Telling a story when selling means to provide a narrative that follows a sequence of events and concepts that can allow the prospect to better understand who you are, why you are speaking to them, what you do, and ultimately why it makes sense to do business with you.
As a startup, you are almost always an unknown brand and beginning with a strong, smooth background around the founders of the company and the inspiration behind launching the company, can be a key component. This can also include the pain point that the founders encountered and planned to solve.
When I was at KickApps I used to intro my sales presentation by briefly touching upon our CEO’s background and the success that he had selling companies in his past. When I built the sales team at PunchTab, I used to mentioned how our CEO Ranjith Kumaran, was also the founder of YouSendIt.com and had built his new company to solve a problem that he encountered while still running YouSendIt.com. And now at Mopub.com which was acquired by Twitter in 2011, I always tell the story of how the founders identified a point point while employees at Admob, which was acquired by Google in 2009, and decided to solve it in 2010 by launching MoPub.
These pieces to the sales presentation provide great context and help the prospect understand what you do and why you do it a lot better. It also helps create trust in your companies leadership and team; which is so important during an the early days of a startup.
Social Proof, Names
This is something that we talk a lot about when creating investor presentations. Social proof is something that validates you and your team. This can be like well known companies that you worked for, your educational background, accomplishments, awards, people you know in common, etc.
When I was a door-to-door salesman back in college, I used to use names all the time. For example, I’d knock on a door and start by listing off a few of the prospects neighbors names in order for them to feel more comfortable with speaking with me and ultimately letting me in their home.
This was a form of creating social proof, which gave me some credibility.
I also like to tastefully like to tell quick stories about how other companies have seen value from using my product. It can sound something like: “And companies like Proctor and Gamble, CBS, and Walmart have all seen increases in social engagement and conversation by using us”.
Point is figure out your story, practice telling it over and over again, and you will execute engaging sales presentations.