Using Stories to Sell

Ford_harding Anecdotes are an effective tool in overcoming common selling challenges, according to However, to use anecdotes to your advantage while selling legal services, you need to know which elements to include to be sure that your story is effective in closing new business.

According to writer Ford Harding is the author of Creating Rainmakers (Wiley, 2006), there are 10 guidelines to follow that make a good anecdote in a call on a prospective client:

  1. The story must be relevant to the prospective client. The idea is to let listeners know that the story you are about to tell will be linked to the specific concern they have raised.
  2. Select an anecdote the listener can relate to.  Bankers like stories about banks, and are unlikely to be impressed by a story about a your successf helping a government agency solve a collections problem.
  3. Emphasize the similarities. So, when telling a story to a banker in Chicago about a much smaller bank you work for in Cleveland, it becomes "another Midwestern bank."
  4. Every good story has a plot, character, action and outcome. Plot is built around the fundamental threat or opportunity that the character in the story faces.
  5. Use only one plot per anecdote. More than one plot will result in a long, rambling, and confusing story that will not help you. You can always tell a second anecdote later as the basis to make a different point.
  6. Use a character whom your prospect identifies with. Perhaps the single most common weakness of anecdotes is the absence of the character. A a story that is about someone with whom the client identifies will be much more interesting and memorable to him or her than will a story about you.
  7. Tailor your character to your listener. If your'e speaking to the CEO, you should have a CEO or other line manager as the hero. If you're speaking to the head of human resources, you should have the human resources professional as the hero.
  8. Describe actions. Action increases interest by creating images that the listener can visualize. And the client is more likely to remember the story that he visualizes.
  9. A good story must have a clear outcome. So, for example, a story should end with a crucial outcome, "I have never forgotten that lesson," without which you may simply sound as if you were complaining.
  10. Practice your stories. Stories that you plan and rehearse are often better than those told extemporaneously. Listen to a professional tell a particularly compelling story, and it is probably one that she has told many times before.

That reminds me of a story...

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Stark County Law Library Blog - December 7, 2006 8:53 AM
Posted by Larry Bodine:
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Shawn Callahan - December 8, 2006 9:57 PM

Telling good stories is an effective selling technique. There is a flip side: how to elicit stories from your clients. That's what we do at Anecdote. You might find our eBook on how to elicit stories using a technique we call 'anecdote circles' interesting.

Dr.S.Kaniadakis - December 27, 2006 8:35 PM

Well, what do u think? Should Ametex-Medical, Dr.S.Kaniadakis, Future Genetics and file an "Objection" against YouTube's attempt to Register and retain exclusive Rights to the use of the words "Broadcast Yourself". When we have common law rights to "Program Yourself", previously filed and Registered w/ The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. In particular, a series of Registered trademarks that included "Programmatic", et., el., for cassetes and programs written in a "musical design",for screen viewing. When YouTube, vis-a-via, Google have on thier site a "Program Yourself" link video. Though, we await Google's #1 emploee's email response for a partnership on educational programs and a genetic program. Well? Does it take rocking the boat, or the ship in the case of Google, the Mother ship.

Dr.S.Kaniadakis - December 27, 2006 8:49 PM

Google is on the verge of an educational design, which could change the delivery system of global education, textbooks and lectures. Yhaoo! was given the chance, however, thier Sue does not even have email! Imagine that. Yahoo! executives without email, they cannot even fake like they read it. Whereas, we have sent the Executive Summary to Google's #1 emploee, and we await his reply for the partnership, sponsorship or alliance. We reject the notion that our "Programmed" or "Programmatic" Learning Formula, "Featuring Automatic Learning Without Trying," is a form of "mind control", and the old advertising subliminal science. It is for the good of education tht this educational operational system is promoted and intended to serve the world wide web. ,,s.kaniadakis,ametex-medical,,,DNA and You.

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