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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Mar 3, 2015 7 min read

Inbound Sales: Tell Your Story So Your Prospect Is The Hero

Inbound Marketing HeroIf you're moving from a traditional sales process to an inbound sales process, you need to shift the focus within the stories you tell.

Most companies try to make their own business or product the hero, but with inbound sales, you have to make your prospect the hero.

Not sure what I mean by that? Well, when you talk to prospects, what's the focus of your story? Is it your company, your product, you? If you’re telling prospects, “Don’t worry. What we do will save the day,” you’re making YOU the hero of the story. What we’re suggesting is that you change the focus to, “Don’t worry. After we’re finished, you’re going to look like a star for bringing us in.” Now, your prospect is the hero.

This might seem subtle or even inconsequential, but to your prospects, it means everything. Making them the hero gets them involved emotionally. And if you’ve been listening, you know that people buy emotionally first and rationalize second.

Here are some tips on how to make your sales stories feature your prospect as the hero.

Help them see how their life is going to be better if they choose your company.

This one might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many sales people actually run right past this. You have to ask enough questions and know enough about a prospect’s business to start telling these stories.

You really need to understand their sales process if you're going to show them how it'll be compacted. You have to know about their sales people in order to illustrate how those who feel challenged are going to be able to work differently. You must identify their close rate in order to help them see what an increase in this rate means to them from a revenue perspective. Each of these items puts your prospect at the center of the story, making them a hero to their bosses and peers.

Share stories of how others like them achieved the results you’re promising.

This isn’t wildly different from what most good sales people do now. Sharing stories about other businesses is Sales 101. If you want to make your prospect the hero, however, you have to take it a little further and connect the story to their specific situation.

“You see, this company that we worked with had a similar situation, and they were able to change how they rolled out their product by using our software. In your case, it would work in a similar way, but we’d want to tailor the rollout to your specs so that your smaller team doesn’t become overwhelmed.”

Model the exact results for their business.

When you tell prospects about the results that others attained, it only goes so far. It’s easy for those people to think to themselves, “Well, that business is different from mine. They had a great leader, and they’ve been doing it for three years already.” It’s too easy for them to dismiss your story.

But, when you show them results for their business, based on their requirements, priorities and constraints, there isn’t much they can do to discount what you’re telling them.

Give them the ammunition, presentations, stories, educational content or blog articles so they're able to tell your story just as well as you do.

If you want them to be the hero, you have to give them the tools to succeed. It’s incredibly difficult to get other people to tell the story like you would. We’ve all seen this: You’re working with Bob, but Bob needs Marc to sign off, so you give all your documents, presentations, research and notes to Bob. Bob then meets with Marc, and Marc says, "No," or (worse), "Not now, maybe later." Ugh!

Don’t do that. Don't give Marc everything he needs to be an expert. Don’t prop him up at the very end. Make him smart from the very beginning. Explain everything to him in great detail. Shower him with educational articles, insights and thought leadership from your company and from others. Make him as smart as you, and you won’t have to worry about losing the deal. He won’t let you lose it.

Engage with them to create the final set of recommendations so they take credit for it.

Finally, if you really want to make your prospects feel like the hero, let them come up with the solution. Give them everything they need to create the set of recommendations that fits perfectly for them. Co-create the package, pricing and payments with them. Then, when they go to their boss for approval, they'll have come up with the pricing, they'll have picked out the set of features for the software, they'll have recommended the payment plan that went into the final agreement. It’s THEIR program and THEIR agreement, not yours.

Once you shift your focus from trying to get them to say "yes" to trying to educate them up to your level, the entire experience is going to change for them, in a positive way. They’re going to look at you and your sales team as trusted advisors, as people who want to help, not sell.

Start Today Tip – This strategic adjustment to your sales effort is going to take some practice. Just like working to fix your golf swing, the big muscle memory is embedded. Getting those major muscle groups to work differently takes time, patience and practice. Remember, your brain is a major organ in your body and responds in a similar way. Start thinking about featuring your prospect as the hero in your story, and over time, you're going to make the necessary adjustments.

In the meantime, want to speak with an Inbound Sales Expert? Jim Kauffman is ready to give you three inbound sales tips in 30 minutes. Simply click below.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.