The Power of Stories in Sales

Stories are the most effective form of human communication, more powerful than any other way of packaging information. Stories are the cornerstone of consciousness and a sneaky way to persuade people. Great influencers understand the power of stories, anecdotes and best practices and use them to lead more successful business conversations.



Research shows that we remember details of things much more effectively when they are embedded in a story. Telling stories builds empathy and it plants ideas, thoughts and emotions into an audience.

Whereas Powerpoint presentations, infographics and video explanatories may be state-of-the-art technology, the US film producer Peter Guber describes stories to be state-of-the-heart technology. Unlike reams of data, straight-up information or a hard sell, stories engage people to move to action, because listeners can very quickly identify with whoever the story is about - and put themselves in their shoes. Additionally, they turn the audience into advocates of the propositions, whether in life or in business, by paying the story - not just the information - forward.

When using stories for business conversations there are a few rules to be followed:

  • Context is everything!!! A story has a sympathetic hero and is structured in three parts – a challenge, struggle, and some resolution. Study your audience very well and understand his/her challenges and struggles. If your story does not align with the listener’s situation, he/she won’t connect with you.
  • Keep it simple. We are exposed to so much information every day, we can only remember the easy stories. If you want your audience remembering and retelling your story, make it simple.
  • Authenticity won’t be beaten. Never overdo your story. You won’t win over listeners if it doesn’t have the ring of truth.

A story includes expectations, promises, social norms and emotions. Do you really believe you can add value or improve your customer’s life in some way? Then educate, engage and inspire your audience with purposeful stories.

For more tips on how to better lead business conversations join our sales masterclasses.

Want to have better sales conversations?

Call for a free consultation on 0191 481 3800. You can also follow durhamlane on LinkedIn and on Twitter @durhamlane.


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