In Sales Pitches, Stories Equate to a “Test Drive”

When I went to buy a car a couple of years back, I walked into Honda Carland of Roswell and was greeted by a salesman. After chatting briefly, he went into a back room and returned with a set of keys to the silver Accord that had caught my eye.

“Give it a spin,” he told me. “Let me know what you think.”

The car felt great and I bought it, largely based on the test drive.

The problem with most businesses, however, is that you can’t let your client take what you sell for much of a “test drive.”  If you’re in the construction business, the client can’t walk through the building you’re going to build for them.  If you’re an attorney, the client can’t feel what it’s like to have you as their lawyer before you bring the lawsuit on their behalf.  If you sell software, the client can’t really even try out the software to any large extent because most complex software is coupled with a critical consultative element.

That’s why stories are so important in sales presentations. Stories about your successes are often the closest you can come to giving your client a “test drive.”   Tell your client a story about how you built a similar building for another client.  Or tell about how you won a similar lawsuit. Or tell about how your software saved lots of money for another client.

The best sales presentations have stories because it helps the client feel what it’s like to have you on the team. It’s like taking your business out for a test drive.

When watching the following Honda ad, think about the idea that great sellers use stories to give you the experience of what it’s like to work with them. 


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