Jon Carson Consulting May 2018

5 Secrets

to Storytelling

In 1914, Peter Wege fabricated a steel wastebasket. You might not think this is a big deal, but smoking in the office was in vogue at that time. Lighting up in the office was the equivalent to an office worker’s penchant for a cup of coffee in the morning. Therein lies the challenge and the beginning of the largest office furnishings manufacturer in the world — Steelcase.

My general manager walked into the studio, like Donald Trump used to on ‘The Apprentice,’ and said, ‘Dave, you’re fired!’” Most nod or laugh during the story, and I follow it up by saying, “Oh, you worked for this guy, too? 20 years of sportscasting on the nightly news, and it was over in the blink of an eye. What would I do? Then someone said, ‘You have the gift of gab. You should go into sales.’ And just like that, I became an accidental salesperson.” O ver and over. Tell that story and own that story. Get so good at it that people can’t ignore you. To really nail it, use a prop. I use two when I tell my two stories: a bullhorn and a phone book. R eal deal. The story must be real and about your struggle. Man versus beast. Woman beats the odds. If it’s not real, not only will the prospect see right through it, but you will have no conviction to lead the way into the first question.

Can you tell a story about your company that has a similar feel to it? Storytelling is the harbinger of great sales. That’s because of one simple reason: Curiosity leads to questions. If you’re able to create a dialogue with customers, you have the beginnings of a great sales foundation. I want to challenge you today with this question: If I were to recommend you or your product to someone, what would I tell them about you? If your answer starts with something like “We’ve been around for a long time,” or “We do what we say, and we’re good guys,” you need to work on your S.T.O.R.Y. Here is the acronym I’ve created for you to tell a great story to your prospects. S imple. Your story should be simple. My story begins with, “It was the Montana State Fair, and my granddad was the rodeo announcer. I kept thinking that, if only he would let me have the microphone, I could take the announcing world by storm. Then it happened, and a sixth-grade announcer in the making finally had his shot. ‘Hello!’ I yelled into the microphone at the top of my lungs. And my world changed just like that.” T wo stories are a must. You only need two, but you need to own them. Depending on the circumstances, I start every presentation with one of my two stories. One is the broadcaster, and the other is the sales training. “I remember it like it was yesterday.

Y OLO. “What the hell is YOLO?” I asked my daughter. She responded, “Dad, get with it. You only live once.” That’s it. If you think you don’t have a story, you’re wrong. You only live once, and if you spend some time thinking about it, you’ll discover a story. And because it’s about you, you’ll be able to express passion and ownership to the prospect. It will show them that you’re more than “yell and tell.” It’ll show that you’re a trusted advisor with a great S.T.O.R.Y. If you found this helpful in any way, you can catch more articles and advice from my monthly newsletter. Please reach out to me at for a chance to get involved.



“Dave’s live cold-call training was the best experience I have ever had. In most trainings I’ve attended, people talk to us about what we should do. Never have I ever had an actual call take place live during training like Dave did. Not only does he teach it, but he does it. I highly recommend Dave Tester’s call training for any business!”

–Cassandra M., Bakersfield, CA


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