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How to Improve Sales Conversations with Stories

I Love this quote from Brené Brown:

“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

Ok, so what does that really mean, and look like? And what does it have to do with learning how to improve sales or how to improve sales conversations?


I like to think of it like this: We have a choice. We can either command our stories or we can run from them—and ourselves. We can choose beliefs and thoughts that are empowering or we can work hard to feel validated and worthy from external sources (which is usually exhausting).


Commanding our stories means owning who we are: Recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, and choosing to leverage and learn from both.


Today, we’re going to talk about the stories we create around sales. We’ll talk about how we can either let old habits run the show (and us), or how we can choose to step into our true selves by creating stories and thought patterns that help us learn how to improve sales.


Stories are basically beliefs we have about ourselves and our lives.


Our stories generally impact these 4 aspects of our sales conversations:


  • How we enter a sales conversation.

  • What motivates us.

  • What we focus on during the conversation.

  • Our outcomes.


How We Enter the Sales Conversation

Sweaty palms. Butterflies in the belly. Familiar? Do you find yourself entering sales conversations anticipating being done so you can ditch the “mask” and sink back into being YOU again? Or do you enter sales conversations in a way that feels natural?


Here’s the deal. Being our authentic selves not only makes the conversation more fun and reduces the stress in sales, but it also helps our prospects feel more receptive to what we have to say!


Speaking for myself, when I walk into most car dealerships, I can literally “smell” sales. Can you relate? And does that I’m-smiling-but-I’ll-stalk-you-till-you-buy façade make you feel warm and fuzzy inside about car dealerships? Didn’t think so. No offense car selling peeps—we love you, and if that’s you, trust me, you can change that stigma! In fact, my first job after college back in 2002 was working in a car dealership as a special finance manager. I helped folks in difficult financial situations find solutions so they could experience the freedom of buying a car. This position was SO integral in helping me understand the importance of authenticity in sales and showing concern for the client.


The point is, if we’re anticipating a conversation and slipping into a suit that isn’t our own, it makes everyone in the conversation feel uncomfortable (not how we want to start).


The stories and beliefs we tell ourselves can influence how authentically we’re able to show up.


One strategy to entering the sales conversation more authentically is to check the stories and beliefs that may be running our show.


For instance, do you find yourself approaching sales conversations with assumptions or biases like this?

  • This person can’t afford me, so I’ll probably have to offer a discount. (Psst! Don’t judge someone else’s wallet.)

  • Sales conversations are always a struggle and I rarely get a ‘yes.’

If you can relate, try shifting these stories to:

  • I’m confident in my value and prices, and I’m committed to exploring this opportunity.

  • Every conversation is new and every possibility is new.

Learning how to improve sales depends so much on how we approach sales.


What Motivates Us

The stories and beliefs we make into habits also motivate us. This is why it is VITAL to train ourselves to think about things that will positively and productively motivate us.


Here’s an example:


Story: If I don’t get this I won’t have any money.

This creates motivation from fear of lack.


Instead, try shifting to this story:

Story: This opportunity might bring me abundance, but if not, there are a million other possibilities I don’t even know about yet.


This creates motivation out of ease and excitement.


What We Focus On

Ever been mid-way through a conversation and forgotten what you were saying—or worse yet, realize you didn’t hear your prospect because your mind was elsewhere?


Losing our place in the conversation happens to all of us, sometimes. And the stories we tell ourselves are not always to blame. Sometimes, it’s just part of being human.


So, if you find it happens to you often, here’s a conversational go-to tip:


Next time you find your train of thought derailed, pause, take a breath, and try saying something like, “You know, I was going to say something, but I just had a thought that was so compelling I am going to shift gears…”


Remember, it’s totally natural to feel nervous, and when we stay authentic, we don’t have to let anxiousness hijack our sales conversations.


Instead, imagine being immersed in a sales conversation that doesn’t even feel like a “sales” conversation. Imagine it feels so natural, so inspiring and so engaging, that you actually feel more energized when you finish.


Yep, that’s what we’re going for. And it is possible.


Especially when we let go of expectations and fears, and bring our focus to the present moment.


To do this, we may have to shift some of our old fear-based stories, such as:

  • “I’m never heard:” Do you find yourself focusing on what a prospect has to say, or talking because you feel afraid they won’t hear you?

  • “I’m going to lose the sale:” Do you notice you’re so focused on actually making the sale that you miss an opportunity to address objections?


Learning how to improve sales conversations really can be simple—and just takes small shifts in focus.


It may sound counter-intuitive, but try placing expectations aside for a moment, and surrender to the conversation—trusting that when you show up as your authentic self, you’ll experience a better outcome.


Our Outcome

Because the stories we tell ourselves impact our approach to, motivation and focus during sales conversations, they also impact our outcomes.


Here is an example:


If you’re constantly worried you won’t’ make a sale (because of an ‘I never make sales’ story replaying), all your focus goes to that story and you may miss opportunities to address objections.


But, if you shift that story to, ‘I am present through each conversation,’ you’ll stay more open to receiving possibilities.


One of the simplest ways to understand how to improve sales outcomes is to understand the beliefs that drive our sales conversations.


Key Tips:

Think about what stories you’re carrying with you that influence:

  1. Your approach to sales conversations.

  2. What motivates you.

  3. What you focus on during the conversation.

  4. Your outcomes.

If it all seems a tad overwhelming, try this: Just notice.


Notice what thoughts and stories keep replaying. Don’t even worry about trying to change them yet. Because, just noticing them is actually the biggest leap. And just noticing is easy when we get honest with ourselves, am I right?


Learning how to improve sales conversations is more simple than we often make it. And learning how to improve sales outcomes is so much less stressful when we realize we can throw off that silly, old-school, “sales face façade.”

Stay tuned for our next post where we'll be discussing the 5 Key Steps in the Sales Process.


Learn more about how you can transform your confidence and leverage vulnerability the right way to increase sales.


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© 2023 by Alison Proffit, DBA Proffit Coach