top-Producing practitioner.  As a rookie dealer at Southwestern Advantage, the oldest direct sales company in the US, he finished as the #1 salesperson among over 3,000 salespeople worldwide. A few years later, Dustin broke the over 160-year-old all-time sales record earning a profit of over $100,000 in a 14-week summer as a Junior in college. He is currently the #1 salesperson out of over 150,000 salespeople in the history of the company.

Show Highlights:

  • It takes working hard, studying and being coachable. @dhillis
  • Psychology is rooted in the essence of sales. @rory_vaden
  • Remember, don’t sell the way you want to sell, sell the way people like to buy. @dhillis
  • It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re a top seller you have these for traits:
    1. Attitude and Self Talk
    2. Work Ethic
    3. Problem Solving
    4. Student of the game
  • You must be able to put the blinders on, put your head down and go to work. @dhillis
  • Top Producers are willing to invest in their own minds and think of learning as a journey. @dhillis
  • Navigate is Broken into 3 parts:
    • Solidify
    • Identify
    • Modify
  • The reason people buy is because they like you and trust you. @dhillis
  • Our resistance to identify with selling often is the result of the negative stereotypes associated with selling. @rory_vaden
  • Selling is nothing more than a conversation about someone’s needs. @rory_vaden
  • Closing a sale is bending over backwards to help a customer figure out what is best for them. @rory_vaden
  • The very first step in selling is being completely convicted about what you’re selling. @rory_vaden

 

Click Here to get the Navigate Advanced Selling System FREE Training Webinar.

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting every Wednesday. The show is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts, has listeners from all around the world and shares “insights and inspiration to help you take action.” Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews special expert guests and thought leaders. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

Is too much self-discipline a bad thing?

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I’ve struggled over the years with this very issue, “is too much self-discipline a bad thing?” One interesting dynamic that I’ve discovered in that thought process is that self-discipline (at least according to my definition) seems to be somewhat self-balancing and self-correcting.

The definition I use for self-discipline is “doing things you know you should do but don’t feel like doing.” What I’m noticing though is that once you start doing those things enough (say working out for example) then they become a habit and if that habit goes too far it becomes compulsive (working out all day every day for example).

However, once a discipline has reached the level of an obsession or compulsion the scales then seem to have flipped around because now it’s NOT working out, or at least less working out, that is the thing you know you should be doing but you no longer FEEL like doing because of the compulsion. At the point of compulsion we become obsessed with working out.

So at that point it then requires the discipline to stop doing it or too slow down.  When you put it up to the litmus test with other things like working hard, eating healthy, saving money, or any other task that seems to require discipline initially the same mysterious flip seems to happen and then the discipline required is for re-calibration, re-focusing, and re-balancing. It’s almost as if self-discipline is also self-correcting.

I started 40 lbs overweight. Then worked out constantly. Now I seem to be closer to a happy healthy balance. I worked 80 hours a week and it was my entire focus, now my focus seems to continually be towards working towards reducing the number of hours I work.

I know I have been in situations personally where it was discipline that was required to help me lighten up on myself and not be concerned with perfection.

Weird, huh? Have you found the same to be true in your life? Do you agree with this puzzling dynamic?

For information on booking motivational speaker and self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden please visit us at www.roryvaden.com

For information on sales coaching, sales training, or sales consulting please visit www.southwesternconsulting.com

See you in the stairwell,

Rory Vaden
Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.