You can learn about the power of storytelling in sales in the most unlikely places. We had first-hand experience of this recently when we took our chairman, Paul Honeywell, on a tour of the Yarra Valley wineries just outside Melbourne.
Paul was over from England, so we wanted to show off some of our finest local vines. Luckily, we had a helping hand in giving him a top-notch experience. Shawn’s brother Scott is VP of sales at a US wine company, and he called a friend who called a friend to let the wineries know we would be arriving. It’s not what you know …
Our first stop was De Bortoli, where we spent a couple of hours pairing different wines and cheeses, working out what goes well with what. (By the by, if you fancy knocking someone’s socks off, sparkling wine and Meredith Dairy goat cheese go together like storytelling and attractiveness).
After a wonderful and admittedly slightly wobbly day involving visits to several wineries, Shawn rang Chris Anstee (the friend of a friend and MD of Wine and Vine Personnel) to say thanks, in particular for the amazing service we received at De Bortoli. He offered Chris a copy of his book Putting Stories to Work, explaining that it was about storytelling in the workplace (What else?!). Chris laughed and said, ‘It’s so funny that you say that’.
How selling through storytelling worked on us!
Chris explained that he had a friend who runs a mystery shopping company that goes around cellar doors and rates the staff on various criteria. One of those criteria is whether or not they tell stories. It turns out there’s clear evidence that cellar door staff who tell stories generate seven times more revenue than those who don’t.
On reflection, this was certainly the case with our trip. We didn’t notice ourselves doing it, but we purchased a lot of wine from Mandy at De Bortoli, who was in fact a great storyteller – we left there with our car boot well and truly full. And the wineries where stories were light and facts were heavy? We left pretty much empty-handed.
As Dan Pink says in To Sell Is Human, we are all sellers, so we may as well be good ones.
Click here if you want to find out more about going from being good at sales, to being great at sales.
About Lucy Honeywell
Lucy helps Anecdote tell our story to the world, through marketing and social media. She also supports our global Partner network in their quest to bring storytelling into business.