Episode #308 – Dan Seidman

Why Salespeople Need to Create Emotional Context in their Stories

Dan Seidman on emotional context


Dan Seidman

Dan Seidman is a best-selling author, collector of over 600 hilarious selling blunders, recognized as the International Sales Training Leader of The Year in 2013 and was a 3-time World Masters Gold Medalist playing on the US basketball team.

Why is emotional context an important aspect of a story? A prospect needs to feel like they identify with a character in your story. If they’re able to see themselves in the context of the story, it can deepen their investment in your conversation. So how do you craft stories that are compelling, where a buyer can feel emotionally invested? Dan Seidman shares his strategy in this episode of Sales Reinvented.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @SalesAutopsy shares why salespeople need to create emotional context in their stories for effectiveness. Don’t miss it! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [1:01] Create emotional context for the buyer
  • [2:35] Dan’s two models for storytelling
  • [5:10] What makes salespeople great storytellers?
  • [6:28] Two books that Dan recommends
  • [7:26] Dan’s storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:25] First impressions are everything
  • [12:56] Dan’s “confession sessions”

Create emotional context for the buyer

When you share a story, you create an emotional context for the buyer. But if you can get buyers to go into the story, it deepens their emotional investment in the conversation. Dan was on a ride-along with a BCBS sales rep. They were talking to an owner and he asked, “What if you don’t switch insurance programs? What if you stay where you are?”

The owner got angry and said, “My son chipped a tooth in an accident and they haven’t paid for it because the dentist recommended an orthopedist take care of his fractured jaw. The insurance company rejected the claim because it was a dentist that recommended an orthopedic procedure.” He emphasizes that they were switching no matter what. His story helped them understand the emotional context behind the buying decision.

Dan’s two models for storytelling

One model that Dan likes to use is “PET.” A story must be personalemotional, and teachable. Another framework that’s great for written communication is “PWS.” You have a problem, you worsen it, then you offer a solution.

Inside these two models, you want to create a role in the story that the buyer can identify with by building emotional context. When Dan trains people on storytelling, he shares a story about his daughter. In the scenario, his daughter is at McDonald’s playing in the kids’ area. A girl became quite upset because his daughter bumped her on the slide. The parents watched on the sideline to see what happened. The little girl spit in his daughter’s face.

Dan then asks everyone in the audience, “What’s your teaching moment from this story?” Everyone—based on the role they identify with—tells a different teaching moment. Someone might say he was a bad parent because he didn’t intervene. Another person might say that the other parents were poor because they didn’t make their daughter apologize. There are ways to get people to identify with the characters, which deepens the experience.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @SalesAutopsy shares the two models he uses for storytelling, AND why emotional context is important within your stories. Check it out! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Dan’s storytelling dos and don’ts

Dan shares some savvy storytelling advice:

  • You need to make your stories sound like they’re spontaneous so the conversation is a back-and-forth. Don’t just fire it off like you have the story prepared.
  • Account for the professional and personal impact of the decision at hand. When you share a story, their professional and personal circumstances may impact their choice. If Dan is talking to a buyer and asks how their reputation and decision-making might impact their choices, they think about their role, who they get reviewed by, and where they want to be aligned when they make a decision.
  • Account for both the benefits people would obtain and the problems they would solve with your product or service. Most people have a problem-solving mentality or they’re motivated by benefits/good things. You have to speak to both types.
  • Make sure when you share stories that they’re things you’ve had experience with or something you solidly believe in. You already have proof someone should buy from you because you can share reasons why other people said, “yes.” Tell them the consequences of success.

First impressions are everything

Dan spoke with two salespeople who were on a sales call in Florida. It was a hot day. They had bought some slushies and sat in their car waiting for their appointment. One man looked over at his partner to see that his lips, teeth, and tongue were flaming red. He looked at himself in the mirror to see that his teeth were green.

They walked into the building and people laughed at them as they walked through the lobby because they looked like circus clowns. But they had to keep their appointment. They were led into the president’s office, where they obviously weren’t taken seriously.

First impressions are critical; they can kill your opportunity or create a great one. How do you bail yourself out of a mistake? You could use self-deprecating humor. Or, they could’ve brought in a Slurpee for the president of the company to mitigate the embarrassment.

Dan shares a hilarious bonus story in this episode—don’t miss it.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @SalesAutopsy shares some compelling stories and truly demonstrates how emotional context builds connection. Don’t miss it! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Dan Seidman

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Are there any books on or including Storytelling that you recommend? My book, Sales Autopsy, is the best 50 of 600+ sales stories I’ve collected over the years. I most highly recommend Carmine Gallo’s two books Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and 10 Simple Secrets of the World’s Best Communicators

In the field of Business Story Telling – Who do you most admire? Carmine Gallo

Are there any aspects of your own Story Telling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Yes, I coach sales pros to present positive stories (benefits) with happy endings as well as negative stories that warn of problems (pain) down the road. For myself, I have to move past my tendency to talk about problems and integrate benefits to help motivate buyers who are looking for good things to happen with their decisions.

Hobbies, Interests? I am a World Master’s Athlete with three gold medals playing on the U.S. basketball team. World Master’s sports are Olympics for athletes over 35. Like all elite athletes and business pros, I hate losing more than I enjoy winning. I also scuba dive, when I can find an ocean that will take me.

How can our listeners contact with you? 

  • www.SalesAutopsy.com – Hilarious sales stories in print, audio, video and comic book format!
  • www.ReadEmotions.com – Reading (hidden) emotions is an elite emotional intelligence skill. This can significantly upgrade communication skills for sales pros. At this website, download the whitepaper, A Superpower for Sales Pros.
  • www.GotInfluenceInc.com – home of the 544-page book of best-practices, The Ultimate Guide to Sales Training.
  • Dan@GotInfluenceInc.com