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Tell Me A Story

Published on August 16th, 2017

Take a moment and think of your most compelling sales memory. Think about a
sales seminar, a purchase you made with the salesperson leaving a huge impression
on you, or even a professor or teacher whose lecture you remember and can still re-
tell to others even after possibly many years. There is a common thread between
these examples that is actually hard wired into our brains. Human beings have been
around for over 100,000 years. Earliest cave paintings have been around for
roughly 27,000 years. The written word has only been used to convey history or
thought for about 5,000 years. Just the simple math of those figures tell you that the
“stories” that we hear and tell are far older and likely more sophisticated than the
most detailed writings of our experiences. But there is more to it than that. As just
another animal in the animal kingdom, our brains have been evolving since our
early existence. As mammals and apex predators, we have evolved to use our larger
brains to communicate very complex thought patterns and speech. All of this time
and experience have combined to create a rich and colorful way of getting our point
across. Our brains are literally developed to respond to story telling to remember
experiences and use those memories to trigger responses in other members of our
species. The frontal cortex of a human is most active when listening to, and
preparing to respond to another human communicating with us through speech.
We have evolved so specifically, that certain words or phrases used most often like,
“you can say that again” are disregarded as non-essential phrases. Greater
importance is placed when a story begins with “I remember when I was younger, my
Dad used to tell me…..”
The collaborative effect of making another person stop, listen, and think of what
their Mother or Father might have told them is literally seared into our DNA. 25,000
years ago, it might have been advice on how to run down a zebra or avoid a lion, but
the brain still operates the same when being told how to avoid a collision in a car.
What this means for us today is significant when selling or even buying. A great
storyteller can capture one’s attention, captivate their audience, and communicate
intentions far more successfully than a salesperson going through features,
advantages, and benefits. It’s difficult to be disciplined in today’s hustle bustle
world in which demands are placed on a salesperson to get results fast, but longer
lasting, greater results can be had if you will just take the time to tell stories and let
your customers tell you their stories. It’s the quickest way to build rapport, and
most importantly, be remembered by your audience. So take some time to think of a
dozen or so stories that you can use to illustrate who you are, and what you are
trying to communicate. Go ahead and tell me a story!

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