No, I don't mean liars. I hope that great salesmen have long since outgrown the stereotypical fast-talking flem-flam men of yesteryear. I hope. What I mean is that many of the best salesmen I know and have known during my lifetime are literally fine entertainers by their ability to relate to people and engage their interest by telling on the spot appropriate illustrative stories that facilitate their sales. How?
People inherently are captured by stories. It is in our DNA to take note and listen to a good story. It's why we read, go to movies, watch TV series, or even watch the news. Storytelling is somewhat a God-given talent, but it can be developed. Anyone can become a good enough story teller to build sales report with their clients. I know this as I have done exactly that within my lifetime. It probably didn't hurt that my Mom was a good fiction writer and that my Dad could frame a good story. Nor does it hurt that I'm a purported descendant of Charles Dickens.
But seriously, any genetic imprints that I may have are so vastly dilute by now that they had absolutely no influence on my barely-competent story-telling. I only WISH that I could claim such gifts. I came into this world as a stammerer with more than one impediment to my speech. What some even today tease me about is NOT the slow drawl of a southern accent, although I am afflicted with that too. I have a time-delay between my thoughts being formed and them being translated into words. This combined with an inherently "shy" temperament were never conducive to any career relying upon speech. Who would have ever suspected that I would excel in face-to-face sales? But I consistently have for a near lifetime.
I started to overcome my fear of public speaking during a Boy Scout merit badge when I was in the sixth grade. I recognized that my inhibitions could be detrimental to my progress so I first learned everything that I could about public speaking and conversation and directly confronted my fears by seeking opportunities to speak in front of people as often as I could. I first spoke in front of our Boy Scout Troop's sponsoring Optimist Club. Then I spoke in front of my entire junior high school assembly while I was in the seventh grade. Both of these experiences were absolutely terrifying. But the feedback I received made me realize that no one except I me could tell how frightened I was. This helped a bit.
By the time I was in High School I was an accomplished public speaker, though Istill froze up somewhat in front of certain people--such as very attractive girls. This I must confess further fueled my quest for excellence as a conversationalist. What won't we do for love, and as a teen, I was constantly in love with a lot of girls. Yes, this was powerful motivation to master conversation. And I did.
As a young photographer and then as a young salesman I interacted with a lot of people. I was pretty comfortable in my approach, but it was not stellar. I would see those seasoned professional salesmen who had the gift of gab who seemed to spontaneously spew forth entertaining stories that were perfectly apropos to make a specific and pertinent point.
I observed people warm up to these salesmen and laugh and knee-slap or sow concern or exactly whatever the salesman desired in order to set a mood or or ease tensions as needed. What? Did these guys do? (Sorry, they were all guys, but there are certainly as many gals imbued with the same gifts.) Did they memorize a gazillion stories and recall them in alphabetical order? Wow? I could never do that.
Whether they did or they didn't I may never know. I didn't ask, though I should have. But I am pretty sure that they didn't memorize these stories. I know for sure that I didn't memorize stories--not many anyway, although I DID become a good story-telling salesman and marketer. This proves that the talent is not a mere DNA imprint. I believe that virtually anyone with a half a brain can learn this art. AND I believe that it will make you a superior salesman and a great conversationalist. I think my children have learned this skill by my example. You can learn it too.
In order to inject a more scientific structure to this method, I have given some thought as to how you can replicate the process that went through to learn sales-oriented story-telling. This knowledge can also benefit you while giving speeches, preparing lessons to teach, teaching your own children, or for any kind of interpersonal verbal or written discourse. I will polish my first draft of the next part of this series of posts to be posted within a few days.
Mmeanwhile, read my next post for a thought that I have already polished on quite a different topic.