The Paramount Value of Storytelling in Selling

September 10, 2016

Bill McGlade

With more than a dozen years of experience in the event industry, Bill McGlade is a thought leader seeking to provide provoking conversations that push the envelope and the industry forward. He is vice president of account management at Personify A2Z Events.


The hot topic these days is utilizing storytelling for connecting with our audience and prospects. Most of us in the events industry have heard a lot about storytelling, but may not understand the how or the why specifically for sales. Many times, in sales, we tend to take the traditional route of showcasing the features and benefits of a package. That is not always helpful in getting a prospective client to form a strong connection with what we are offering. Let’s take the leap, break the mold and incorporate storytelling in our narrative to sell a bit differently. Here’s why.

The Human Mind

First, a little history. Humans have been telling and recalling stories since we first learned to communicate. This is one of the backbones of our nature, the ability to tell a story. The human mind’s ability to recall and relate to these stories is even more impressive. Take a second and look back at your story, your life. How many stories can you remember? How many stories made an impression on your life?

Simplifies Selling

Stories make it easier to understand complicated concepts, anticipate outcomes and perceive the tangible and intangible value in a proposal. That is what makes it an extremely effective tool for sales. If you can take your client or prospect on a journey that explains your pitch in a way that will make exhibitors and sponsors remember it forever, wouldn’t you? Stories bring in emotions and logic to the thought process. It is these emotions that will motivate them to purchase sooner and purchase faster.

Works on Multiple Levels

Personal: When storytelling ties into the problems and issues that specific to your prospect’s concerns, it can help build a better relationship with them and help move the sales process along. Make sure to fully understand their concerns and requirements in order to appropriately personalize your narrative.

Emotions: Emotions, no matter how logical a person is, play a large factor in successful sales. Logic can change based on facts, and only facts. Emotions can be affected by numerous factors. This is a double-edged sword because many factors can change the emotional and it is key to ensure that your story address their concern and makes it clear that you empathize with them.

Multisensory: Smart sales professionals create opportunities to engage their audience through a multisensory engagement strategy during a sales demonstration. A personalized story that incorporates visuals, props and interactivity can help engage them better. Needless to say, by adding some delectable food to the equation, you can help engage multiple senses simultaneously!

How to Storytell Right

Make sure the story is true. Trust builds deeper relations. If your story is made up, it can ruin your relationship and lose that client or prospect forever. Make sure to re-read it many times, and understand fully why it works.

Create a hero. Hero stories are wildly popular in movies. If it works there, it can certainly work in sales. Narrate success stories from your current client base to create the hero’s journey.

Inspire them and give them hope that their concerns can be resolved. Educate them through the story. Education is key to the success of any story, after all there is a moral to every story. Right?


If you have been thinking that storytelling is not right for you and your sales team, this is the time to rethink your strategy. There has been a lot of success from this sales technique. If your numbers aren’t quite where they should be, where’s the harm in giving it a try?

Storytelling is powerful. It’s a way to have the mind recall things more easily. It’s a way to make sure you communicate that you understand the buyer’s concerns and can resolve them.

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