Small businesses need Storytelling training
Photo by Kyle Glenn
Small businesses need Storytelling training. Train your staff as soon as possible. You haven’t just made a business for profit. You’made your business to solve someone’s problem and serve him well. Don’t create more problems for the one served by your business. The customer today can deny your business for good, in 2.4-4 seconds. Do you really get this?
Small business needs Storytelling training
You walk into a restaurant. A fake smile of a bored waiter. You might wait 20+ min to get served. You drop by the gasoline station, and the young man is speaking on his smartphone. You try on a pair of pants and in an area 100 sqm. one salesperson who seems to be ready to escape. Real examples, at least for me.
So many cases of untrained, bored, not-fitting for the job people. A small business owner told me, that this summer he had to recruit 5 different persons for the same post in his Asian cuisine restaurant; they all left with excuses in the first week; they realized that it’s a demanding job. And I really wonder, why? Is it the phenomenon of our times? Complacency? Not trained at all? Really burdened from doing twice as much in work?
Same DNA, off-and-online
If the same culture is build-in the chain/retail/service/wholesaler company, no matter the size, the same (bad) service will be applied in the digital touchpoints, or in the e-shop – trust me.
This is why it is difficult for small-medium sized E.U businesses to re-purpose all of their customer services. They miss on the ideal service-DNA. It is basically the same idea behind a 20-days’ delayed e-mail response to a complaint (it happened to me at an online pharmacy). It’s the same reason whenever you get -as a customer- an indifferent ‘posture’.
But, hey, I’m a customer. I choose to be served. How simple is that?
They can’t even articulate their story
They simply (try to) sell! They present what is being asked. Passive and indifferent. What an art is to be a true salesman… Unfortunately, for small-medium sized business owners, times have changed. We’re in a global market now. We are talking to customers who have travelled abroad. They have comparative experiences.
The ability to articulate and deliver your Brand story or that of your company is crucial to almost every phase of enterprise management, no matter the size. It works all along the business chain.
A great salesperson knows how to tell a story in which the product or the solution is the hero? A successful line manager can rally the team to extraordinary efforts through a story that shows how short-term sacrifice leads to long-term success? An effective CEO uses an emotional narrative about the company’s mission to attract investors and partners, and engage/inspire employees to it? Sometimes a well-crafted story can even transform a seemingly hopeless situation into an unexpected triumph.
There are still companies who just introduce themselves
But buyers are better informed than ever; the 85% of pre-research for your company is happening before they meet you. Do you know how many times all of us have seen a typical company presentation? Do you really think you would be in the room if they didn’t already know who you are?
In all the customer and sales interactions/presentations, little has changed in the last 30 years or so. Here you are: “You can find it there,“, “Yes, the discount is X%,” but no real emotional intelligence. Let’s face it: untrained salespeople haven’t learned that customer’s repeat purchase is their job safety and (possible) bonus.
Peoples’ expectations, habits, needs and behaviour have already changed. Yet, too many salespeople off-and-online are still using techniques to present their solutions that date back to a time when fax machines were state-of-the-art.
While companies may invest in giving their salespeople new tools for selling, an education about online and digital prospecting would likely yield a much better return on investment. It’s amazing how few companies are arming their sales staff with the skills, mindset and tools they need to become attractive and interesting to the right person online, i.e. their potential next customer.
Communication training for small business owners
In all the above bad service symptoms, please bear in mind:
- In the shopper’s marketing attention span is 2.8–4 seconds.
- In the online world, the attention span is almost the load page time, 7-8 seconds.
- People do not have time and they google; they read reviews and complaints.
- People want to meet people that are knowledgeable and have answers.
- Most products and services are either commodities or at parity mode.
This is why you need professional training on your Brand story and the way you handle all customer profiles. A detailed Q&A (yes, don’t laugh) that prepares your salespeople for all circumstances. A training that will secure Brand uniformity and excellent experience for the customer.
From the taverna sitting moment, up to the insurance brokers who just sell. A training that goes over and above the usual ‘fake’-HR partners who copy-paste slides, or the coaches who ask you to “bring out the best of your self“.
Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
old Native American proverb
Even on-camera training for owners, and line managers
No matter how great your products or services are, if you use presentation techniques and skills developed before the word ‘smartphone’ arrived, you are at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
Solopreneurs and small business owners may think that communication (and on-camera) training is a luxury they cannot afford since they often operate as “one man bands” running their own social media, PR and marketing. But putting some time into their customer-service and storytelling is critical.
Staying on message is easier said than done, and crafting your customer talking points is even harder:
- What is unique about your products or services?
- Why is it important to your audience, not just to you?
- How can you solve their problems or meet their specific needs?
- Are you qualified to shed light on the interview topic?
- Does your expertise match up with the subject?
Borrow My Brain Brand ambassadors’ training
We call this training ‘Brand ambassadors’ because we explain to the participants that they are the ‘last front’ of a memorable customer experience, and they are truly representing what the Brands stands for.
We have done five such pieces of training in our first 7 months of operation. To an insurance company, a tech retailer, a B2B service team, a food chain, and a telecom supplier. The majority of participants replicated long monologues about ’our company and me’. Boring company presentations, including highly forgettable fluffy messages.
When we’ve started the real exercises to fantastic customer profiles the highly disengaged trainees reached for their notes, or to check their emails. The tough part in these training scenarios was at the end of each when you were asking them the not so subtle question: “What could the next step be?” for this customer scenario. They’ve never thought about it. Yes, they’ve never thought the outcome of their performance.
At the end of this training, the trainees were asked to fill-in three simple questions for the value they provide to their customers. They did not know their prospective customers exactly and they found it difficult to write what value they could potentially offer.
If you own a business, observe your sales staff
Whatever you will feel, might be very close to what the customer will feel. Physical expressiveness and customer dedication are two closely linked delivered experiences.
- Physical body posture? Leaning forward? Lazy moves? Physical presence plays an essential role in customer-facing.
- What kind of positions they get? Moving, grounded, neutral expressions?
- The tone of voice? Soft, loud? Does it go well together with the industry/product you’re in?
- Pace and tempo of speaking? Clear voice?
- Gestures? Too many, dynamic, troubling, creating anxiety?
- Do they advocate an idea powerfully, do they make you feel ‘want more’? Do they speak for benefits, for the customer?
- Do they use examples or analogies to save time and misunderstandings?
You haven’t just made a business for profit. It’s not that automatical. You’made your business to solve someone’s problem and serve him well. Don’t create more problems for the one served by your business.
The customer today can deny your business for good, in 2.4-4 seconds. Do you really get this?