Episode #315 – Justin Zappulla

Storytelling Drives Connections that Result in Sales

Justin Zappulla


Justin Zappulla

Justin Zappulla’s career has been highlighted by remarkable performance in sales and sales leadership roles. Today, Justin is the Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group and co-author of the popular sales book, Critical Selling, is considered one of the top authorities and thought leaders in sales training, sales strategy and overall sales performance improvement.

Justin Zappulla believes storytelling enables salespeople to deliver a deeper, more emotional connection with their customers. It’s a fundamental human experience that everyone can relate to. It drives a deeper connection. When you’re communicating, you want that conversation to be as effective as possible. Storytelling is a critical skill to master in this process.

How does #storytelling drive connection which can lead to the desired result of a sale? Learn more in this episode of @SalesReinvented with @JustinZappulla! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #ConnectionClick To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Storytelling drives connections
  • [1:39] Can you learn to become a better storyteller?
  • [2:50] What makes a great story that sells?
  • [3:45] Attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller
  • [4:23] Resources to improve storytelling abilities
  • [5:12] Top 3 storytelling dos and don’ts
  • [7:40] A story that demonstrates the power of story

Can you learn to become a better storyteller?

Some people are naturally gifted storytellers. For some, it’s how they prefer to communicate or they’ve simply told stories their whole lives. But if you aren’t one of those people, storytelling is a skill that can be learned.

You just need to understand what makes a great story. There are a few components you need to use and need to practice. Above all, you want to share stories that are relevant to your customers that will drive a point home.

What makes a great story that sells?

Justin points out that storytelling doesn’t have to be complicated. It comes down to two things:

  1. Be authentic: People can tell when you’re forcing something. Telling a story shouldn’t be about manipulating an outcome. But storytelling drives connections, which can lead to the desired result of a sale.
  2. Tell stories that directly relate to the client’s specific situation. What were the common challenges, conflicts, resolutions, solutions, and results?

Remember, relevant stories are the ones that will make an impact.

What makes a great story that sells? In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @JustinZappulla simplifies the process to two things. Listen to learn what they are! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #ConnectionClick To Tweet


Attributes and characteristics of a great storyteller

Justin believes that salespeople need to master presentation skills. When you’re delivering a message, how the story is told is important. You need to use the right words to illuminate the key message(s). You must talk at the right pace to capture attention. You have to pause when necessary to create suspense. Allow your audience a moment to think about something.

What are Justin’s 3 storytelling dos and don’ts? Listen to find out!

A story that demonstrates the power of story

In the late 2000s, Rob Walker set out to prove how powerful storytelling is. He went on eBay and bought 200 objects, around $1 each. Then hired 200 writers to write a story about each object and relisted them on eBay. One item was a plastic horse’s head. After posting it with a backstory, the $1 item sold for $60. He ended up reselling all 200 items for $8,000—all because of the stories he told.

How do you create value? How do you help your customers see you as a fit? How do they see the value in the price you offer? Storytelling does just that. It’s not just sharing benefits and features—It helps people relate in a way they haven’t.

In this episode of @SalesReinvented, @JustinZappulla shares a unique story that demonstrates the power of story. Don’t miss it! Listen to find out! #Sales #SalesReinvented #Story #Stories #StoryBrand #ConnectionClick To Tweet


Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Justin Zappulla

Connect With Paul Watts


Audio Production and Show notes by

Learn More About Justin Zappulla

Are there any books on or including Storytelling that you recommend? Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall

In the field of Business Story Telling – Who do you most admire and why? I believe Steve Jobs was the best storyteller of all time.  He could connect you to the emotion of the story in ways others cannot.   

Are there any aspects of your own Story Telling skills that you are working on improving at the moment? Yes. Less is more.  I’m always looking for ways to deliver my stories in shorter yet more impactful ways. 

Hobbies, Interests? When I’m not working, I like to stay active. Go for a walk/run, go to the gym, get out on the golf course. Something to get the juices going!

How can our listeners contact with you? You can reach me by going to my  website or feel free to reach out to me directly by email (JZappulla(at)janek.com) or LinkedIn.