Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don’t just thank ...

Here's another thought-provoking entry from Jeffrey Gitomer's blog:

It’s likely you will be with family over the holidays. Great times. Reunions. Happiness. Tears of sadness and joy. Great food. Gifts. People you love. People you kind of love. And did I mention great food? Most people (not you of course) celebrate by adding to their waistline during these times. But I’m going to share a major strategy.

Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, families will gather and talk about old times. Growing up, vacations, past holidays. They all start out, “Remember the time that…” and they go on to tell a funny or poignant story. THESE STORIES ARE GOLD.

These golden lessons and stories are all around you, and many of them fit your selling situations, and relationship-building process. Real stories authenticate you. They make you more human, more approachable, more relatable, and even (if the story is right) more trustworthy.

First get the stories rolling:
• Start by asking folks to tell their most memorable story.
• Then ask about best times or best lessons learned. Ask people for stories where they learned lessons from mistakes, embarrassing moments, funny responses, and successes.
Listen with the intent to understand (don’t interrupt):
• Listen for incidents where a lesson was learned.
• Listen for funny events or responses that are yours to retell at the appropriate time.
• At the end of the story, ask questions or request the person to elaborate or fill in missing details.
• Look for the reaction of others. It’s a hint as to how your customers may be impacted.
•Take notes. Don’t let the lessons, the lines, the humor, or the any of stories get lost in the heat of the moment. You will NEVER remember everything without taking notes.

As the stories are being told, listen for the lessons behind the endings:
• Lessons from parents, teachers, siblings.
• Lessons you learned as a child. Playing with others, school, winning, losing, getting hurt.

Often the lessons are the result of something extreme:
• The time you got into major trouble.
• The game winning score.
• The fire, the illness, loss of a friend.

Once you have the story, and can see how it applies to your life-view.

Every story I tell conveys a lesson or makes a point. Many of the stories I tell make people laugh. Many have been collected from holiday gatherings. All of my stories are personal to me. They are original.

The secret to storytelling is your enthusiasm. If you’re talking to one, or one hundred and one, each person must feel like you’re telling it for the first time, even though you may have told it 100 times before. The passion will lead to the emotion of what you want to convey.

Now that’s something to celebrate.

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