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Master the secret language of sales: storytelling

A while back NSBC’s CEO, Mike Anderson, meet up with Charles Hsuan, a storytelling sales coach from Flying Kite, to learn more about how to use storytelling to boost your sales. Here is what Charles Hsuan had to say about mastering the secret language of sales – storytelling.

Why did you name your company “Flying Kite”?

Charles Hsuan chose the name “Flying Kite” for two reasons. The first was because of the joy he felt as a kid when he flew a kite and wants to remind his customers about their inner child and having fun in business. The second reason was because of the symbols of the kite and the string. The kite symbolises the customer, the hero of the interaction who the company wants to see succeed and the string symbolises the company and the advisory role they play in ensuring the customer is successful no matter the weather they are in. They will help the customer to soar to great heights.

What is a storytelling sales coach and how do they help business owners and sales professionals?

A storytelling coach helps a business to clarify its message to make more sales. They do this by helping companies to define their unique selling point (USP) and their unique sales story so that they can cut through the clutter. Many businesses believe that they can compete on price, product or personal service but these are all replicable. Your unique story is not. So, remember to focus on your unique story.

What is the wall of rejection?

According to a GEM report, the re-entering rate of companies in South Africa is 1.2 times. This means that after trying one to two times people give up on their businesses. But we need to re-examine rejection. With the wall of rejection, Charles writes down every rejection that he receives and reads through them in the morning to mentally prepare himself that people will say “no”.  He also looks at the rejections to see if there is a pattern in them.

 If there are a lot of people saying that the price is too high then you need to check how you are presenting the value of your product or service. To help lower the rejection rate, ask questions and have conversations, people don’t like to hear the sales pitch right off the bat.

What is good selling vs good storytelling?

Both of these are important but there are key differences between good selling and good storytelling. In good selling, you are an expert on your product and industry. If someone knows more about your product or industry then you need to work harder at learning about your industry or product.

 Good storytelling is about creating an emotional connection with your client. By sharing stories on how your product or service will solve their pain point you build a connection. You must remember to leave out buzzwords and make sure your story paints a picture that involves all five senses.

Remember everyone tunes into WII FM (What Is In It For Me), so by speaking to your customer you will be able to filter out the ones who are not interested in your product and you will also find out why they find your business unique.

How do you start storytelling?

There are two steps. The first is to read the book, Refuse to be boring – A guide to storytelling for business owners and sales professionals. This book is a quick read and gives an overview of how to tell stories in business. The next is to consider what problem are you solving for your customer.

What are the common mistakes that salespeople make?

The most common mistake salespeople make is that they don’t ask questions and then actively listen to the answer. You should adopt the 70/30 rule when engaging with customers. You should speak 30% of the time and your customer should speak 70% of the time. Ensure you have questions prepared that will help you to lead them to your solution and ensure you are speaking to their pain point.

How do you craft a unique sales story?

You need to identify what you are ridiculously good at and then communicate that to people’s pain points. Make sure you are an expert in your field and continuously read and learn about your product and industry.

How can business owners use storytelling in sales, marketing and negotiating?

As has been stated many times before define your USP. Make sure the story you share in sales and marketing is short, memorable and repeatable. When negotiating ensure your story speaks to the internal and external value you offer the customer if they use your product or service.

Do you recommend any good books on sales or storytelling?

Charles Hsuan recommended four books for business owners to read. They are:

Finally, Charles Hsuan mentioned that you need to position your solution as the medicine for a person’s pain. Speak to how you solve the pain, don’t speak about yourself.

For more great examples of how to use storytelling to boost your sales, check out the replay of the Sales Indaba session here.

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