Sales Pro: “Why” Stories Sell

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The Test Drive:

Recently, my wife’s aunt and uncle bought a new Honda CRV. As with many of us, they not only did their research but they wanted to test drive the car.  This involved the dreaded trip to the local Honda dealership in Carlsbad, CA in northern San Diego County.

Talk about an industry that has created the image of the Sales Schmo! I have experienced the 20 year old sales person going to the 21 year old manager and coming back to me with the 4 quadrants of pricing that are nowhere close to what we discussed. It gives me shivers.

This day was different though.  When they went to the dealership (Hoehn Honda) they were greeted by the Sales Professional as they walked in the door.  They knew what they wanted and let sales professional know immediately why there were there.  The conversation turned to safety.  To illustrate how well Honda addressed safety concerns the sales professional told them a story.

The Story

About 1 ½ years earlier a guy walked into the dealership to ask a strange question, “How do I get a hold of Honda corporate?” he asked.  The sales professional asked why he wanted to know and the answer he got was not what he expected.

“My family was in bad car accident a little over a week ago coming down from the local mountains. A car coming up the mountain lost control in the rain and slid across the center median and hit our car, a 2006 Honda Pilot. Next thing I know we are tumblinStorytelling_Baby with Glassesg across the road headed for the cliff.  Fortunately after turning over 2 ½ times the car flips back onto its tires after hanging upside down for a second. I looked out my blown out window and all I could see was the double yellow line in the road right below us. I looked at my wife who seemed okay then took a deep breath and looked in the back seat to see if our 8 year old daughter and 4 year old son were okay.  All I saw was two sets of big blue eyes staring back at me. After asking them to move their arms and legs and seeing they were okay. I, with the help of my wife holding the steering wheel, moved the car to the side of the road and turned off the engine. Ultimately it turned out my wife broke her wrist pretty severely and I bruised my ribs and had a small a cut on my leg, but that was it.  My children, didn’t have a scratch or a bruise.  I just came here to find out who I could thank for saving my family’s lives.”

My wife’s Aunt and Uncle couldn’t believe what they had just heard.  They quickly let the sales professional know that the man who walked into that dealership that day and told them the story was their niece’s husband…me.

“Why” the Story Works

March 20th, 2011 is with me every day, and in this case, it lives with this sales professional as well.  My wife’s Aunt and Uncle, bought their car from that sales professional. Why?

  1. They were impressed with the exact detail with which he told the story.
  2. He did not exaggerate the story but told it accurately and with conviction.  I only spoke with him briefly two years ago, but he listened.
  3. The story was relevant to the value of safety they expressed was a priority for them.
  4. Obviously he believes in the value and the mission of his company. Two years later he is still selling cars for Honda, at the same dealership and illustrates his belief in the company by telling an honest, accurate and compelling story.

It is not enough to know what your company does, makes, executes, etc…you must BELIEVE in it.

It is not enough to know the features a prospective client is looking for…they must BELIEVE in your ability to satisfy their underlying “why.”

This is where most Sales Professionals fall down and get lazy.  You need to take a breath, take the time to discover, ask questions and tell genuine stories that connect to their “why.”

This is the difference between a Sales Pro and a Sales Schmo. Which are you?

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.
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