Story context is a critical element to creating compelling stories. Stories which convince people to buy whatever it is you sell – and buy more than once from you. And, stories which inspire people, like you, to move one millimeter beyond legacy mindset, habits and behaviors.
You know the saying: “The devil’s in the details”? Well, those details are your story context: the environment surrounding the decision to be made. And, when you dilute, fast-forward or even omit details you feel are unimportant, decision makers get confused. They become skeptical about lack of continuity and gaps in the details you present. About how your products and services will truly meet their needs, over time, as their businesses grow. Especially when these omitted details surface, often inconveniently, both pre- and post-sale.
As a result, gaps in story context promote the easiest decision for decision makers to make. They “think about it,” rather than take action. Again.
A common way of avoiding story context is by leaving out the most critical people required to close those story context gaps.
Most of the time, these professionals are involved in the post-sale care and feeding of customers, once a sale is consummated. Or, these professionals create mission-critical engineered and coded solutions, integrating your products and services.
Unfortunately, when salespeople bring in engineers and other experts towards the end of the sales cycle, undiscovered elements of story context are, well, discovered. At “that” final meeting, when the sale is assumed, but not yet closed. As a result, when these important details see the light of day, the client feels the salesperson has not been truthful with them. You know, full disclosure, transparency and all that ethical stuff.
Not a great start to client experience, is it?
Realistically, these actions are not a matter of ethics (at least I hope not). That salesperson avoids story context details because they avoid working with pre- and post-engineers or software technicians. Because these technical specialists tend to marginalize non-technical colleagues seated around the table.
And, because these specialists often discover what that salesperson overlooks, omits or dismisses. When closing the sale is the goal, projects are over-promised and under-specified. And the resulting engineered solutions can become nightmares, instead of providing rewarding returns on investment. The type of ROI which retains clients.
When complex sales cycles are elongated, or completely evaporate, consider whether avoiding story context is the root cause. Then, take action, rather than thinking about it. Or, hoping the next sale is easier to close. Discover how co-created stories with, yes, “those” technical experts, provide compelling means of not only closing the first sale. But also, retaining successful clients, as well.
Something different? Outside of your current mindset, habits and behaviors? Good. That’s what One Millimeter Mindset™ is all about. Then, take your next steps towards customer retention success.
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Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling Speaking Programs leverage storytelling for STEM professionals and left brain thinkers to catalyze employee and customer success and retention. Especially in digitally transforming industries with STEM and left-brain stakeholders. Discover Babette’s professional story here. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. Contact Babette here.
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