The True Story of How One Man Used Stories to Become the Number One Salesperson

It was three weeks before the Christmas holidays in Australia and Matthew Pollard, author of The Introvert’s Edge, needed a job. He had told his parents he would find work after completing school and he wanted to be faithful to his promise…plus he had no money. The difficulty was very few companies were interested in hiring someone before the holidays; then stopped hiring at all during the holidays. The only job Matthew could find was in door-to-door sales.

After being briefed on the product, Matthew headed to the streets to start his career as a door-to-door salesperson. He found a nice long street with thousands of businesses on either side so he wouldn’t have to go very far to find his next client. As he approached the first door to pitch his product, he realized something important: he had no idea how to sell. 

Matthew knocked on 93 businesses before getting his first sale, earning 70 dollars for all his hard work and trouble. He was ecstatic for a few seconds until he realized this rate of return wasn’t going to work in the long run. He chose to believe sales had to be a system, one he could learn and master and so turned to YouTube to discover the steps in that system.

Then he practiced. In a period of six weeks, he mastered each step of sales and dropped his number of attempts (and cold calls) from 93 to eventually just 3 businesses to find a sale. Then his manager pulled him into his office and told Matthew he was the number-one salesperson—not of the new people hired, but in the entire company—which was also the number-one sales company in the Southern hemisphere.

While there are many important aspects to selling, Matthew found telling stories was the best way to connect with customers for a sale. Stories helped connect to people emotionally, made it easier to remember important details, and left people with the key idea of how the product or service could benefit them. Moreover, he found people would spend a few minutes of their life to listen if it was a story and not a sales pitch. And a few minutes was all he needed to make a connection with someone. Then just a few minutes more to seal the deal.

To improve your sales, Matthew suggests you craft stories of how you helped clients in the past. Your story should have four parts: problem, analysis and implementation, outcome, and moral.

4 Steps to a Good Sales Story

1) The problem

The beginning of your story always starts with a past client. In this story, there is a client who is confused, upset, angry, frustrated with the current state of things at his business, place of work, or home life. They have problems but no solutions. Or solutions they’ve tried but which haven’t worked. Make sure you emphasize the client’s emotional state as well as how much it’s costing them or their business, and clearly describe the circumstances that brought the client to their tipping point.

2) Analysis and implementation

Next, introduce the hero. You. Briefly describe how you analyzed the client’s problem, the solution you suggested, and include the “aha” moment that shifted the client’s perspective. This story is meant to inspire, amaze, and motivate your current prospect to action. Your prospect should identify with your past client’s situation because it is similar to their current situation.

3) Outcome

Once you have your current prospect intrigued, fast forward in time. Share how your product or service helped the past client by highlighting the ROI and their emotional state: happy, ecstatic, overjoyed, etc. Draw a connection between where the client started (angry and looking for answers) to where they are today (happy and making money).

4) The moral

Your story should make clear to your current prospect why they need the same solution, without ever telling them they do. Summarize the customer’s learning in the story, highlighting why you’re the right person to deliver those results to them too. 

After writing the four parts to your story, take time to work on your delivery. A good story takes time to craft and perfect. You won’t get the story right the first time. It might go on too long, have too much detail, or not enough information where it’s needed. After delivering it a few times, it will get better. You’ll know your story is really working when those sales start increasing.

If you would like to learn more about how to craft the perfect sales story, contact BigSpeak Speakers Bureau to book Matthew Pollard for your next sales event or conference.

Kyle Crocco is the Content Marketing Coordinator at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and the lead singer of Duh Professors. He regularly publishes business book reviews and thought articles on MediumBusiness 2 Community, and Born 2 Invest.