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Story Seeker Rob Stenberg on Why Telling a Story Matters: The ROI Online Podcast Ep.95

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We all love a good story, don’t we? It’s a way to connect as human beings and make emotional bonds.

In this Feature Friday episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve talks with Rob Stenberg, Story Seeker and author about the importance of storytelling, all the benefits it can bring to your business, and how to do it right.

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Rob is a keynote speaker, author, coach, and Story Seeker with more than 30 years of experience. He is the owner of Stenberg & Associates Sales & Leadership Academy–where sales and leadership development combine with human connection training to provide keynote speeches, workshops, and events–and co-founder of STORYseekers. He loves working with sales and marketing teams to build customer hero stories that establish trust and rapport with prospects in a few minutes.

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There are so many arguments for storytelling, but the most convincing one is that storytelling helps you make an emotional connection. Because people make decisions emotionally and justify them logically, if you don't establish an emotional connection with potential customers they're less likely to buy from you, which means there's a huge opportunity cost of not using stories in your marketing!

Among other things, Rob and Steve discussed:

  • Rob's backstory
  • The myths of salespeople 
  • The process of story tending and why is it so useful 
  • What storytelling is exactly 
  • Why storytelling is so important
  • How to be a good storyteller 
  • The importance of brand storytelling
  • The benefits of internal storytelling

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Also available on all other podcast streaming services!

You can learn more about Rob here:

Follow Rob on LinkedIn


Learn more about STORYseekers here:



Read the books mentioned in this podcast:

The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown


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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Podcast, Business Tips

Rob Stenberg 0:00
What is storytelling? storytelling is something that's focused with the purpose and intent to get your clients story.

Steve Brown 0:08
Rob Stenberg! Welcome to the ROI online podcast.

Unknown Speaker 0:12

Steve Brown 0:27
Look, this is one of my favorite topics, or the actually, we're taking, we're making a contraction, we're taking two of my favorite topics, and we're merging them together. And it's called storytelling and sales. And guess what? You're an expert. In both of those, and you have a company called storyseekers.com

Rob Stenberg 0:49

Even better,

it is dot U S. Yes.

Steve Brown 0:55
So why why did you plant your flag there? Rob?

Rob Stenberg 0:59
You know, one of the things that story is it. It's part of my past, it's with the 25 plus years, I've been in sales. And it took me a long time to understand why I was successful in sales. There was a lot of trial and error, a lot of crashing and burning a lot of missed opportunities and missed sales over the years, until about nine years ago, when a friend of mine gave me a book that decoded in my mind as to why I was successful in sales.

Steve Brown 1:30
What book was that?

Rob Stenberg 1:32
It's called What Great Salespeople do by Mike Bosworth, I know, a great book. It talks about how it talks about storytelling, obviously, and how to construct a great story and how you can find, create and share great stories. And when I read that book, a friend of mine who's a now retired University sales and marketing professor, he gave me the book, he said, I'd like you to read this book and just tell me what you think about this book. And so I read the book, we got back together for lunch. And he said, What do you think I said, I love this book. I do 80 85% of what's in this book, why wouldn't I love this book? I do most of what's in here? And he said, Well, let me ask you a couple of questions. I said, Sure. He said, Did you know that that's what you did? I said, No, I had no idea. He said, You're what we call unconsciously competent. And I said, Yeah, that would make sense. He said, Could you here's another question? Could you use it on demand? I said, No, I just did it intuitively. He said, Well, could you scale it? Could you teach it? No, no, I couldn't do any of those things. Before I read the book and decoded what what was going on and what I was doing in my sales process, unbeknownst to me, to be successful. And again, like I said, over the years, it was a lot of trial and error, a lot of crash and burn a lot, a lot of sales that, you know, happened over the years.

Steve Brown 2:59
Well, I think that you're addressing something that I think is a giant misconception in the world of business, and that some sales people just have this natural ability to connect, they just have this gift of gab. And that's what makes him a great salesperson. But it's not true, is it?

Rob Stenberg 3:22
Well, it really isn't. I mean, there are some people who do intuitively connect better than others. There's no question about that. And I'm fortunate, I think I'm one of those people. And I think that helped me be successful in sales. Early in my sales career, though, we were told we're being salespeople, and all the training that I had ever taken in sales was, you know, the first one of the first steps in the sales process, sales process is you have to gain rapport, right? You gain rapport. Well, you raise your hand, you say, Well, how do you do that? And of course, the trainer would say, Well, I don't know. You either can or you can't, it's not something that can be taught. And what we know now through neuroscience, and with the brain imaging, and all of the things that we can do with science today is we can teach it, you can teach connection, which for sales professionals is huge. It's absolutely huge when you can teach connection, because we've all heard of that 80/20 rule, right? 20% of the sales staff generating 80% of the sales revenue, and vice presidents of sales. absolutely hate to stack rink their salespeople and say Geez, if I got 20 salespeople here, Hmm, what happens if I lose the two or three, you know, that are in that in that top 20%. Obviously, a lot of things can go wrong. But we can now teach that. So, you know, one of the things that I talked to Vice Presidents of sales or sales directors or sales managers about is, Hey, you know, you've got your top sales people, that's great. It's not broke, don't try to fix it. However, how many salespeople do you have, that are highly competent. They know the product line, they help other salespeople that where they can. They're great with customers, they have high character, they're in early, they stay late. They have a hard time making their numbers, Oh, I got sales, people like that. Absolutely. I got sales. Those are the sales people who don't know how to connect intuitively that can be taught how to connect and make that connection. So that when they get into that discovery, questioning phase of their clients, their client is already saying to themselves, hey, I trust this person sitting across from me, they understand me, they get me, and I'm going to answer their questions freely. And what happens right now is because they don't know how to connect intuitively, they start asking those questions too soon. And the cut, the client says, Hey, they don't verbalize this, but they say to themselves, hey, I don't trust you enough right now to answer those kinds of questions.

Steve Brown 6:04
I think one of the things that you address really well, is most sales people. They're sitting quietly, waiting for their chance to pounce. Okay, you, you made me think of this one thing. And now I'm ready to I'm just dying to say and give, take a break exam. I know what you need. I'm gonna pounce, right? But you're saying to just a minute,

Rob Stenberg 6:33
slow down, slow down to go faster, right. And it's what what I call artificial patience. You know, where the conversation is going. You know what the end result of the conversation is going to be? If you go too soon, if you start talking too soon, or offering suggestions or offering solutions, too soon, you'll blow the sale. When if you had the ability to show some artificial patience, you'd get to this, you'd get to the end, can I tell you a quick story? How that really works?

Steve Brown 7:10

Rob Stenberg 7:12
There was a gentleman who took one of our workshops, it was a workshop we did in San Diego. And the following week, he got back in touch with us. And he said, Hey, I just wanted you to know that this stuff works. And here's why. During the workshop, we talk about artists, you know, having that artificial patience. And we talk also about not having what we call premature elaboration. We're at a point where a salesperson will say, you know, if you're the client, and you're talking to me, Steve, and you say, Hey, here's what my problem is. And here's my issue, and you get halfway into your issue. And I say, Steve, you know what, I got a lot of clients who are we're exactly in the same shoes that you're in, I know exactly what you need to do, you need our solution. And here's our solution, and they pull out and they start, you know, they start prescribing, right, they start saying, here's what you need to do. That's premature elaboration. For one, you haven't gotten out your whole story, right? You haven't gotten. So now you haven't felt like I get you, you haven't felt like you've been heard. And number two, who wants to be told that like, you're just like an all or a lot of my clients, you don't want to hear that you want to hear that you're unique, that your problems are unique, that your problems are, you know, specific to you maybe or you know that at least the solution I'm giving is specific to you. And three and I think most importantly, you as a human being do not like to be told what you need to do. I and I say this in our workshops all the time as well, I'll say, hey, how many people in this room or how many people in this Zoom Room in these days have a significant other you know, you have a romantic relationship with somebody, you know, most the hands go up 80-90% of the hands go up Great, okay. Try this on your partner, I in the next day or so. Now, in theory, the person who loves you more than anybody else in the world, and you go to them and you try three or four, I need you need to design and you can even preface it with honey, honey, you need to do this, honey, you need to do that. And let me know how well it works out for you. Right? If the person who loves you the most in this world isn't going to put up with that. Why would your client so this gentleman who called us back he said, Hey, I went out I had that problem. I was in a slump. That's one of the reasons I took your workshop. And as soon as I heard that in the workshop, I knew I was in my slump. And the following day, the fall. The workshop ended on a Thursday I went on three sales calls on Friday. And in all three sales calls. I literally, he said I literally had to bite my tongue. Because I knew that my product and service could take care of the problem. But I just had to show that artificial patients, I literally bit my tongue on all three calls, I made all three sales. And I, there's no way I make those sales without going to your workshop and getting having it pointed out to me, I wanted to be Superman, I wanted to be the one riding in on the white horse and rescuing the client, when I just needed to sit back and let them figure out for themselves what their solution was. See, they own the solution, you as the salesperson don't own the solution. If the client has a problem, the client owns the solution. Don't try to be the here.

Steve Brown 10:41
Wow. So why do you call it artificial patience?

Rob Stenberg 10:46
Well, because you know where the client where the client is going to go. If you're if you have enough expertise within your, within your marketplace in the products and the services that you sell, you can see where the conversation is going to you have talked to 10-12-15-18 dozens of people who have had a similar situation and you know that your product and service is going to take care of that problem. However, one thing you want to remember is that people are best convinced, by reasons they themselves discovered. So I've got to show the patients that artificial patients to let the client figure out for themselves that my solution and my product and service is going to be the solution that they're looking for. If I just simply come out and blurt Well, hey, here's my product, here's my service, it'll take care of it for you, then they haven't discovered that yet. You're probably familiar with Spin Selling right by Neil Rackham. He found back in the night, late 90, I think was 1979 that he did a study with Xerox, where the Xerox would hire a new sales team, every graduation right. So two or three times a year, they're going after masters level college graduates, they bring in a college class of graduates, they get them into the sales sales team for 18 months, their sales would climb, climb, climb, climb, at 18 months, they'd crash and burn, they their performance would go down and then their morale would go down soon after that. And every class they brought in, it was 18 months, 18 months, he said you could set your watch by it. Well, that's why they brought him in is to take a look and try to figure out why this crash was happening at 18 months. And what he found out was that at 18 months, the salespeople pretty much had what you'd call solution expertise, right? They'd seen every permutation of issue or problem or challenge that any of their clients were going to have. So if they saw the problem at six months, they'd say, huh, wow, do you mind if I go back and talk to the people in the lab or talk to people back at the office and see if I can find a solution? And I'll call you back this afternoon? Of course, the client would say, Sure, no problem, what 18 months, they wouldn't say, let me go back to the office, they'd say, Oh, you can stop right there. I know exactly what you need. Here's what you need. And the ironic thing was, there's their solution, their product or service would have taken care of the client's problem, it would have cleaned it up for them. But because they prematurely said and didn't let the client get out their entire story and told them what they needed to do, they blew the sale. So that's why I called premature print, or excuse me, I call it artificial, artificial patience is, you know, where the network's gonna go, you know what the end result is going to be. You just have to slow down and wait for the client to catch up to you.

Steve Brown 14:01
So I've really struggled. You know, I've had I've been in sales, most of my life. And it really frustrated me when you walk away. They said, No, but everything was aligned as why it would be a perfect Yes, everything is logically it's going to solve the problem, save the money, whatever it was. And yet they still say no. And it really is like, what's, what did I miss here? And what I realized I was missing, there was an internal challenge that was resolved, was, for example, an internal challenge might be that choosing my solution posed a risk politically inside that organization. If it fails, if something goes wrong, they're going to look bad, and I was oblivious to that. So what did they do? They have Did that risk but it had nothing to do with features and solutions?

Rob Stenberg 15:05
Absolutely. I've got a friend of mine who's another sales trainer and, and very good salesperson over a number of years. And she told me a story about how she was working with a potential client. And she thought she had the perfect solution for this gentleman because he was working every Christmas Day. So he would spend Christmas morning with his family, and then he would have to go in 11 o'clock noon, 11am noon, go in and go into the office, then on Christmas Day, right? So she, she goes in with this solution. It's an it's in the IT market space, she's got the solution for him. Here it is that you don't have to spend Christmas, you get to spend all of Christmas Day with your family. Here it is. It's all mapped out. Like you said, it's all logical. And he says, no. No, no. So she keeps trying to sell him and so on and so forth. No, no, no, no, no. And so she finally he finally got to the point where he said, You know what, you're not going to sell this to me, it's just not going to happen. She said, Well, then I guess I just need to know why. He said, You know how I pay for my kids. Christmas presents, how, by working Christmas day, every year, you take that away from me. You take away my kids Christmas presents? Well, that was his internal. That was his way of taking care of things and taking care of his family because he got paid like triple time or whatever on Christmas Day. So that's why he did what he did. And if she even though it would have saved the company money, he's like, I can't give that up. Because then I'm you're taking money out of my pocket. And there are many times I've got many examples of salespeople going in thinking, what they're proposing is great. However, the internal struggle that you're talking about with people, you have to recognize if something's there, you have to look for it.

Steve Brown 17:15
So you have a process. I love the name story tending. But it's a process whereby you can identify what the internal struggle is.

Rob Stenberg 17:26
Yeah, storytelling is something that, you know, there's a as you know, there's a lot of people out there teaching storytelling, right for sales. And I think the, you know, there's a lot of them telling the the why story and what kind of stories to build, I don't think there are a lot as to how to build those stories and how to craft a great story. And then when to tell that story.

Steve Brown 17:51
So I think you're so I want to make sure I tee this up good for our audience, right? We all hear storytelling, and our default packaging of that is we must be good at telling a story. But actually, the secret is opposite.

Rob Stenberg 18:10
You absolutely and I say all the time, whereas influence, how do you what's the best way to influence somebody? Is it to is it to talk to them? Or is it to listen to them. And the influence is in the story tending. And we don't just say story listening, right? It's story tending, you tend to a garden, you tend to a fire, you tend to a child scraped knee, you do it with care, you do it with love, you do it with attention. And that's how we teach you to listen to your clients stories. So you hear without, maybe without it even being said the internal struggle. It's something that kind of gets revealed in when they're telling their story. And so to be able to attend somebody's story is just absolutely crucial.

Unknown Speaker 19:04
So let's do a little exercise show us how you tend to story.

Rob Stenberg 19:09
All right? Well, with any story there is for great four elements to any story. And this comes right out of Hollywood, right? There's a setting, there's a complication, there's the turning point, and then there's a resolution. So the setting is, you know, the where, what when weather conditions, you know, just you can do a setting and very think of a movie, think of any movie you've been to any play, you've gone to any book you've read, right? There's the setting, then think of the complication, right? If you're thinking of a movie, that last movie that you went and saw, you know, there's there's that complication, that's where most of the movie is spent is in that complication. And then there's the turning point of the movie, which is that aha moment, the character see a new way of doing things and they get a better result than what was happening in a complication and then A resolution is simply how things turned out long term. So I, I'll tell you a quick story about a business partner of mine who was introducing me to somebody for the first time over a zoom meeting. And this person worked in the financial services industry. And so my business partner knows this person. And again, introducing me. So I was meeting her for the first time over zoom. And so my business partner said to her name is Christie. Christie, why don't you tell Rob your story? Well, she started her story, she went back quite a ways. She probably talked for eight to 10 minutes about her story. And so my business partner said, Well, I'm going to do something here that Rob doesn't know, I'm going to do Christie. But Rob, I want you to give Christie her story back to her. And so I gave her story back to her in less than two minutes. Now, again, she talked for eight to 10. And I said, Christy, that I get you? And she said, wow. When's your next workshop? I want to learn how you How did you do that? I didn't even did you take notes? I didn't even see you take any notes. Did you take notes? I said, No, I didn't take any notes. She said, How did you do that? You didn't miss anything in my story. How'd you do that? Well, those four elements of the story that are used to craft a great story are also the best listening frame or tending framework that I've ever worked with. So if somebody is telling me their story, as they're telling that story, they'll start out in the beginning, they'll start out in the setting, they'll jump to Oh, what was part of their turning point, then they'll go to what's going on today, then to back to a complicated, they jump all over the place. That's what we do as human beings. And that's why I think storytelling is also very, it's very dangerous, just to say, you know what, you need to learn how to tell great stories. Because if we don't know how to craft them, we start telling stories that are too long, too boring. We've heard we've all had people tell us stories, right? You're like, why is this person telling me the story? They're 10 minutes in, I still don't know what the heck they're talking about. But if you use it in a listening framework, and now I can, as as I was listening to Christie, I was taking each of those segments and anything that she said, and in my mind, I was putting them in one of those four story elements. So now when I tell her story back to her, I tell it back to her in an organized manner. And that's why she says, Wow, How'd you do that? You just told me, I've had people say, you've told me my story back to me better than I told it to you. Because see, they weren't organized within and I organized it and regurgitated it, if you will, back to them. But the other thing they do is, wow, this guy really listened to me. Think about the last time you were really listened to you were really tended, right? So that that story framework that we teach is also a story listening framework. That's, it's better than anything I've ever worked with.

Steve Brown 23:06
So if you think about the emotional reaction that she had, that emotion is coming from, wow, he gets me he gets me in I feel safe.

Rob Stenberg 23:20
Exactly. And what happens to the trust level when some when you sit when you know that somebody gets you? What what what do you automatically almost do is if I if this person gets me, they're going to get my trust, because they understand me they understand my my challenges they and they can the one of the stories that we help people with is what we call a customer hero story. Right? If I'm going to talk to a vice president of sales in the IT space, I'm going to offer if I'm talking to him, then the vice presidents say can I tell you a story about another another vice president of sales in it that we've worked with, where we've been working together, we've increased their sales 15% over the last three months. Who's going to say no to that story? Nobody, you just don't sit we as human beings story is hardwired into us. We are story seeking. And that's why the name story seekers. We are story seeking animals. I mean, we want the it's, if you think back to the when you took history, and you saw the pictures in your history book of the cave walls and all the paintings on the cave walls. That was storytelling that was the cavemen and the cave women all telling stories about what was going on in their world at the time. There was story long before the written word. And even before the spoken word. We were telling stories. So when you offer somebody a story, and we know this now through neuroscience, what happens in somebody's brains, it's like telling a five year old kid once upon a time, it's like opening up a book to a five year old kid and say, once upon a time, hey, our brain say I'm safe. I don't have to do anything I can relax. However, I better pay attention. Because something important might be said that I need to remember later on. Now, I want to repeat that because it's really important. You think about the situation you're in, you're trying to influence you're trying and attempting to gain trust with somebody to help them because that's why you're there as a salesperson to help them. You're trying to influence them, and you're trying to gain their trust. And when you say to them, can I share a quick story with you about a peer of yours? What happens in their brain is I'm safe. I don't have to do anything, I can relax. But I better pay attention because something important might be said that I need to remember later. Can you think Steve have a better frame of mind to put somebody in that you're trying to influence? I can't. And so that's the power of story.

Steve Brown 25:59
So you're listening, or you're watching. Matter of fact, if you're watching on YouTube, be sure to like and subscribe. And if you're listening on Vurbl same subscribe to our station. But we're having a fascinating conversation with Rob stenberg. He's from story seekers. And he's teaching us how to story tend. So we think we need to be great storytellers, we should definitely know how to tell a story so that we can help arrange someone else's story. So as Rob, I get, I've got these common questions that always come up. So I'm going to ask them, my ask these questions to you. And we're just going to, we're going to be fascinated by what your answer is. Okay. Well, okay, so what is storytelling? Now? It seems like a simple question, but it's not.

Rob Stenberg 26:56
It does seem like a simple question. And it is not. storytelling, to me, is an organized, focused story that you're telling to your prospective client, with one intention, and that's to get them to tell you their story. That's why your story storytelling needs to be short, depending on the situation, right? I mean, as trust increases with your potential client, your timeframe to be able to tell stories increases, right. So but in the beginning, if I'm talking to a client for the very first time, my story needs to be short 60 to 90 seconds to give to follow on with the example of if I'm talking to a vice president of sales in IT for the first time. And I offer Can I tell you a story about another sales VP we worked with that story needs to be short 60 to 90 seconds, 90 seconds, absolute tops. So storytelling means, what is storytelling? storytelling is something that's focused with the purpose and intent to get your clients story.

Steve Brown 28:08
Wow. Why is storytelling important?

Rob Stenberg 28:12
Because it's a it's how we connect as, as human beings. You know, I think I think of people because I've worked with people with Asperger's. You know what Asperger's is, and I just, I have so much empathy for them, because they have no way to emotionally connect with people. And that's why storytelling is so important. If you want to make a great emotional connection with somebody, tell them a story that's relevant to them, that lets them also get their story out of it lets them tell their story. Because that's really what we want to do as human beings, right? When I hear a story, I want to tell a story as well. It triggers my brain that, Oh, geez, this story is also pertinent to this discussion, and I want to tell it as well. But storytelling is important because you said it earlier, right? All the logic is there, but somebody doesn't make a decision to buy from you. It's because decisions are made emotionally and not logically we make decisions emotionally, we justify them logically. And if we don't make that emotional connection with people, the odds of them deciding to purchase from you drop dramatically.

Steve Brown 29:24
Well, how to be a good storyteller?

Rob Stenberg 29:28
Practice, practice, practice, you've heard it in real estate, right location, location, location. With storytelling, practice, practice, practice is how you become a good storyteller. Know the situation that you're in what what I call situational awareness, and practice the stories that you're going to tell practice them, I can tell my story my what I call my who I am story, I can tell it in 60 seconds. I can tell it in two minutes. I can tell it in five minutes. I can tell it in 10 minutes, just depends on how much detail I want to put in there. But practice the stories that you're telling, write them out, get that setting, get that complication, get the turning point and get the resolution in that story. Secondly, to be a great storyteller, remember one thing, never tell a story without a point. And never make a point without a story.

Steve Brown 30:27
Wow. That's excellent. So for a brand, why is storytelling so important?

Rob Stenberg 30:35
I think it's extremely important for brand because again, you want to make that impact the brand wants to make that emotional connection with their potential clients, with the people who buy from them. And who wants to become part of their tribe even Right. I mean, if I'm, if I'm telling a story as a brand, and it doesn't resonate with somebody, that's okay, maybe they're not my client. So it lets you figure out who your client is, who your client isn't. And it lets you make that emotional connection with them. And if you want to think about it, from a brand perspective, I think one of the best brands that have made that emotional connection and to do that so well, that people even tattoo this brand on their bodies. I mean, they permanently tattoo the brand on their bodies. And I'm think I think a lot of people will know who I'm talking about Harley Davidson, right. I mean, they've such an emotional connection with that brand and their riders that, you know, you go to some of the motorcycle rallies, and you see all kinds of Harley Davidson tattoos. I mean, that's, that's an emotional connection with your client, right. And so that's why it's important for brand to have great stories so that they can make that kind of connection.

Steve Brown 31:53
You know, when you think about putting a tattoo on you, you're making that a part of your identity. And so that story helps you have that tattoo, you see yourself in that story. That's why you're happy to put that brand on you. Absolutely. Absolutely. So, internal storytelling, what's one benefit of internals storytelling?

Rob Stenberg 32:21
You know, I think, I think I, when I think of that question, I think of the word internal and I think of internal in two different ways one internal to me, as the person and internal to an organization. Number two, so in internal to me why I think it's so important is the the stories that we tell ourselves, we have to be very careful with them. We have to be careful with the stories we tell ourselves, especially as sales professionals, and I, I use the term sales professionals, not sales people, sales professionals, we tell ourselves the stories of either we're really good, we're really bad. We're, you know, oh, we're not good at prospecting. Oh, we're not good at closing. Oh, we're not good at we're not good at, we've got to be careful about those internal stories, and change those internal stories to more positive Im statements. I am a good storyteller. I am a good salesperson, I am a good sales professional. I am a good prospecting. I enjoy put it on the positive. So internally, as an individual, I think it's extremely important the stories we tell ourselves. There's nothing that can help our psyche more than being positive and giving ourselves some grace to from an internal standpoint, from a corporation or from an from an organizational standpoint. There are so many reasons to be good storytellers internally, to pass on the information from one generation to the next inside an organization and how things were done, and how things should be done. And just some of the things that the company stands for in the company story and why the company started and what why they did some of the things that they did, I think of Northwestern Mutual. Have you ever heard Northwestern Mutual's founder story?

Steve Brown 34:19
I don't think so.

Rob Stenberg 34:21
Northwestern Mutual has got a great founder story. They started back in the 1870s 1880s. And two years after they started, there was an end they started in Wisconsin, a train was going from two cities in Wisconsin, and nine there was a train crash to nine people died in the train crash. Two of the people were Northwestern Mutual policyholders to pay off those two policies. It was $3,500 to pay them both off. The only problem was company is only two years old. They only had $2,000 in equity. So the owners borrowed money to pay off. Now, that's the kind of thing that Northwestern Mutual, if I'm a Northwestern Mutual rep, I'm gonna say that's our, that's where we, that's back all the way to the late 1800s. And you can tell that story, but say, you know what, that's still the way this company operates today, if you're a Northwestern Mutual wrap, that's a huge story to have. So internally, it's important to have, especially for CEOs, when they're telling their strategy story, when they want to get buy in from the rest of the employees in a company, if they just simply come out and say, here are the numbers, here's what we're gonna do. And let's do it. Not real motivational the that what's going to happen is the employees of that company are going to fill in the narrative themselves, or if they don't have enough information, because we are story seeking animals, we're going to fill in those gaps. And you've probably worked in places where that's happened. But if the CEO has a great strategy story as to why that company is going to take the steps they're going to take, and what it's going to look like for the employees in each of those departments. And this is why the strategy is important. And this is the future story of the company. This is where the stories, this is where the company is going to end up three to five years from now, much more motivational and inspirational to the employees of that company. And to get that buy in from the employees to follow where the CEO wants to take the company, those internal stories are so so from an HR standpoint, why should I as an employee want to come on with this company, if you're an HR professional, you want to have stories as to talent acquisition, what's happened to some of the people you've brought on over the last couple of years, how they've progressed, how they've grown, how they've been promoted from within, those are stories you want internally, so there are a lot of internal stories to an organization that they want to have ready to go.

Steve Brown 37:05
Excellent. We're having an awesome conversation with Rob Stenberg. His company, his Story Seekers, how to use storytelling to impact your sales process to make a connection, emotional connection with your, your prospects, and to be a sales professional. I love that. So Alright, Rob. And by the way, if you're listening on Vurbl, be sure to subscribe or if you're watching us on YouTube, be sure to subscribe as well. So Rob, what's one question that you want to answer that you wish I would have asked you?

Rob Stenberg 37:45
Know, that's a good question, if you're a very good question asker. And I think the question that I haven't been asked is, how can you use story throughout the entire sales process? Right, so we've talked about using it maybe in the beginning, when you're first talking to somebody, there are different stories that you can tell throughout the entire sales process that helps move the I shouldn't even say sales process, I really should say buying process because you want to follow the buying process of your clients. And over the years, I've gotten a kick as I've gotten longer in the tooth with my sales experience, as I looked at the sales training I've had in the past and, you know, you got to have this four step sales process or this seven step sales process or what have you. I look at that. And I think to myself, well, if I have a five step sales process, and my clients have a seven step buying process, I'm already out of alignment

Steve Brown 38:44
with our client.

Rob Stenberg 38:46
So that's one of the things that we we talked about it Story Seekers is aligned with your buying process, and the stories that you can tell all the way along there buy process as to moving that buy process along. So in the beginning, I'm going to tell a customer hero story where I'm going to talk to them about a peer that we've worked with, that have gotten the results they were looking for. So that gives their pure curiosity. And I think pure envy is something that is a very powerful buying motive for people. They don't want to be outdone by their peers. Then later on, as I'm moving down the sales process of the buy process, you know, what's one of the next questions that the person I'm talking to ask themselves, while they're gonna ask themselves do I trust Rob, you know, I don't want to hear about the product yet. I don't want to hear about the company and I don't want to hear about your big clients. I want to know if I trust the guy sitting across from me or the gal sitting across from me. So you're Who am I story that shows that you have character that that gives a little bit of your background. And that's a story that usually comes out a little bit later on in this in the buy process. Then when you get to that final stage where risk is high, right and early in the buy process, the risk is usually look low, they're looking for price and looking for fitting their need. Now, like you said earlier, Oh, geez, if I if I go this route, and it doesn't work out, whoo, I'm taking a big risk here telling a story about another customer who did have to make that same type of a decision, who was high that had a high risk that had huge political pressures, because the Vice President of his or the CEO was on them, and the CFO was on them, and they need to be increased sales. And so having that kind of a story when somebody had high risk, at that point in the buying process, to tell that story, so that the other the person again, sitting across me says, Hey, this person gets me all along the process. they've stayed in alignment with me all along my bike process.

Steve Brown 40:58
Excellent. Tell me what is jargon monoxide?

Rob Stenberg 41:03
Jargon monoxide, I love that phrase. jargon monoxide is when you start talking in your, your market verticals jargon, or your company's jargon, right? If you start using a lot of acronyms, I mean, think about the US military. I mean, they're they're acronym Heaven, right? They are the acronyms. You don't know what half the time it seems like a different language. Right. But I mean, even just a SAS, you know, SAS, I sell SAS, well, you know, some people are going, What? Are you sassy, what you know, I mean, just you got to be careful with I think, as a sales professional, be careful with the jargon. So that because if you don't have the same definition of the phrases you're using, as the person speaking to you, communication breaks down. This is a communication framework that I teach. It's a communication frameworks to better communicate with other human beings. So jargon monoxide is just those, those things that you throw them on, we got this, you know, we got that we got XDY, we got YLZ, we got ACD. and and pretty soon you're in like I said, acronym, hell, and you don't know what the heck is going on. And you know what, a lot of people they don't want to say, What are you talking about? I didn't get that. What does that mean? Right? They don't want to feel like they're. So don't put somebody in that position. And what happens is, salespeople want to try to show how smart they are. You know what, Steve? I tell people, Steve, if I'm the smartest guy in the room, you're in the wrong room. Right? You got to hang out with people who are smarter than you. Right? So I mean, you don't want to make your client feel like they're not intelligent. Right. So be careful with jargon monoxide.

Steve Brown 42:57
That's, that's why I learned just to ask questions, so I wouldn't reveal that I wasn't the smartest guy in the room. So Rob, those folks that are listening this inspired by this conversation, how can they connect with you? What's the best way?

Rob Stenberg 43:16
Yeah, they can go to storyseekers.us and connect connect with me there. They can go on LinkedIn, Rob Stenberg on LinkedIn. S T E N B E R G Rob first name may find me under Robert and you know, the sometimes it's a little of both, but they can connect with me on LinkedIn or they can just give me a call. I answer my phone no matter what. 218-391-4156.

Steve Brown 43:41
And there you go. Okay, bonus question here. Do you have a dad joke for us?

Rob Stenberg 43:47
A dad joke. Yeah. dad joke. I don't have a dad joke. My dad is funny guy. I don't. I don't I don't. I don't have a dad joke. Oh, I could give you a dad joke. I can give you a joke. Come on. I grew up in Minnesota. And so you know, in January, Minnesota, break down cold. I'd come home. Man, it's cold out. I remember one time I came home said this man. It's cold out. And my dad looked at me said, Hey, Rob, do you know why it's cold out? I said why dad, he said due to the temperature. Thanks, Dad.

Steve Brown 44:28
Great job. That's beautiful. All right, Rob, you've been an awesome guest on the ROI online podcast brother.

Rob Stenberg 44:36
My pleasure. It's been a lot of fun being here.

Steve Brown 44:39
I appreciate you know. All right. So that's a wrap.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai