Episode #310 – Bernadette McClelland

How Stories Make You Stand Out

Bernadette McClelland


Bernadette McClelland

Bernadette McClelland is referred to as the StorySeller from DownUnder. She currently resides in the USA and works with sales teams within mid-size businesses to help them STAND OUT! Shift their buyer’s indecision, master influence, and build massive trust through her StorySelling methodology.

Stories are the earliest form of communication. They’re also the most effective way to connect with someone else. When we tell a good story, the buyer can see themselves in that story. As a result, it cuts through the logical part of the brain and goes straight to the emotional part of the brain. Decisions are made on emotion and backed up with logic. You can leverage a story to connect with your buyer, demonstrate an outcome, and make a sale. Stories make you stand out. Learn how Bernadette McClelland crafts stories in this episode of Sales Reinvented!

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @b_mcclelland shares how stories make you stand out. Don’t miss it! #SalesReinvented #Sales #StoryTelling #Story #Stories #StoriesThatSell #StoryBrandClick To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Stories make you stand out from the crowd
  • [1:44] Can you become a gifted storyteller?
  • [2:55] The ingredients of a great story that sells
  • [4:09] Attributes + characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [6:14] Resources to improve storytelling abilities
  • [6:56] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [10:13] How telling stories helped Bernadette get her green card

Can you become a gifted storyteller?

Bernadette works with technical CTOs and salespeople. They argue that everything they do is technical and data-driven and that they don’t need storytelling capabilities to sell. When they realize that there is a structure, a process, a purpose, and a logical flow to delivering an impactful story, they embrace it. Some people are natural storytellers. Others realize that they can learn a structure to bring out the stories they already have, the stories that make them stand out from the competition. You have to be open to the idea that a story is a powerful mover and shaker in a sales conversation.

The ingredients of a great story that sells

Everyone is familiar with the “Once upon a time” and “Happy ever after” stories that you tell your kids, right? Those aren’t the stories that Bernadette is talking about. A great story that sells needs to have a relevant business point. You can tell a story, but what is the point? What is the outcome for the buyer? When you tell a great story—for the buyer to feel themselves in the story—it needs color, movement, and dialogue. The story needs some drama.

Stories that sell have to be told in a business context and have a purpose. @b_mcclelland shares why this is important in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #StoryTelling #Story #Stories #StoriesThatSell #StoryBrandClick To Tweet


Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Bernadette shares some storytelling tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t waffle. Bernadette jokes that everyone has been in a conversation with salespeople where they question: Where’s this going? What does this mean? How is this relevant? Will they just shut up?! You need to have a structure to your story.
  • Don’t make up stories (or lie about them). If you don’t want to share someone’s name or business name, make it anonymous to protect their confidentiality.
  • Don’t put yourself as the hero of the story. Too many salespeople do this.
  • Prepare stories. You conduct research before you speak to a buyer, why not do the same with your stories? Prepare a story to connect with someone (and make sure you’re vulnerable, too).
  • Be relevant. What is the point of your story? How is it relevant to that particular buyer? Think of stories strategically.
  • Make the client the hero of the story. A salesperson with the best of intentions might try to share a case study. But a case study starts with, “I have this client…” The minute you say “I” or “we” you’re making the story about yourself.

Even if a buyer likes you, some part of their psyche is still screaming that you’re a salesperson. There’s a lack of trust. If you can demonstrate vulnerability in your story—perhaps where you made a mistake or a buyer had an objection—it lowers their distrust. Stories build trust.

How stories make you stand out

Bernadette had to sell her economic value to the US Immigration Department. She remembers that it was a huge challenge to overcome. Bernadette approached the National Visa Center at the American Consulate and petitioned to get her green card.

She put together a series of nine stories that she shared with her guide, an attorney. Through these stories, she was able to demonstrate her value to the immigration department. The result? She was given a green card.

She provided evidence from her past in the form of stories to demonstrate how she could be valuable to the US economy. She fully demonstrated her mantra that stories make you stand out.

How do stories make you stand out? @b_mcclelland believes they can differentiate you from competition and she shares why in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #StoryTelling #Story #Stories #StoriesThatSell #StoryBrandClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bernadette McClelland

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Learn More About Bernadette McClelland

Are there any books on or including storytelling that you recommend? The 7 Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell – Mike Adams, Putting Stories to Work: Mastering Business Storytelling – Shawn Callahan, and my book: The Art of Commercial Conversations.

In the field of business storytelling, who do you most admire and why? I will always admire Seth Godin because he is a master storyteller – says it as it is and how we all really feel

Are there aspects of your own storytelling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? So the only things I am working on at the moment re storytelling is writing my book on StorySelling and creating fresh IP around what the difference between ST and SS is. It’s exciting I can tell you that 🙂 But outside that, simply walking my talk.

Hobbies and interests? I am picking up the golf clubs again now that I am in Colorado – yay me!

How can our listeners connect with you? Bernadettemcclelland.com, LinkedIn, The StorySeller from DownUnder