Episode #313 – Indranil Chakroborty

How to Combat Anti-Stories with Story

Indranil Chakroborty


Indranil Chakraborty

Indranil Chakraborty is a pioneer in the field of Business Storytelling in India. He currently works with leaders from the top 100 companies in the country to help them learn Story skills. He is the author of the National Bestseller – Stories at Work : Unlock the Secret to Business Storytelling.

“Story is a fact, wrapped in context, delivered with emotion.” – Indranil Chakroborty

What triggers the decision for someone to buy something? Emotions. Then we use the rational brain to justify decisions we’ve already made. When you’re selling features and benefits, you talk to the rational part of the brain. But storytelling is a beautiful way of connecting with the emotional part of the brain. When you can do that, you’ve engaged their sense of emotion (what drives the purchase) and sense of logic (which justifies the purchase). Objections are simply anti-stories that you must learn to combat. In this episode of Sales Reinvented, Indranil Chakroborty shares how to combat anti-stories with story.

How do you combat anti-stories with stories? @StoryWorksIN shares his strategy in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:57] Why storytelling is an important skill to possess in sales
  • [1:56] Can you learn to become a gifted storyteller?
  • [4:30] The 4 critical pieces of a story that sells
  • [6:58] What makes a salesperson great at storytelling?
  • [8:28] Resources to improve your storytelling abilities
  • [10:11] Indranil’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [14:08] How to combat anti-stories with storytelling

Can you learn to become a gifted storyteller?

Indranil says to think about your kids when they were young. If you walked into a room and there was a broken vase on the floor, what would they tell you when you asked what happened? Did they tell you they knocked it off the table? Or did they tell a story?

They probably told a story, right? But did you teach them to tell a story? Probably not. You teach your children mathematics, spelling, handwriting, etc. but you don’t teach them how to tell stories. Kids across the world make things up and tell stories. It is an innate human ability.

But many logical and analytical people label themselves as left-brained. When it comes to crucial business communication, they act like they’re only capable of sharing bullet points, facts, and figures.

Yet before the meeting starts, the “left-brained person” is chit-chatting and telling stories. You may call them experiences but they are stories nonetheless. Indranil emphasizes that salespeople need to open their minds and use that natural gift even in critical business situations.

The 4 critical pieces of a story that sells

What are the critical things that are required to make a story?

  • It needs to have a sequence of events.
  • It needs to have a time marker and a location marker, i.e. “Once upon a time in a land far far away.”
  • You need characters.
  • You need an “Aha!” moment that is unexpected, that makes you raise an eyebrow.

You have to be able to tell the story in a way that allows the listener to visualize what’s happening. You need your listeners to be able to empathize with the story. If you include the four elements of the story, get them to visualize the story, and feel it—that’s a great story.

But how do you make that story sell? What makes a salesperson great at storytelling? Listen to hear Indranil share what it takes.

What are the 4 critical pieces of a story that sells? Find out in this episode of @SalesReinvented! #SalesReinvented #Sales #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Indranil’s top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts

Indranil shares some eye-opening dos and don’ts in this episode:

  • Never use the “S” word. Don’t say, “Let me tell you a story.” People define stories dramatically differently than they define business. When you think of stories, you think of children and made-up stories for entertainment. Business is about adults and nothing should be made up. It’s about facts and data. It’s not about entertainment. So if you use the word “story” most people think it will be frivolous and a waste of time.
  • Don’t use the “storytelling voice.” You know what it is—a low-pitched eerie voice that you think sounds suspenseful. You are not in the performance business. You aren’t acting out your story. When you modulate your voice, you’ve told people that you’re telling a story.
  • Chisel out everything that isn’t critical to delivering the message of the story. You want your story to be 90 seconds to two minutes. It’s okay to insert irrelevant details when you’re at a bar talking with a friend—not in business. Share the details that are required.

What are Indranil’s three dos? Listen to find out!

How to combat anti-stories with story

How do you handle an objection, i.e. an anti-story? Indranil notes that pushbacks stem from someone’s belief systems. They come in three forms:

  1. They don’t have enough information
  2. They have a different data analysis
  3. They have a different belief

You can break through the first two objections with facts, data, and analysis. But you can’t use facts to fight belief. Why? Because belief is a story in someone’s mind. And you can only replace a story with a more powerful story.

Whenever you get pushback on something, determine why they’re pushing back. If it’s based on belief, no amount of arguing or data will work. That’s why you must combat anti-stories with story. So find a story that’s opposite of their belief and share it with them. You’ll put a seed of doubt in their minds and open the door to further conversation.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @StoryWorksIN shares how you combat anti-stories with story. Don’t miss it! #SalesReinvented #Sales #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #StorytellingClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Indranil Chakroborty

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Learn More About Indranil Chakroborty

Are there any books on or including Storytelling that you recommend? The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall, Sell with a story by Paul Smith, Seven Stories every sales person must tell by Mike Adams, and of course mine (😃) Stories At Work – Unlocking the secrets to business storytelling by Indranil Chakraborty 

In the field of Business Story Telling – Who do you most admire and why? Shawn Callahan, Founder Anecdote. His understanding of the power of stories and its use in business is unparalleled. He is the best. Mike Adams, author of Seven Stories every sales person must tell. He beautifully blends his experience as a sales leader with his passion for storytelling. Making everything very relatable and relevant.

Are there any aspects of your own Story Telling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? While we stay miles away from performance and voice modulation, the power of a pause is underestimated. It allows the message to land and stick. Very important in letting the key elements of the story land. I am trying to get better at that.  The other is to keep observing and reading and trying to glean events and experiences that can be used as powerful business stories.

Hobbies, Interests? I LOVE dogs. I am certain that if people learnt a thing or two from dogs, this world would be a better place. I also like traveling.

How can our listeners contact with you? ic@storyworks.in