Turn Customer Benefits into Insightful Storytelling


A few weeks ago, we were conducting a sales training when one of the participants asked me, “When prospecting, I realize now that we need to lead with insights and not with our products and services, or even solutions – but where can I find these insights, that are relevant to my prospect and turns the sales conversation into an interesting business conversation?”. That is an excellent question. He continued with: “How can you find insightful, valuable information while you are not an expert in the prospect’s industry?”. I replied that no-one expects you to be an expert in every industry, including your prospect. But they require you to bring valuable information about what you are an expert in and help them with their challenges. In other words, they need you to help them where their world interconnects with yours.

If your company has equipped you with a Sales Enablement tool, use it to find Industry News, Challenges, and Trends. In addition to that, another way of finding excellent insights is asking your own customers! Ask yourself; Why have they decided to choose you and your company as their partner? Once you better understand that, you can leverage that knowledge in your prospecting. Do the following exercise to turn customer benefits into insightful storytelling:

Call your top 10 customers. Tell them you are doing some research, and ask if they are willing to answer a few questions. It will only take a max of 10min per call. If you have a close relationship with these customers, I am sure the majority will cooperate. Try to talk to stakeholders at the Operational, Management, and Executive level of the organization:

What challenges have we helped you to overcome?
What tactical/strategic benefits did you gain by choosing us as a partner?
Why do you prefer working with us over others?
Why Us?

With this information, you can build great insights. Make sure you write down the replies of your customers. An operational person may say: “Before, we always had hassles with pick-ups. They were irregular in time and basically disrupted our work too much. Now, these pick-ups go seamlessly; it is a real time-saver. And I also like the pro-activeness of your couriers; they check every shipment thoroughly, so everything is done right the first time”.

A manager or the business owner may say: “With your help, we have been expanding to new markets we did not think was possible. It has been a real game-changer. You also helped us improve the quality of our website, which now generates a welcomed income stream”.

Turn these customer benefits into great storytelling. You have all the ingredients. Apply what Disney, Pixar, and Marvel do so well.

Story StepsThe answers of your customers become your story
CharacterA similar business owner like your self
GoalsWas always on the look-out for growth
ChallengeBut she faced similar challenges to yours; they wanted to grow online but didn’t know where to turn and what to do.
ObstaclesIt was unclear where potential new customers and markets were
SolutionI helped them with that information based on the research we have available.
OutcomeThey don’t look back now, enjoying double-digit growth from online business
The Manager or Business Owner


Story StepsThe answers of your customers become your story
CharacterThis reminds me of a warehouse manager at a similar business as you have here
GoalsHe was very efficient; time is money was his motto.
ChallengeWhat annoyed him was the many disruptions of suppliers picking something up or delivering goods
ObstaclesThe problem was, in his view, caused by very irregular pick-up and delivery schedules and lack of sufficient shipping knowledge with couriers
SolutionI helped him with setting up specific pick-up and delivery time windows and the insurance of top-quality couriers.
OutcomeNow this part of his business goes seamlessly, saving a lot of time he spends on something else that needs more attention
The Operator

You see, easy! Give it a try yourself. Listen carefully to what your top customers like so much about you and your company. Write this down systematically and put your Hollywood Director’s hat on. Prospects are hungry for insights. And what a great way of sharing these through storytelling. You will see how much your prospects enjoy your stories. You know why? Because many businesses experience similar challenges. If you can help them make their lives easier, grow their business, and hit profit targets they so desperately need, who wouldn’t call you back for a second meeting?

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