I couldn’t help but notice sales trends 2016 articles fizz through my feeds this month.
They all seem strangely similar to those I skimmed twelve months ago.
Embrace social media (‘social selling’), focus on (unconsidered) value, the splintering of sales ‘tech’ (‘sales development software’, anyone?), even adopt apps for just-in-time coaching. Good luck with that last one. If you’re involved in an internal initiative on that front, leave the team. Now.
One I did spot with merit, was visual storytelling.
It’s slant was to use video to get your message across.
Nothing new in that. Yet I did ponder how many salespeople ever do this. Especially today in our youtube glut, tv-redundant, every-pocket-has-a-camera age.
I also enjoyed new research that deduced our eldest fairytales are up to 6,000 years old. Amazing. Neither did I know that our written historical documents began almost 5,000 years back. And yet still no contemporary papers on “sons of god”. Go figure.
Rumpelstiltskin. Beauty & the Beast. Jack and the Beanstalk (then The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure). And the oldest of them all, The Smith & the Devil.
Various talking heads discuss how such tales survive so long. Given that neither writing nor today’s languages existed when they were formed.
One suggested it was because were weren’t in fact homo sapiens, but homo narrans. An academic meme that believes we are natural storytellers, yet under-appreciate the power of stories or “Narratives”.
To quote recently departed Discworld blockbuster sci-fi author, Terry Pratchett;
“The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.”
Considering vast swathes of sellers live in thrall to the sound of their own voice, it is remarkable how few I meet can tell their story. At all, let alone well.
There is great skill in crafting and delivering your personal, product and company stories. When right, they pack enormous punch. Yet the ability to execute correctly is excessively rare.
Think on your favourite fairy tale from your childhood.
What makes it so memorable?
The baddie? The hero? The mystery? The struggle? The challenge? The happy ending?
I found this view, from JRR Tolkien;
“The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.”
Your precious sales tales need not be full of fairies, but I bet they certainly could do with a sprinkle of magic dust.