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Software, Spartans, and Pixar
What is your job title? Salesman?
Eh, kind of.
That’s the goal!
How about business development representative?
I honestly don’t even know what that means.
Well, then what is it?
Storyteller seems appropriate.
If you have ever seen the movie “300” then you know that parts of the story are narrated by David Wenham’s character, Dilios. Dilios possessed a unique skill that his fellow Spartans did not: Dilios was an exceptional storyteller. His ability to tell a story was unparalleled and it was this skill that actually saved his life. I believe that the ability to tell a story is something that we all inherently possess; therefore, it is something we take for granted.
When I first started in sales at Red Nova Labs, a colleague of mine told me to focus on our “story.” He stressed the importance of relaying our story to everyone, because that’s what separates us from the competition. He said that no one has the same story, so you must learn to tell your story in a way that is compelling and genuine. That was seven months ago, and since then I have tried to educate myself on the art of storytelling. I have read articles on storytelling from Harvard Business Review and Forbes, and listened to dozens of TED Talks and podcasts, but the most enlightening piece of information actually came from Pixar.
In 1996, “Toy Story” was nominated for several Academy Awards, including best original screenplay, which was the first time an animated film was recognized for screenwriting. Since then the storytellers at Pixar have produced cinematic masterpieces that have ignited the imagination of both young and old. Pixar’s stories resonate with everyone because we can relate to them on an emotional level. A story about a monster becomes a story about fatherhood. A story about a fish becomes a tale of learning to trust yourself and the ones you love.
These past seven months selling self storage software have taught me a lot. I have learned the meaning behind several acronyms such as SEO, API, and SSL. I have learned that cold calling is tedious, but if done correctly, it can pay dividends. I have learned that in order for people to fully comprehend and appreciate the value of your product, you cannot merely show them it’s bells and whistles, because the reality is your competition has similar features as you do, however, they will not have the same story. I have learned that if you want to be successful in sales, in business, or whatever field you choose, you should first start by becoming an exceptional storyteller.