Storytelling for sales? Expert Paul Smith shares how being open and telling stories can make you more trustworthy in the eyes of prospective patients. Hear insights about:
- Paul outlines the five basic steps of the sales process and shares how storytelling for sales can help at each stage of the process
- Why sharing your story should take place organically within your conversation, and why vulnerability and humility can strengthen your bond with patients
- What kinds of stories you can share that show your trustworthiness, and in which scenarios each type of story makes the most impact
- Why thinking of yourself as the “assistant buyer” focused on helping your patient make good choices can completely reframe your storytelling
- How the right stories can help you overcome common objections and soothe the concerns of prospective patients
- Why you shouldn’t just focus on sharing personal stories from your own experiences, and why stories from colleagues can be just as impactful
Storytelling for Sales
As a Functional Medicine practitioner, it can be easy to forget that a big part of your job is sales. You have to sell your prospective patients on why you are the right person to help them with their medical challenges. But you probably weren’t taught how to sell effectively in medical school, so it’s a skill you have to learn by doing.
For this week’s episode of the FM Shift, encore guest and bestselling author Paul Smith returns to the show to discuss the incredible power of storytelling for sales. He explains how telling the right stories with authenticity and honesty can help you build trust and foster a healthy relationship with prospective patients. And that trust is crucial, both in converting prospects to patients and in maintaining your position as their trusted health advisor.
Paul Smith is an expert at understanding the value storytelling has for any business. He has worked extensively with CEOs, business leaders and corporations in a variety of fields and industries to unlock the power of storytelling for sales, and his insights are certain to prove valuable in helping you build stronger, more trusted relationships with patients and prospects.
Vulnerability and Authenticity in Storytelling for Sales
Sharing truthful, authentic stories can be a powerful way to show your prospective patients that you’re putting their needs first. An example Paul gave would be sharing a story of a time in which you identified that you weren’t the right fit for a patient. This goes far beyond telling someone that you will only take them on as a patient if you’re able to help them, it shows them that you mean it by giving them past examples where you lived up to that promise.
Not only does this help allay their fears that you might only be interested in how much money you can squeeze from them, it also shows that you are putting their needs before other considerations… and that can be a powerful way to build trust.
Expressing vulnerability and truthfulness in your stories is important. It isn’t about admitting weakness, it’s about demonstrating your honesty. Think about it, would you rather work with an auto mechanic who says “oh yeah, I can take care of that no problem, just sign on the line here”? Or would you rather work with the one who tells you “I’m definitely going to do everything I can to take care of this for you, but if the job is beyond me I will let you know and send you to someone else I know who is an expert at this kind of work”?
That little bit of honesty really does make a big difference. The first mechanic in the example seems more concerned with telling you what he thinks you want to hear and getting your business than actually taking care of your car troubles. The second mechanic just feels more trustworthy because he isn’t pretending to have all the answers.
The Five Stages of Selling
As Paul explained during his interview, there are five key stages a prospective patient goes through when making their “buying decision”. Storytelling for sales can be useful at every stage of the process, and different stories may be a better fit for each stage. Here are the five stages Paul outlined:
- Meeting your prospective patient
- Building a rapport
- Giving them the sales pitch
- Resolving their objections
- Closing the sale
Working your storytelling into the conversation organically helps keep it from sounding too “salesy”, and the right story at the right stage can make all the difference. For example, stories can be a great way to resolve concerns and objections. You could say something like “a previous patient was having financial concerns like yours, so we sat down and explored payment options that would fit their finances. We were able to come up with a solution that worked with their budget.” You’re demonstrating through your story that not only are you willing to work with your patient, but that you have a proven track record of that level of flexibility with past patients.
Storytelling is an underrated art form. It can serve as a powerful trust builder, and it can serve to more effectively help you “get your patient out of their own way” and show that you’re ready to be a trusted, collaborative partner for their healthcare needs.
If you’d like to learn more about Paul Smith, his bestselling books, and his strategies for storytelling for sales, please visit his website at https://leadwithastory.com/.
About Paul Smith
Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on organizational storytelling. He’s one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers of 2018, a storytelling coach, and the author of three Amazon #1 bestsellers: Lead with a Story (now in its 11th printing, and published in 7 languages around the world), Sell with a Story, and The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell; in addition to Parenting with a Story and his newest work, Four Days with Kenny Tedford. He’s a former executive at The Procter & Gamble Company and a consultant with Accenture prior to that.
As part of his research on the effectiveness of storytelling, Paul has personally interviewed over 300 CEOs and executives in 25 countries, and documented over 3,000 individual business stories. That’s allowed him to reverse engineer what works in storytelling and what doesn’t. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Time, Forbes, and Success Magazine, among others.
Paul has trained executives at international giants like Google, Hewlett Packard, Ford Motor Company, Bayer Medical, Novartis, Abbott, Progressive Insurance, Luxottica, Walmart, Kaiser Permanente, among dozens of others.
A 20-year veteran of P&G, Paul worked most recently as director of consumer and communications research for the company’s $6 billion global paper business where he led a research team across four continents. He also held leadership positions in corporate finance, manufacturing plants, and sales working closely with major global retailers like Walmart, Costco, Asda, and Sam’s Club.
Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio.
How to Connect with Paul Smith:
- Website: https://leadwithastory.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/smithpa9/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeadWithAStory
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/leadwithastory
About The FM Shift
What if functional medicine became as profitable, rewarding, and stress-free as you expected it to be? The business side of functional medicine doesn’t have to be a GRIND. We can help you discover functional medicine sales mastery and make maximum money without patient resistance.
The FM Shift shows you how to effortlessly attract patients who want what you offer and are willing to pay you what you’re worth, without waiting for your practice to magically mature.