Storytelling and Successful Selling

In today’s ultra-competitive sales environment, originators are challenged more than ever with the task of getting prospects to listen to them. The “push” marketing techniques of the past where sales professionals spewed features and benefits hoping that someone had a need for their product or service are no longer effective. Now, people can filter out unwanted information with a simple click. So, how can originators get people to want to listen to them?  They need to be master storytellers.

Yes. Storytellers. While originators are continuously talking to prospects and referral sources, that doesn’t guarantee they will earn the business. Just look at the pre-approvals to closed loan numbers that show their success rates. Poor close numbers indicate that the producer didn’t engage the consumer or referral source enough to trust them to give them their business. Here is where storytelling can help.

Stories will be remembered more so than data. Dry pitches filled with facts and stats by themselves are quickly forgotten. On the other hand, a riveting story can make a lasting impression. It isn’t a coincidence that stories are a favorite of children and adults too. Who isn’t familiar with Disney’s many animated classics from Snow White to Aladdin. They are magical stories that get passed down to the next generation because they are impactful.

Top originators have mastered storytelling techniques because it helps differentiate them from the rest of the pack. They understand that information is retained more completely when taught in story form. If selling was always about numbers, everyone would be driving a Kia. According to a London School of Business study, 65 to 70 percent of information shared through stories is retained while dry presentations have a retention rate of less than 10 percent.

Effective Storytelling in Origination

Pairing features with scenarios consumers face every day is powerful. One example where storytelling can make a difference is in the daily calls originators encounter about rates and fees. This is the number one topic that surprisingly many originators don’t handle well. They answer queries by stating what their numbers are, hoping that the consumer likes them. Instead, this is a great opportunity for producers to help clients visualize how mortgage pricing works and put into context a topic that many consumers are unfamiliar with.

What Stories Should an Originator Tell?  

One of the most effective stories an originator can share is how they helped another customer with an issue similar to the prospect’s. Perhaps a previous client came to them with what they thought was a low rate but it wasn’t really. Maybe the competitor had a lower interest rate but the loan turned out to have an adjustable rate or the loan didn’t close on time. When told with rich imagery, the story can move the borrower to look at the issue in a different way. Originators have many stories to draw from that can illustrate a point to a prospect or referral source, they just need to tell them!

What Makes a Good Story?

While the details will vary, every good sales story has common elements: (1) positioning the consumer as a hero (being similar to the prospect) and not the salesperson; (2) the consumer tries to resolve their pain point by themselves; (3) there is a crossroads where they need to make a decision and are confused about what to do and  (4) the hero’s problem is solved by the salesperson’s solution.

By using storytelling techniques, originators have an opportunity to make a lasting positive impression on the borrower. Because as we all know, no one wants to be sold to anymore, but everybody loves a good story. Are you using storytelling in your origination efforts?