Updated: May 20, 2018
You’re all prepared to give a high-stakes sales presentation.
Solid arguments. Check.
Airtight logic. Check.
Pricing advantage. Check.
Benefit comparison. Check.
You are locked and loaded.
Weeks later, you get the call you’ve been waiting for.
Only, it’s to tell you the business has been awarded to someone else.
You’re told, "It was a tough decision….but."
And you find out the job was awarded to a competitor who can’t possibly offer anything close to what you offered.
You wonder, "How could this have happened?
We had all the Cargo - with a Capital C!"
Well, it's quite possible that your competitor had a "good" you didn’t have.
It also start’s with a Capital C.
What is Chemistry?
In the context of relationships, chemistry is the feeling people get when they share an emotional connection.
The key word here is "emotional,"
as in feeling,
as in something that a facts (or opinions) won’t generate without some help.
The first thing you must do to generate chemistry is to realize two things about human nature.
1. People like to buy from people they like.
2. And the reason people like certain people is because they can relate to or identify with them.
That’s where stories come to the rescue.
As you are presenting, your audience is assessing clues about who you are and how they feel about you.
Some clues are provided by the way you are dressed and your speech patterns.
Your experience and credentials provide even more.
However, clues you provide them about what makes you tick will say much more.
And stories provide the perfect vehicle for doing just that.
Connecting with stories
Ginni Rometty is the first female CEO of IBM. During a question and answer forum she was asked how she is able to keep coming up with fresh ideas.
Watch how she answered this question:
After showing this video, we ask our workshop participants to throw out adjectives that describe Ginni Rometty.
We typically hear "smart," down-to-earth," "approachable," and "real."
Try coming up with your own descriptions.
And then, notice something important.
Ginni Rometty didn’t use one of those words to describe herself.
She let the inherent power of stories do that for her.
"Stories reveal meaning without making the mistake of defining it."
In one sentence, Hannah Ahrends, the German philosopher described one of the biggest advantages to using stories in the context of a presentation. Stories don't instruct people what to think of you.
They allow people to come to their own more trustworthy conclusions.
See for yourself.
Tell someone you are fair-minded.
Compare that to the what happens when you tell a story about how you once had to make a tough decision fairly.
Tell someone you are trustworthy.
Compare that to to what happens when you tell a story about someone you admire who demonstrated trustworthiness. Do this in such a way as to demonstrate that trustworthiness is something you value highly.
Here’s How To Practice Using Storie
First, reflect on an experience you or someone you know had that you could bring into your presentation. Just make sure that it is relevant to the point you want to make.
Let’s say your company is not as well known as the company your competing with.
You might start out by with a self-effacing comment like:
Since we were kids, we’ve always been told not to judge a book by its cover. Right? Well, I’m still learning.
And then, tell your story:
Six months ago, we put our house up for sale. I was insistent on selling it through a real estate company that had a well- known brand name. Joan, my wife, wanted to sell through a particular broker she liked from a not-so-well-known firm. We debated, but I prevailed.
Our house is still on the market.
The other day, Joan ran into her broker friend from that not-so-well-known company. The broker asked why our MLS listing had our square footage listed differently from what Joan had originally told her it was. Sure enough, when we checked, we discovered the that EVERY internet listing of our house was wrong.
This has cost me more than you know. Besides the problem of having a house that is still unsold, I have had to once again surrender to the fact that my wife is smarter than me.
Then, make your point:
I know that familiarity is not one of my company’s strong-points. We’re newer than the other companies you’re talking with. For that reason, I urge you to talk with our current customers. Ask them how we compare.
In this example, you could have just made the previous point without the story. But your story about your experience let them into your life and told them a whole lot about you as a person.
Here are some other ways you can use stories to build chemistry. Just click on the e-book below and you’ll find 6 methods you can start using in your next presentation.
I’d love to know what happens when you do