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The best salespeople and sales leaders are compelling storytellers. They can draw their audience in, keep their focus, and guide them to their outcome. Anytime they tell a story, they’re taking their listener on a journey: The Hero’s Journey.
There are seven key elements of a compelling and engaging story:
The Hero is the main focus of the story. The hero can be a person, group of people, company, product, or organization. The hero provides the audience the opportunity to align with the compelling focus and desired outcomes of the story. The hero is someone relatable, who compels others to align with them and continue listening until the end.
The Challenge is what the hero has to overcome. The challenge is the obstacle and the beginning of the dilemma in the story. Often, the challenge provides an opportunity for the audience to align with the hero; it draws people in to learn more about how they will handle and utilize the challenges they are facing in their own lives.
What makes a hero a hero? It’s the challenges and obstacles they have to overcome in order to emerge as the star of the show. As you speak with potential clients, you can use your own personal challenges and share your journey to becoming your own hero. This can be the perfect opportunity for the audience to align with you and what you’re going through. This is the part of your story that draws people in for more, wanting to know how they might be able to handle the same or similar challenges in their own life. You have to recognize your challenges and be able to talk about the value that came from them, which shows your audience how they can become the hero, too.
The Choices are the options the hero has in front of them on how to approach the challenge. The storyteller lays out all of the options the hero had (or thought they had) in the story. This can add even more depth to the challenge, providing perspective and showing the contemplation and weight of the internal struggle the hero experienced.
The Decision is the moment the hero’s transformation begins. The storyteller creates such a buildup with choices that the audience is sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of which direction the story will go! In this pivotal moment, the hero cuts off all other options and makes a conscious decision on how to move forward.
The Battle occurs when the Hero faces the source of the challenge. Once a decision is made, the battle can begin. The battle can be physical, mental, or emotional, and it serves as the climax of the story when the audience gets worried about how or if the hero is going to make it through to the end. This component of the story is a great opportunity to generate an emotional build-up of what the hero has endured. Our personal battles produce some of our greatest lessons and stories.
As you take your audience through the battle, you want to make sure you go into detail about how the hero felt – you want your audience to be cheering the hero on! Remember, the goal is for your audience to relate to the challenge and battle the hero has to face. You want them to feel that by aligning with you, they can achieve the same results.
The Transformation is who the hero becomes as a result of the battle. At this point, having endured the battle, the hero has experienced a transformation that the audience starts to hear and see through the description of how they have changed. The hero realizes that everything they went through has shaped them in a positive way.
As the hero overcomes or steps up to challenges and successfully conquers the battle, they reach the point of transformation, where they’ve become the hero they set out to be in their vision.
The Lesson is what the audience walks away with at the end of the story. It’s the opportunity for the audience to digest the moral or final idea as to why the story was told and what there is to learn from it. The lesson provides closure to the story, showing the benefits that came as a result of the hero’s transformation.
As a sales leader, understanding the elements of a story can help you align with your team, keeping them engaged when you are teaching them a new skill, and helping them move through challenges by learning from your journey.
As a salesperson, understanding the elements of a story can help you align with your prospects and clients, keeping them engaged while you are presenting your products or service, showing them how working together can help them solve their challenges, and moving you closer to a sale.
To learn how to become a more compelling and effective storyteller, join the largest sales association in the world and take advantage of all the resources available to you www.nasp.com
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.