Oye Como Va

      Recently I sat under a brilliant New Mexico night sky and listened to Carlos Santana and his band. A few days later I had coffee with my friend Brian and told him about the concert. I told him about the excited crowd and the great atmosphere of the outdoor amphitheater. I told him how Carlos Santana, long time performer and Woodstock veteran, brought it.

      Brian said, "I have a Santana story. In the summer of 1974 my friends and I drove a van from Santa Fe to San Francisco on a college trip. For a few days we hung around Coit Tower with many, many campers. At dusk one night we saw what looked to be a teenager driving a white Maserati around the park. The Maserati's license tag read 'Carlos.' We waited for Carlos Santana to alight from the car. The car stopped and a teen jumped out. But he was not Carlos Santana." 

      The day after our unsuccessful Santana sighting we headed home. That morning we picked up a young man hitchhiking south of San Francisco. We asked where he was going. He said, 'Los Angeles.'  I said, 'You look familiar. Were you driving a white Maserati near Coit Tower this weekend? The hitchhiker said, 'That was me. I'm Carlos Santana's cousin. I live in Los Angeles and hitchhike to San Francisco on the weekends and stay with him. He lets me drive his car.' All of us in the van could not believe the coincidence.

      We dropped off Carlos's cousin in Los Angeles, then drove home to Santa Fe." 

      After Brian told me his Santana story I remembered the concert more fondly. 

      That is what stories do; they reinforce a point, add to an argument or buttress a set of facts.

      In sales we rush to differentiate ourselves, our products and our services. How do we do that? We take a deep breath then tell our prospect about our metrics, our spec sheets, our features and benefits. Then we pass around brochures and unimaginatively ask, "Where is your pain?" Imagine what could happen if you tell a story. The next time your prospect asks, "How are you different?" tell a story.

      Metrics are important, your products, services, features and benefits have to satisfy your prospect's problem. But first, become a better storyteller. Tell a story that features you, your product and service solving a problem. Tell your story with details and suspense. Make your story personal. Make your story memorable.

      Find your muse. Tell that story.  Practice telling the story to your friends, to yourself while you are walking and when you are in the shower. Tell your story into your smartphone so you own it.

      In different moments in our lives we've had to be good story tellers.  When you get that desired appointment don't be like everyone else. And instead, tell them a story.

      About Garrett

      Garrett Hennessy operates out of Albuquerque, NM as a Speaker, Lobbyist, and Fundraiser available for your organization.  Garrett speaks and consults on sales, employee retention and more. Please contact him for more information.