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Head Nod or Furled Brow?:
When You NEED to Tell a Story

Dear Friend,

Last Friday, I touched on the value of telling stories in your selling process.

Facts Tell, Stories Sell

There are many 'applications' for stories. But there are some circumstances when you really NEED to tell a story.

One of these circumstances is when you are giving a sales presentation to a customer, and they give you an indication that they are not following along.

When I make a sales presentation to a prospective customer, I look for visual or auditory cues from the customer that indicates they are following along.

I call positive visual or auditory cues 'head nods'. 

A 'head nod' doesn't have to be an actual head nod. It can be any sort of visual or auditory cue that a customer gives us that indicates they are getting what we are telling them.

A 'head nod' might take the form of ...

... an 'Mmmm hmmmm...'
... an 'I understand...'
... an 'I get it... '
... or an actual head nod.

The key is that we've gotten some sort of indication from the customer that they understand the point we are making. Then we are free to move onto to whatever is next.

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Sometimes the customer doesn't get what we are telling them, or isn't able to follow along.

This is often when we get 'furled brow'.

The 'furled brow' is a visual or auditory cue a customer gives you that indicates they are NOT following along.   The 'furled brow' can take the form of...

... a blank stare...
... a lack of any response...
... a little shaking of the head...
... an actual 'furled brow'

If you get the 'furled brow' reaction,  and blindly continue without addressing this reaction, you're typically wasting your time. You've lost the customer.

To give yourself a chance at making that sale, you need address this 'furled brow'.

When you get the 'furled brow' reaction from a customer, that's a perfect time to tell a story. Stop, back up, and restate whatever point that you were trying to make in the form of a story.

The story paints a picture that often gives the customer an easy to 'catch up' and understand your point.

For example, when I sold heat packs on my carts, we had three 'how they work' points we HAD to make within the first thirty seconds of our presentation:

a) How hot they get; be) how long they last; and c) how to reuse them.

The customer had to understand these points or we couldn't move on. Most times the customer 'got it' and we were able to move on to the next points.

But occasionally we'd get the 'furled brow' reaction indicating they didn't  understand... especially when we explained how to reuse the packs.

If we got that 'furled brow' reaction, we'd simply back up and tell a story...

'... for example... my mom teaches piano and she'll use one on the way to school, and another one on the way home... to keep her hands warm... '

'... when she gets home, she just pops them both in boiling water for a few minutes until they are clear and ready to go again.  They're really convenient like that.'

Just a simple story.  Then we'd almost always then get some sort of 'head nod' from the customer that indicated they got it...

'Oh... ok... I get it.'

Then we could move on the remaining part of the presentation... and have a chance of making a sale to that customer.

The 'furled brow' reaction can happen at any time.

A customer might simply get be distracted by something else going on, and lose track of what you are saying. This a perfect time, to stop, back up, and tell a story that will allow them to 'catch up' and follow along.

Another time you might get a 'furled brow' is if you've been at the mall all day, and start to go into 'auto-pilot' and stop connecting with customers.

This is another time to stop, back up, and tell a story that illustrates the last point you were making. It allows you to re-connect with your customer, and gives you a chance at the sale.

The main point here is that when your customer gives you any indication they are not following along with you... and reacts with a 'furled brow', that's when you need to stop, back up, and tell a story.

It helps your customer re-connect with you, and what you are saying to them. It gives you a chance at making the sale.


Brady Flower


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