31 Jan 2020

During a recent workshop I was asked what I liked most about being a trainer. There are a number of different answers…travel and experiencing different cultures came to mind quickly, but above all its working with different people – the experiences they share and the stories they tell.


Story telling is a skill that can be developed and as a tool in the workplace that can be used to great effect. Stories appeal to Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learners, encourage creativity, can position things from another perspective and are easy to remember. We are conditioned to listen to them since childhood. 

One of the most memorable was told to me during a coaching session with an ex SAS veteran. A colleague of his, who had retired from the Regiment, had attended an interview for a ‘sales’ position.

The interviewer, a sales manager, sharp suited and slick with a high degree of arrogance perused the CV, casually looking at the interviewee with a fixed ‘not impressed’ gaze whilst taking sips from a large mug of coffee.

Once he had read through the pages, he tossed the CV to the table and in an overconfident voice said…

“So, you think you can sell do you? What makes you think you could cut it in a sales environment?”

The SAS soldier calmly replied…

“I’m goal orientated, and target driven. I wanted to serve in the most famous army regiment in the world, I’ve achieved several promotions and accomplished my goal.”

The sales manager showed no interest and said…

“What else?”

“I’m a good communicator,” came the reply “I’ve had to communicate at all levels inside and outside the service, often in times of intense pressure where clarity of message is integral to the successful conclusion of an operation.”

Still non-plussed, the sales manager uttered…

“Anything else?”

Leaning forward with a steely gaze the soldier replied…

“I’m very calm under pressure.”

The sales manager gulped down the rest of his coffee and slammed the mug onto the table with an almighty thud…

“Sell me that mug!”

The soldier unblinkingly reached for the mug, raised it as high as he could behind him and dropped it to the floor where it smashed into a number of pieces. He leant forward, staring directly into the sales manager’s eyes and said…

“I think you need a new mug!”

How do you create need when you sell?

When selling products or services do we position product features or benefits? The SAS soldier created an immediate need for the sales manager.

‘Creating need,’ requires proper planning and preparation and the ability to look through the ‘customer’s eyes’ at the challenges they face.  

Turn customer’s ‘wants’ into ‘needs’, creating an emotional bond with the solutions you sell and watch your sales results increase!

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