Turn Boring Bank Products into an Interesting Story, Paul Smith, Part 1

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An old Native American Proverb: “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn them. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

Announcer:

And now your host. Kelly Coughlin. Kelly Coughlin is a CPA and CEO of BankBosun, a management consulting firm helping bank C Level Officers navigate risk and discover reward. He is the host of the syndicated audio podcast, BankBosun.com. Kelly brings over 25 years of experience with companies like PWC, Lloyds Bank, and Merrill Lynch. On the podcast, Kelly interviews key executives in the banking ecosystem to provide bank C suite officers, risk management, technology, and investment ideas and solutions to help them navigate risks and discover reward. And now your host, Kelly Coughlin.

Kelly Coughlin:

Greetings. This is Kelly Coughlin, CPA and CEO of BankBosun. As most of you listeners know, BankBosun and I as CEO are committed to helping community banks navigate risk and discover reward in a sea of risk, regulation, and revenue threats. While risk and regulation threats are key and critical forces to consider when managing your bank, revenue threats and revenue opportunities are what really gets me excited and jazzed. Absent high-quality revenues and revenue growth, it becomes very challenging to deal with the other two. I like using the term creating revenue. Some have asked me, why the word creating? Well, it's simple. Revenues really are the only thing that businesses create, like an artist from Greenfield. More blank canvas. Sometimes from nothing, sometimes from just an idea or a vision. We have an idea. We put some packaging on the idea. We offer it to others, some purchase the idea, and shazam. We've created a revenue. Expenses on the other hand, are revenue ideas created by others.

If we like those ideas, we have to pay for them. Those are expenses to us and revenues to them. In my mind, the creation of revenues is first and foremost the primary duty of the chief executive of a company. Everybody else is responsible for ensuring that these revenues generate profits for the company. Consequently, creating revenues is becoming my singular purpose with BankBosun, whether it be through improving your public speaking with help from my actor colleague Chris Carlson at Narrative Pros or using our tactical ecosystem marketing strategy to produce your own syndicated podcast and develop new customers and centers of influence, guaranteed. Or developing fine-tuned sales messaging that is clear, concise, and credible. It is our mission and goal to help community bankers create and grow revenues through the utilization and implementation of some key practical tools. Today, we are going to talk about sales messaging.

To be clear, sales messaging includes sales phone scripts, one-on-one personal visits, emails, and presentations. For years, my mantra on sales messages has been that they must be clear, concise, and credible. To me, sales messages are a bit like poetry. I like to say, you have small words to communicate big thoughts effectively and efficiently. However, the one thing I had missed was to ensure not only your message was clear, concise, and credible, but interesting, attention-grabbing, and memorable. My accounting background is one that tends to lead me to believe that simplicity, clarity, and accuracy are all you really need, but the reality is, if your message isn't interesting, your audience will never really hear how clear, concise, and credible it is. This leads me to my daughter, Cara. I have four daughters. Two months ago, Cara started selling drugs. Marijuana. How do you think I felt about that? Actually, terrific. Cara took a job communicating to medical doctors the benefits of medical marijuana for certain types of patients with chronic pain or seizures. Totally legit, totally legal.

She works for one of the highly regulated medical cannabis distributors in the state of Minnesota. In the course of talking to Cara about her sales job, I learned that she and apparently many millennials refer to sales as outreaching, not sales. Outreaching. Apparently, sales is a bad word. As we started talking about how and what to communicate to the doctors and clinics to whom she was outreaching, we started working on her outreaching phone call script and her outreaching office visit messaging script. I started to research ways and methods I could help her with her outreaching script, and I started coming across the works of Paul Smith. Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on organizational storytelling. He's a bestselling author of the books Sell with a Story, Lead with a Story, and Parenting with a Story. I purchased the audio book version of Sell with the Story, and I must say I loved it so much. I didn't buy the whole company. Rather, I bought the printed book as well. I told Cara to listen to it and read the book. I thought it would help her with her outreaching script. It did help her.

It helped Cara convert a sales script that needed to quickly overcome the inherent skepticism medical doctors had about what was once an illegal drug to an effective outreaching story about how medical cannabis helped a 14-year-old boy who had repetitive seizures and was teased by classmates to now live a happy and healthy life. Today, we're going to focus on sales messaging because today, I'm going to interview the author of that book, Paul Smith. I'm going to divide this interview into two podcasts. Part one we are going to focus on the general perspective on what storytelling is. Why is it important? And the theory behind his work. In part two, we're going to focus on specifics related to the financial services and community banking space so our listeners can come away with some clear and specific ideas to help structure clear, concise, and credible messaging that is interesting, attention-grabbing, and memorable.

As part of his research on the effectiveness of storytelling, Paul has personally interviewed over 250 CEOs, executives, leaders, sales people in 25 countries, documented over 2,000 individual stories. Leveraging those stories in interviews, Paul has identified the components of effective storytelling and has developed templates and tools to apply them in practice. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, PR News, and Success Magazine, among others. Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio. With that background and context, let's get Paul here. Paul, are you on the line?

Paul Smith:

Yes, I am, Kelly. It's good to be here.

Kelly Coughlin:

Great. Did I mess up anything in that introduction?

Paul Smith:

No, that was great. I'm pretty sure that was me you were talking about. So, that's good.

Kelly Coughlin:

More importantly, how bad was my storytelling in that introduction? Be honest. I can handle it.

Paul Smith:

No, no. That's good. I liked hearing about your daughter and a very nice surprising beginning to that with the marijuana sales. I didn't see exactly what twist that was going to take, but it clearly took an interesting one. So, well done right off the bat.

Kelly Coughlin:

To be honest with you, I put that in there after having read your book. I thought, I think that's what you're talking about, is get something that is interesting and personal. I got a specific time, person, event, and that's what you're all about, aren't you?

Paul Smith:

You did, and you got a nice surprise at the beginning to grab attention. Well done. Something must have worked in the book. I'm glad to hear that.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's talk about the book that I read, Sell with a Story. Tell us what exactly is a sales story. Let's start with the very basic thing.

Paul Smith:

That’s a great place to start, because I think a lot of people have a very different idea about what the word story means, especially when attached to the word sales. Imagine it's Monday morning and you're in a meeting with a number of your peers and comrades and you're preparing for a big sales pitch that you've got to make in a week or so and the boss comes in and maybe that's you and leans out over the table and says, all right, people. What's our story? Now, do you think for a minute that what that boss means by story is an actual story? A narrative about something that happened to somebody sometime. The answer is almost certainly no. What they mean is, what is the series of facts and data and arguments that we can put together in a logical sequence probably in a Power Point presentation that we're going to walk the prospect through such that by the end of the meeting, we've got the highest odds of successfully making a sale? That's what they mean by, what's our story? In other words, what's our sales pitch? But that's not the kind of thing that anybody would have called the story 20 years ago. They would have called it a sales pitch or talking points or a message track or presentation slides, or something.

Today, people use the word story for all kind of things that was really never originally intended to mean. When I talk about a sales story, I do not mean another word for a sales pitch. I mean actual stories about things that happen to somebody. The indicators of that are the things that you mentioned earlier. There's a time, a place. There's a main character like your daughter. That main character has a goal. There's usually someone or something getting in the way of that goal. There are events that transpire throughout the story that hopefully by the end resolve themselves nicely in either the main character achieving their goal or not achieving their goal, and generally some lessons to be learned from it. That's a story, an actual story. As opposed to a sales pitch, which is, Kelly, let me tell you the three reasons why you should hire me as your sales consultant. Then, I give you my list. That's not a story. That's a list, or that's a sales pitch. That's what a sales pitch is, essentially. It's a list of reasons why you should buy what I'm selling.

One of the uses of sales stories is contained within the sales pitch itself. You may have 30 minutes that your prospect has agreed to meet with you face-to-face or on the phone. So, you've got 30 minutes to make your sales pitch. You've got 30 minutes on the phone and you're going to spend five minutes of it building rapport and then 25 minutes of it on your actual sales pitch. Of that 25 minutes, you might spend five minutes actually telling a story. You might tell two, two and a half minute stories within that 25 minutes of well-structured logical sales pitch. The rest of it is the normal kind of thing as you would do when you're making a sales pitch. You're giving people reasons why they should hire you. You can also use these stories at other places in the sales process that is not the sales pitch. The whole sales process is a much longer thing. It starts with introducing yourself and building rapport and yes, making the sales pitch itself, but also handling objections and closing the sale, and even managing customer relationships after the sale. So, there are sales stories that you will use throughout all of those phases of the sales process and only one of those phases is the actual sales pitch itself. Does that make sense?

Kelly Coughlin:

Okay, I got it.

Paul Smith:

In fact, can I share an example with you? I think that’ll make it even more clear.

Kelly Coughlin:

Okay.

Paul Smith:

May, a year ago, we were at an art fair. It was actually something that happened to me and wife. She was looking for some art for our kids’ bathroom at home. We're going booth to booth. We get to this one booth of this underwater photographer. He just takes these mesmerizing pictures of underwater life like sea anemones and coral reefs and sea turtles and things like that. She gets emotionally attached to this one picture that to me just looked about as out of place as a pig in the ocean. The reason is because it literally was a picture of a pig in the ocean. I just thought that was a craziest thing. Pigs don’t live in the ocean. They generally, you don’t find them swimming around. When I finally got a chance to ask the artist himself, I said, dude. What's with the pig in the ocean? That is when the magic started. He said, it was the craziest thing. That picture was taken in the Bahamas off the coast of this uninhabited island called Big Major Cay.

Apparently, what happened is a few years earlier some local entrepreneur decided he wanted to raise a pig farm for bacon, I suppose. He bought all these pigs and he throws them out on this uninhabited island so he can keep them for free. The problem was that there wasn’t much on the island for them to eat other than cactus. Apparently, pigs don’t like cactus. He said they weren't thriving. They got lucky in that they noticed that there was some local restaurant owner on a neighboring island who would boat his kitchen refuse every night over to Big Major Cay and dump it a few dozen yards offshore, just literally over the side of the boat. Pretty soon, these pigs get hungry enough that they're like, I'm going to swim out there and get that food, even though they generally aren't known to be native swimmers. So, one pig braves the waters and then two pigs brave the waters. Here it is, several generations later and all the pigs on Big Major Cay can swim. He said, that's what it made it so easy for me to get this picture is because they've just been trained that any time a boat comes near shore, they assume they're going to get fed. They think it's the guy from the restaurant. He said, I boated up to this island and these pigs swam out to my boat.

I didn't even have to get out of the boat. I just leaned over and stuck my camera in the water. Boom. Easiest picture I ever took. Of course, at that point, I got my credit card out and I'm like, okay. We'll take it. Why was that? Two minutes earlier, that picture was worth nothing to me. It was barely worth the paper that it was printed on, but after hearing that short, two-minute story, all of the sudden, I had to have that picture. It was literally worth more money to me now because I wasn't just buying a picture. I was buying a story that had a picture with it. Every time somebody comes to my house and goes to the bathroom, I can tell them that story, and I like telling the story. It's this history lesson and geography lesson and animal psychology lesson all rolled into one. That's an example of a sales story as opposed to a sales pitch, because what that guy could have done is said, look, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, here are the three reasons why you need to buy this picture. First of all, it's the right size to fit in your bathroom. Second of all, it's got the right color palette to match your towels and the pain on the walls. And third, it's in the right price range that your wife already told me. So, don’t you need to just buy this right now? That's a sales pitch. They're logical, rational reasons why I should buy it, but the story is very different. It was far more effective at getting me to buy that picture.

Kelly Coughlin:

That's a great story. I love that one. Why do you think stories are so effective?

Paul Smith:

Probably my top three reasons are, first of all, this storytelling speaks to the part of the brain where decisions are actually made. There's been a number of studies lately that show that human beings make subconscious emotional, sometimes irrational decisions in one place in their brain. Then, they rationalize those decisions a few nanoseconds later in the logical conscious part of the brain. We think that we're making these rational, logical decisions, but the truth is, we're really making emotional subconscious decisions a few nanoseconds earlier. The second one is, it literally makes things easier to remember. Right now, I'm giving you a list of three things. My guess is that by this time tomorrow, you and most of your audience members are not going to remember these three things. I'm telling you right now. And it's okay. I'm not going to be insulted.

My guess is also that by this time tomorrow, you and everybody listening to this will remember the story of pig island. A week from now and a month from now and even a year from now, most of you listening to this will be able to tell the story of pig island and get most of the facts right, but there is nobody that a year from now is going to remember this list of three things that I'm giving you right now. It's just a list of three things. Storytelling literally makes things easier to remember. I guess the last reason I'd give you is that stories inspire. Slides don’t. When’s the last time you heard somebody say, wow, you'll never believe the Power Point presentation I just saw? Nobody says that. But they will say that about a great story. I think that's what you want your communication to have that kind of an impact on people.

Kelly Coughlin:

What makes a great story from simply a good or average one? Or do we need great stories?

Paul Smith:

The worst time to tell a story is when you don’t have a good story to tell. In fact, I'd even say, if you don’t have a great story to tell, don’t tell a story at all. What makes the difference between a great story and just an average story, I think, is three things. This could be any story. A movie, a novel that you'd read. Any kind of storytelling really centers around having a hero you care about, a villain you're afraid of, and an epic battle between them. Think Star Wars. You've got your Luke Skywalker, you've got your Darth Vader, and you've got this epic battle between them. That's what great storytelling is at its core. I admit that sounds rather Hollywood. If you translate that into business relevant language, what that means is, a relatable hero, a main character your audience can relate to. A relevant challenge. So, the villain becomes a relevant challenge, which could be a business situation. It doesn't have to be a human being they're fighting with. Then, that epic battle just becomes an honest struggle. You need to see your main character struggling with this challenge that they're faced with. If there's no real struggle, it's just not an interesting story. I've got to add one thing to that since it's a business story and that is, there's got be a worthy lesson or an actionable recommendation that comes out of it. Or you've just entertained people. Those are the four things, I guess. A relatable hero, a relevant challenge, an honest struggle, and a worthy lesson at the end.

Kelly Coughlin:

I recall in your book you said there is, I think, about 20 or 25 stories that every sales person should have in his or her repertoire. Tell us about that.

Paul Smith:

As I mentioned earlier, what I found when I was interviewing people for this book and by the way, I interviewed professional sales people and professional buyers at over 50 different companies just for this last book. I was looking for where in the whole sales process are great sales people telling stories. Real stories like I'm talking about stories. I was surprised to find out it was throughout the entire sales process all the way from introducing yourself to the buyer to preparing for the sales call. Even stories they told themselves prior to the call just to motivate themselves for the sales call, then to building rapport with the buyer, making the actual sales pitch, handling objections in the call, closing the sale. That never occurred to me that somebody would tell a story to actually make the final closing of the sale. I thought that would be a very fact-based, handshaking type moment. Even managing customer relationships after the sale. In those one, two, three, four, five, six, seven phases of the sales process, there's three or four specific types of stories that I found great sales people using in each of those phases. That's what the first third of the book does. It just documents, here are the seven phases and the 25 stories that you probably need to have at your disposal. It's throughout that entire process.

Kelly Coughlin:

You'd probably agree that the stories have to be authentic, real stories.

Paul Smith:

Yes, stories definitely need to be genuine and authentic. Actually, that's one of the things that most stories are. Just telling a story in general, especially if it's a story about yourself, is going to almost always come across as genuine because, I was there. I'm telling you something that actually happened to me as opposed to, I'm reading you a script that my marketing department told me to read over the phone to you. That is going to come away not genuine. In fact, this is where I think I learned more from the professional buyers, professional procurement managers than I did sales people. One of the questions I asked them was, what is it that makes a sales pitch sound like a sales pitch? They had a lot of really interesting answers to that. In fact, most of them described how it made them feel when they could tell that they sales pitch had officially started. They said, basically, it just made me want to throw up. One of them said it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I would get very defensive. I just thought, oh, God. It's started.

It's not a feeling they want to have, and it's not a feeling you want them to have that they can tell exactly when your sales pitch has started. It turns out, and I asked them, what is it that makes you know that the sales pitch has started? Most of them said when the tone of the conversation changes from something that sounds conversational and extemporaneous to something that sounds memorized and scripted. That's when I know the sales pitch has started. If you don’t want your sales pitch to sound like a sales pitch, don’t tell it to people in a fashion that sounds memorized. The best way to make sure that it doesn't sound memorized is quite frankly, don’t memorize it. Don’t memorize every word of your sales story or your sales pitch. Memorize the general ideas and the general flow of it and then every time you tell it, it’ll be slightly unique because you're going to choose different words to craft your sentences. Now, they'll mean the same thing, but it will sound like it's the first time you've ever told that particular story before, because it will be the first time that you've ever told that precise story because you're having to make a little bit of it up as you go along. Or at least make up the words that you use because you didn't memorize word for word.

Kelly Coughlin:

Yeah. Fair enough, but I think you would agree that it's good to at least memorialize the script so that you're not wasting words. I look at it like writing business poetry. Try to get big ideas in small words. In today’s environment where you've the attention span has probably been cut by 70% in this whole culture, you don’t have much time. So, don’t be rambling on with the big, long sales pitch. Fine-tune it, work it, use precise, concise words. Otherwise, you're going to lose them.

Paul Smith:

Yeah, I agree. That's just a little different than memorize the whole—I think you said memorialize, and I think that's a good word for it. You're memorizing the major concepts and the order in which you're going to deliver them. You've probably thought through some of the key words that are going to help you deliver it, but that's different than memorizing a script. If you do that, you're going to deliver a memorized script. Then, it won't sound authentic.

Kelly Coughlin:

How long do you think the sales story should be?

Paul Smith:

Of all the sales stories that I documented in the book, the average length was about 300 words, which was about two minutes to tell. They ranged from as short as 50 or 60 words, which is like 30 seconds, to as long as three and a half minutes, maybe four minutes. The average was about two minutes. I found that interesting because in my first book Lead with a Story, which about storytelling for leadership purposes, the stories were twice that long. Four minutes on average. I think that makes sense, because leadership stories oftentimes, you're telling it to the people that report to you. People will listen to the boss longer than they'll listen to a sales person. They're your boss. You have to listen to them and show some respect and deference and all that. When a sales person is telling a story, they're telling it to the buyer. The buyer is the boss. Your time is cut down. We're not talking about five or 10 or 20 minute stories. We're talking about two-minute stories that you might use to punctuate a 15-minute sales call. They're very short things.

Kelly Coughlin:

Let's talk about story structure. I've always been schooled in this presentation formula of, tell them what you're going to tell them. You tell them, and then you tell them what you just told them. Then, you have the journalist’s approach where you give the meat first, the lead, I think they call it at the very beginning. You do that to get their attention or the reader won't ever get past to the remainder of the piece. Now, I think you recommend a bit of a modified approach to this where you focus on context, action, result. Then, you also then talk about seven steps including the hook for business. For business and banking pitches, what structure would you recommend?

Paul Smith:

Those other two that you mentioned, the tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them what you told them, then the journalist one, those are good structures but not for storytelling. The first one is the one that you learned in the third grade, and it's the structure of a presentation. If you're going to stand up and give an oral presentation about the book you just read, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. It's introduction, body, conclusion. That's not a story. That's a presentation. That's a speech. That's the structure of a speech. The journalist one is not a structure for stories, either. It's a structure for a newspaper article. I know some people say it's a newspaper story, but it's not. It's a newspaper article. It's not a story unless it really is a story about something that happened to somebody. They have to write in that inverted pyramid, and for lots of good reasons that we probably don’t have to go into today. That's not the structure of a story, either. Real storytelling structure is the structure that you would use when you're writing a novel or a screenplay for a movie or something like that.

Those are real stories. People like that follow very complicated, very complex story structures like Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey story structure, which is 17 steps long. I don’t recommend using that simply because it's too long to use for a two-minute story. What I recommend is a four-step process. It's context, challenge, conflict, and resolution. That's the main body of the story. Now, what I've found is that people need a little bit more help than that. How do I get into the story? Then, how do I get out of the story and do some business with the story? I've added the hook at the beginning, which is how you get your audience to pay attention and listen to your story. Then, when you're done, the lesson that you learned and the recommended action are two extra steps after the story is told. The main body of the story is just this context, challenge, conflict, and resolution. Probably the best way to think about it, Kelly, is not in terms of these steps, but in terms of the questions that your story answers.

In fact, there are eight questions your story’s got to answer. I'm just going to give you all eight of them right now. This is the order in which it should answer them. Number one, why should I listen to this story? That's the hook. If you can't answer that question, then they might not listen to you story. Then, you get into the main body. It's, where and when did the story take place? Who’s the hero and what did they want? What was the problem or opportunity they ran into? What did they do about it? And how did it turn out in the end? That's the first six. Now, you're done with the story, technically. The remaining two questions are, what did you learn from that story? And what do you think I should do now? That's your opportunity to make a recommendation. If your story answers those eight questions in that order, you've got the story structure right. It doesn't matter if you call the first part the context, the challenge, the conflict. That's less relevant than getting those questions answered and in that order.

Every time he or she tells the story, that's the structure that it should be in. If he or she is actually telling a story, if what they're doing at that moment is, I just want to tell you a little bit about my bank. There are three reasons why we're different than our competitors across the street. Let me tell you about those three things. He's not telling a story. He's giving you a list of reasons why they're different, and that's fine. You need those things. You don’t need a context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution if you're going to give somebody a list. But if you're going to tell them a story about one of your bank customers who came in and said, look, I used to bank across the street and I've had it with them. I can't stand it anymore. Let me tell you what happened. I went there and I tried to open up a checking account. I had this problem and then in finally got it resolved. I went back and then I needed to get a car loan. They made me fill out 500 sheets of paper, and it was ridiculous. Then, they told me I wasn't qualified because of some silly thing that was wrong on their part. Now, you're telling a story. That story needs a context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution if you're going to do it well. If you're just going to ramble on, you can say whatever you want. If you want an effective story, you'll answer those eight questions in that order. The conflict is simply the struggle that the main character is having achieving their goal.

Kelly Coughlin:

In the banking world, you can pick a new customer that you've got because they had a bad experience with a competitor. You can tell that story around how you were able to get this customer and solve their problems because the competitor had created these problems. That's the conflict part. Or, a customer that you took care of as a sample case study on, here's how we take care of our customers on a recurring basis. There's no real conflict with that, right?

Paul Smith:

What you're describing is one of the type of the 25 stories. It's a customer success story. It's story number 14, by the way, in the book. There's still conflict in a customer success story because the customer has to have a problem that needs to be solved. They struggle with that problem, and the solution they decide to settle on is hiring you. The other type of story you just mentioned is called a problem story. That's story number thirteen. It's a customer having all these problems but not having a good solution. Hopefully, that's with one of your competitors and not with you. The customer success story is hopefully when they come to you, they have a better experience. Those are two of the 25 types of stories, but your banker, your hypothetical banker we're talking about might tell a story that's story number 10, which is the story of the founding of their company. Who founded this community bank? And why did they found it?

What made them quit their day job? Because nobody ever quit their day job for a boring reason. It's always because they're fed up with the boss. They hate their job. They hate the industry they're in, whatever. I'm going to go become a restaurant owner. I've always had a passion for cooking or whatever. It kills me that all these farmers around here can never get loans at the big city banks. My dad was a farmer and his dad was a farmer. I'm going to go start a local bank. That can be a fabulously important story for a banker to have in their repertoire is their founding story, because that tells you a lot about the bank. Why was it started? That will have the same structure. A context, a challenge, a conflict, and a resolution. The main character is going to be the founder of the bank. That's three of the 25 types of stories, but they all follow the same structure.

Kelly Coughlin:

Give us the 25 story categories so that we've got a good feel for those if you can.

Paul Smith:

I'll mention a few of them, and I'll send you a list and you can put that on your website. The seven categories are the ones I mentioned earlier. Introducing yourself, that's where you'll tell a story about what you do for a living in an interesting way as opposed to just reading your job description. You tell a short story about somebody that you've helped and how you helped them. Then, in the building rapport part, that's where you tell a story about the founding of the company is an example of one of them that would be in that building rapport. Or you might tell a story about yourself, why you decided to do what you do for a living. Why did you decide to be the CEO of a bank? What attracted you to banking? That’ll tell somebody some important about you. In the main sales pitch itself, we've talked about two of those types already. The explaining the problem story and the customer success story. There's other types there, as well. The pig island story is an example of a value-adding story. That's a story where the story actually adds value to the product that you're selling. I've actually got an example from a bank there on that one that I can tell you shortly if you're interested. The next phase is handling objections. Somebody always says, oh yeah, I like what you're selling, but the price is too high or I don’t like your quality or you're too far away or whatever.

So, stories to help resolve those objections. Sometimes even before they're brought up with a story about somebody else who had the same objections, and it turned out not to be a problem after all. You just thought that was going to be a problem, and it turned out not. Then, in closing the sale, there are stories that will help you create a sense of urgency on the part of the buyer to become my customer now instead of waiting six months. That can help you close the sale. An example of one in the last phase which is managing customer relationships is a loyalty building story. This would be stories that you tell your customers about other customers of yourself who love you and why they love you. Let me tell you what we did for this customer that lives six blocks away from here, and what we did for her. Let me tell me what we did for this other guy that lives in the next county but he drives all the way to our bank because we do this for him that nobody else does. The reason you're telling those stories about other happy, loyal customers is because you want this customer to be a happy, loyal customer and know, wow. I'm never leaving this bank. If you do all that for other people, you'll probably do that for me when it's my turn to need that kind of thing. Those are examples of the 25.

Kelly Coughlin:

I want to know how people can find out more about you and your work and get in touch with you. Is there anything that I missed that you feel needs to be communicated?

Paul Smith:

No, that's good. I think we're going to do the second podcast, and I can share one or two of those banking stories then. For now, I guess folks can find me, the easiest way is on my website, which is LeadWithAStory.com, which is the name of my first book. They can find out about my books and the coaching and training I do on storytelling for leaders and sales folks.

Kelly Coughlin:

Paul, thank you very much. That's terrific. I enjoyed talking to you. Then, we'll continue with part two of this. Thanks.

Announcer:

We want to thank you for listening to the syndicated audio program, BankBosun.com The audio content is produced and syndicated by Seth Greene, Market Domination. Video content is produced by The Guildmaster Studio, Keenan Bobson Boyle. The voice introduction is me, Karim Kronfli. The program is hosted by Kelly Coughlin. If you like this program, please tell us. If you don’t, please tell us how we can improve it. Now, some disclaimers. Kelly is licensed with the Minnesota State Board of Accountancy as a Certified Public Accountant. The views expressed here are solely those of Kelly Coughlin and his guests in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of any other agent, principal, employer, employee, vendor or supplier.

46 episodes available. A new episode about every 11 days averaging 21 mins duration .