When you’re selling services and other intangible things, it’s important to include a proposed solution to the prospect’s challenge and a story about how that solution has worked in the past.

That solution coupled with a story is one of the only ways for a prospect to get a true feel for what they’re buying.

Think of it this way. Say you go into a jewelry store to buy diamond earrings. You describe the earrings you want while the jeweler listens carefully. He then says, “I think we have just what you want!” He disappears into the back of the store, only to return with one of those boxes that are just large enough for earrings.

He says, “I’ve got your earrings in here.” Of course, you want to see them. But imagine what would happen if he said, “I’ll only show them to you if you buy them from me.” You would be incredulous.

Yet that happens in presentations every day. Business people deliver presentations without presenting solutions or telling success stories. In a sense, they’re expecting people to make big decisions on solutions for their business without any glimpse of what the solution is or whether the team can execute. Those businesses are expecting their buyer to plunk down money for unseen diamonds.

But if you describe a proposed solution coupled with a story about how the same solution has worked elsewhere, you are helping the prospect see what they’re buying. You want the prospect to say, “Oh, so that’s how you plan to reduce my accounting costs. That’s how you did it with a company just like mine!” The plan, packaged with a story, is your way of showing the diamond earrings in the box.

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

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