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Throughout my 30+ years’ experience leading sales and relationship teams within the financial services industry I have watched knowledgeable, motivated, and focused sales people and advisors struggle to connect on a personal level with clients. Advisors gathered all the necessary data through comprehensive discovery, held regular meetings with their clients, had great looking presentation materials and were extremely responsive to client needs and requests.

But I saw no real connection between the advisor and the client beyond facts, figures, and data.

Those clients told me the advisor or salesperson was hard to relate to, cared only about making the sale or "talking numbers," or used too much jargon, which made them feel they were being talked down to.

On the other hand, the most successful sales people and advisors effortlessly build quick and strong personal connections with clients. By being great storytellers they come across as more empathetic, human, and personable. Contrary to popular opinion, great storytelling has nothing to do with personality type. Anyone, and everyone, can become a great storyteller by following a few simple steps. I have used these steps in storytelling training and role-play with advisors and sales teams for many years with great success.

Four steps to great storytelling:

  1. Be authentic – You have to be yourself. Clients want to know who you are and want to hear about other clients’ experiences with you. Your job isn’t acting or make-believe, so let your clients see you for who you really are. Help your clients see your human side and “feel” what it’s like when you can help them successfully achieve a goal.