Everyone in mortgage origination knows that selling has changed dramatically from just a few years ago. Not that long ago, salespeople held all the information and customers had to contact them to get access to it. Now, buyers can conduct research online 24/7 to answer their home financing questions before reaching out to a salesperson. That said, originators still have an important role to play in the buyer’s journey but, it is much earlier in the selling process and requires them to be master storytellers if they want to be successful.
While some originators think that storytelling is only for entertainers and writers, good storytelling is a skill that separates top producers from the rest of the pack. It is a real competitive advantage because it helps the salesperson quickly develop rapport and trust with prospects in a world where consumers no longer believe a company’s marketing spiel.
No sales brochure, website or mobile app can accomplish what a good story can when it comes to making a connection with a prospect. When a salesperson tells a good story, prospects are able to relax and listen to what is being said. If an originator doesn’t use stories, potential customers can be defensive and resistant to making changes.
Why Storytelling Works
It might seem that good stories are just for kids but adults love a good story too. Just consider the enduring appeal of soap operas or Disney films. The reason? In the article “Sales Storytelling for Startups,” Tricia Levasseur explains that storytelling works “because the human brain is drawn towards clarity. Telling a story is a sense-making device.” This applies whether it is navigating the world we live in or thinking about buying a house. According to Levasseur, storytelling is an organizing tool that works to simplify and give meaning to unfiltered information.
The good news is that storytelling isn’t just for face-to-face meetings or presentations. It works across all communication platforms. Whether in a webinar, podcast or on social media, storytelling should be used to engage target audience groups.
It is a simple fact of selling that individuals will likely become buyers if they understand what they are getting and it is the job of the salesperson to generate interest and awareness. Storytelling is one of the best tools originators have to engage prospects and referral sources.
Using a Storytelling Framework
For centuries, important lessons were taught using a framework that had a beginning, a middle and an end. This is still true today whether it is a musical, movie or a Netflix show.
The beginning is where the characters are introduced and the hero wants something. In business, this is equivalent to the period of time when the status quo is dominant for the referral source or consumer. In the middle, the main character faces a conflict and their world is disrupted. In business, it is the time period when it becomes apparent that a customer’s goals might not be met. In the final act, the hero wins out and the conflict or obstacle is conquered. In business, the conflict is resolved and the hero’s life is made better and their goals are achieved with an originator’s help. It is important to recognize that the customer is always the hero.
Effective sales stories describe what customers want; the obstacles they face; and what their lives look like after they get what they want. Ineffective sales stories focus on the company or the salesperson. No one cares about your company’s industry ranking or that you’re in the President’s Club unless they already have a relationship with you. Build a relationship first through great storytelling!