Written by: Ramesh Patodia
About the author: CEO at Ambrosia Nutrition Pvt Ltd.│30+ years of experience in sales & business across the spectrum, i.e., technical sales, commodity & speciality chemicals, e-commerce, catalyst & pharma intermediates, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals
Emotional connection is what you need to sell your product or service.
People make buying decisions emotionally and justify it logically. If you don’t connect with prospects on an emotional level, they won’t buy.
So, how do you build an emotional connection with both prospects and customers?
Tell Stories. Stories Sell
Storytelling is a great marketing/selling strategy that can greatly benefit any brand/product/company no matter the kind of product or service.
Storytelling is a powerful communication tool in both sales & marketing. It helps you emotionally connect with customer. Research even shows that when listening to a story, changes take place in our brains. We actually connect emotionally with the storyteller.
A GOOD STORY – is Authentic, is Creative, makes an Emotional & Personal Connection, Inspires Action, takes an Audience on a Journey with the Brand/Product/Company.
I am going to focus on stories in the context of my personal experience in direct B2B sales but the same is applicable in B2C through ads and content, especially in digital media.
How do you connect with customer by telling stories?
Typically, salespeople start by introducing themselves and their company. Then, they find the customer’s needs and finally, they give a sales pitch about the product followed by discussions, negotiations etc. You can improve this through storytelling as follows.
- Try to connect on personal level by telling your own background (story) and knowing about the other person. It breaks the ice and builds emotional connect.
- Give the background (story) of your company and the product: the history of the company, how the product was developed, thus highlighting the strengths of your product.
- When highlighting the features and benefits of your product, give examples (stories) of how it benefitted other customers. Setting the context with success stories is always much more powerful than plain statements about your product. If it is a new product, then help the customer visualise the benefits.
The customer is on the defensive during a sales pitch, and they will lower it when you tell them a story, and listen to them with an open mind.
Success stories are always much better than directly bragging about own product because when you are directly highlighting your own product the customer is defensive.
Story telling is a very powerful medium of communication, no matter what you are selling – commodity or speciality product, concept or service
Some examples of selling through stories in my career.
- Selling Iso-propyl Alcohol (IPA) for Exxon – IPA is a pure commodity product and typically sold like commodity on specs & rates. I used to tell customers that Exxon was the inventor of IPA and world’s largest manufacturer. We have 3 lac TPA plants, compared to 25,000 TPA of local producer NOCIL. We have taken dedicated tanks at Kandla and have appointed a reputed trader as importer/distributor in India ensuring regular supply for customers in India. This built a emotional connect with customers when most people were just selling on specs, price, payment delivery etc.
- In my current business of Pharma, most medical salespeople are trained to directly rattle off the product features and push Doctors to prescribe. I have trained my salespeople to do as follows:
- After personal introduction, give background of company and promoters.
- Product development history which highlights the strengths of the product. If you directly tell the doctor about it then the impact is less than taking him through the product development journey in which he also gets a moment of ‘Aha’.
The above 2 are very important as we are a new company and not so well known, so Doctors should know the background of company/promoters and how we developed the product.
- Give examples of success stories which highlight the benefits of our products.
- After discussions, don’t push but just ask his opinion on the product. If they like, then ask them to try it out.