That’s my story and you’re sticking to it.

For anyone in sales (or just about anywhere else for that matter) a big part of what we do is storytelling. This is not by chance. Stories transcend time, geography and language. The most memorable stories we tell endure because they engage our emotions. Ghost stories evoke fear. Success stories inspire us. Bedtime stories make children feel safe and warm.

My friend Jonathan has been a Solution Engineer at HiQ Software for many years. Recently he was working on a very competitive deal at a major confection manufacturer. Naturally I can’t disclose the name of the customer but I can tell you that they are headquartered in Hershey, PA. The company was experiencing an extremely high rate of worker turnover. The associated costs were increasing at an alarming rate. They needed a solution pronto.

When vendor selection was down to the short list, only HiQ and 1 other vendor were invited to do a demo. Like every good demo, the first few minutes of the pitch are crucial.

Other Vendor’s pitch:
Last year, we helped M&M Mars reduce worker turnover by 32%. Using our market-leading Predictive Analytics software they were able to achieve these results in less than 6 months. Let me demonstrate exactly how they did that.

There’s nothing wrong with this of course. It’s succinct, factual and focused on business value.

Jon’s pitch:
In preparing for our meeting today I took a trip around the shop floor to gather some info (and of course, free samples). The first person I met was Gladys.

Gladys has been working on the inspection line for 6 years. The average worker tenure is 2.5 years. When I asked her what kept her there she grabbed a chocolate bar off the line. She explained to me that the numbers on the back label represent the exact time, date, assembly line and Employee ID of each individual bar.

Gladys’s grandchildren are 8 and 5. Whenever they are at the local 7–11 they love to look through the Hershey bars in search of one of “Grandma’s bars”. Whenever they find one their faces light up and Gladys’s pride swells. That’s Gladys’s WHY.

Workers leave because of bad bosses, better opportunities or any number of other reasons. They stay because of their WHYs.

Last year we helped Mars discover some of those WHYs and using our Predictive Analytics Toolkit, they were able to reduce turnover by 32% in 6 months. Now let me demonstrate exactly how they did that…

Same facts, very different approach.

To quote Confucius:
Tell me and I will forget.
show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I will understand.

I would only add:
Engage my emotions and I will internalize.

Reason builds the car. Emotion does all the driving.