What Does Success Look Like?

by | Feb 15, 2017 | Sales Strategy

The sales call was not going well.

The customer was listening, but I could tell from her body language that she wasn’t too impressed. I needed a jolt but wasn’t sure what would make the difference.

Then opportunity knocked! They asked me if I could give an example of a success story with similar size and market, that bought the same solution.

After about thirty seconds of thinking, I shared a scenario that happened just three months earlier. She quickly perked up as I told the story.

The result?

A follow up meeting for a demo with her operations team. Yes!

The story I told her made the difference.


Stories have high impact because they’re real. The other person can place themselves in the story and envision a similar outcome. Stories impact your right brain where your emotions are, and customers buy based on emotion — then back it up with logic. Emotions stimulate the limbic part of the brain 3,000 times faster than the neo-cortex, the rational part of our brain.

The right side of the brain houses imagination, speculation, emotion, recognition, perception, appreciation and images. Others can relate to what you’re describing; they can visualize and feel the success from the story and place themselves in the same position. The result is a positive one.

A great way to set-up a story with a customer or prospect is to ask: I believe our solution can have a significant impact on your business. From your perspective, what does success look like?

When the customer describes what success looks like, they open a discussion that flows naturally and doesn’t sound like a scripted dialogue. Since we’re now personally engaged emotionally, we naturally become curious as to how we can help them achieve the success they’re describing.

As we ask questions out of curiosity, it stimulates our memory to similar experiences. Behold, we recall a story with a customer we can share. Stories also gives us credibility. They want to know about our experience, real life results and successes with other customers. Our stories become their reality about what we can truly accomplish for them.

Most of the sales we make come because of the past results we’ve experienced and shared.  It’s been said that over 90% of all business is done through referrals. I believe this to be true. In fact, look at how you meet new prospects – isn’t it usually through referrals or through someone that introduces you to another who could benefit from your line of business? I think you’ll find that it happens all the time.

When you help people solve a pain or give them a gain, they want to refer you to colleagues! They appreciate and trust you. And the reason is an obvious one – they will look good. When you help someone, they want to turn around and do the same for someone else. It’s our human nature to want to be appreciated, and we do that by helping others.

So, the next time you’re with a prospect and you feel you’re not moving the needle forward, ask them what success looks like and then share a related story. I promise you will like the result!

Good Selling!