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How Mini-Stories Can Help Buyers Reject the Status Quo... and Embrace You

by Michael Harris  |  
June 24, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to effectively use storytelling to move buyers toward a change
  • An example of a story that convinces buyers to buy your offering

With 150 emails and 30 voicemails a day, and 60-80-hour workweeks thanks to corporate reorganizations, buyers are so busy today that to survive they have learned that they can't do it all.

Consequently, buyers now often stick with the status quo—even when it hurts the company.

Logic doesn't help

Product pitches, value propositions, and logical arguments do not convince a buyer in denial to change. In fact, to protect the status quo and survive, the buyer needs you to be wrong.

Even if the seller makes a brilliant logical case for an offering, the buyer's counterarguments to protect the status quo will always win—because the final judge is in the buyer's head.

Most important, the problem the seller is trying to help the buyer overcome isn't a logical problem; it's an identity problem. So, using logic is like throwing a drowning man a fire extinguisher. It doesn't work, it's the wrong tool.

Move buyer from critic to participant

So what does work? Provide your salesperson the right message to deliver via mini-stories that help the buyer make a discovery: that the status quo is no longer acceptable.

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Michael Harris is CXO of Insight Demand, a sales-training company that helps sellers take the shortest path to more revenue—through the power of storytelling. He is also author of Insight Selling.

LinkedIn: Michael Harris

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  • by Philip Gibson Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    On a similar theme, you might be interested to compare an elevator pitch with a brand story. You can find a couple of short videos at

  • by David H. Deans Sun Jun 26, 2011 via web

    The example doesn't read like a story -- with a beginning, middle and end -- this is a short case study.

  • by Michael Harris Tue Jun 28, 2011 via web

    Fair enough, call it a business case study story(ish).

    I tried to make the beginning about his problem. Purchasing is requiring him to work with too many vendors.

    The middle is Dave wondering that there must be a better way.

    The end is he finds a way to get what he wants.

    I then tried to wrap some of these facts in the emotion of frustration.

    I focus a lot on filling the story with the right information but I am open on how to write a better story and I would welcome your input. Maybe you could take a go at it.

  • by Sharon Kurlansky Fri Jul 1, 2011 via web

    ..and what are stories without pictures? a powerful and memorable opportunity to share your vision by adding emotion/ insight to your story.

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