So you want to close more deals and crush your sales numbers this quarter?
Then you have to start opening story loops when cold calling and anytime you’re on the phone with prospects.
Wait… story loops? What’s a story loop? And how do you “open” one?
Don’t worry – today I’m sharing exactly what story loops are and how you can use them to pique your prospect’s interest and keep them hanging on your every word.
Of course, like everything I preach when it comes to sales coaching, story loop cliffhangers are incredibly easy to learn and put into practice. You just have to know a few basic principles to get started.
So let’s get into it.
What is a Story Loop?
A story loop is a narrative technique often used in the box office and works of fiction.
It’s when the storyteller — that’s you as the salesperson — adds something to the conversation that spikes curiosity but doesn’t resolve until later in the conversation (or movie, or book).
It’s also known as a “cliffhanger,” although story loops look slightly different than cliffhangers in practice.
Here’s one example of an open story loop…
Salesperson: I’m hearing that you think next quarter sales will pick up and you’ll be back on track. Is that right?
Prospect: That’s right.
Salesperson: Ok, that might be the case. But there is something brewing in the industry that could completely turn that on its head.
Prospect: What’s that?
Salesperson: I definitely want to discuss this with you, as it might impact many businesses in your sector. But let’s talk about that in just a bit… First, tell me more about your current team…
Prospect: *On the edge of his seat the rest of the conversation waiting to hear what’s brewin’ in the industry*
Story. Loop. Opened.
How Do You Open a Story Loop in Sales?
It’s pretty easy to open story loops. You can even plan your story loops before your sales meeting even starts — and you can often use the same story loop across similar prospects.
Case studies make great story loop material. “You won’t believe what happened when [prospect’s competitor] applied our framework.”
Or you can make it more personal and play the freedom card. “Implement our solution and you’ll free up time and resources to really grow your business like never before. I’ll tell you more about how Justin Brown did just this and what his life looks like now. Completely transformed. But first…”
The important thing is that you let your prospect’s imagination run wild down the rabbit hole. The more of a nail-biter you can make it, the better. But even otherwise boring information can be made into a cliff-hanging story loop with the right approach.
One Loop at a Time!
Movies and shows will open 3-4 loops at a time, called nested loops. These are plots and subplots. I don’t recommend this unless you’re a master storyteller, so just keep it simple and open one loop at a time. If one loop closes mid-way through the conversation, open another. And so on and so forth.
Why Story Loops are So Effective
Story loops are highly-effective in the art of persuasion because of one word: Dopamine. It’s human nature to desire delayed gratification. Even though the prospect seemingly yearns for the story loop resolution, it’s actually the anticipation of the resolution that they love.
Story loops are all about anticipation and building suspense. That’s where the dopamine builds. Once the story loop closes, it’s almost always a bit of a letdown. And at that point, they want another story loop opened. Another puzzle to solve in their mind. Something else to look forward to in their boring lives.
It’s the same reason why we get excited to log into Facebook and see those little red notifications in the right hand corner. It doesn’t really matter what the notifications are. What matters most is the anticipation that they will be there. Story loops!
A few Pitfalls to Look Out For
Remember to stay within these guardrails when opening story loops:
- Don’t open more than one loop at a time. It will muddle the plotline, which is the journey to the sale.
- Don’t leave your loops open. Always close your story loops before the anticipation is gone, otherwise it can leave your prospect frustrated and it’ll erode trust. Unless you’re the writer of the movie “Inception.” In this 2010 film, we were left wondering if everything that transpired throughout the film was reality or just a dream. And the movie ended with the spinning top to see if it was still a dream or not. It didn’t stop spinning! That story loop is still open, but for artistic effect. This is permissable because there wasn’t a sale on the line (they already sold us at the box office and concession stands).
- Make it believable. You won’t engage your prospect if your story loop promises the world. It must be believable so that they can anticipate a resolution that’s rooted in reality, not fantasy.
- Tie it to your prospect’s transformation. You can open all kinds of story loops, but they aren’t all created equal. The loops you want to open are directly tied to a tangible payoff that your prospect will experience by purchasing your offer. In other words, as is the case with everything in sales, make it about them.
Story loops are a powerful weapon in the sales pro arsenal. Use them in every conversation you have from here on out — whether you’re trying to sell something or not. It will make you more likable and people will desire to talk to you. Remember, it’s human nature to love suspense!
You should also use story loops in your blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, TikToks, you name it. (You are a sales influencer/creator, aren’t you?) This narrative device can and should be used everywhere you communicate, online and offline.
So get out there and use the power of storytelling to your advantage. Your sales numbers depend on it.
Until next time…