Sell the Sizzle: Tips for story-based selling


Have you ever wondered how top advisers sell? Do they just have a natural ability to connect with prospects and clients or is it something that can be learned by everyone? Well, stop wondering—top advisers sell their sizzle simply using great stories.

Clients and prospects connect with a great story because they understand your products and services better when they can relate them to something familiar. The key is to use an analogy that is easily understood and tie it to a product or service that is not easy to understand. The simpler the concepts are the better the story turns out.

Preparation is vital to story-based selling, but very few financial advisers take the time to write out a story for each product or service that offer.

How to Craft a Great Story
Creating a great story starts with the end in mind. First, find a familiar object that your client could relate to. For example, if the client is an executive who likes to sail, make the story about something sailing-related.

Next, look at ways where the familiar object relates to your product, service or concept and write your own custom analogy.

Here is one example: Look at a four-lane highway as it relates to diversification because by taking four cars instead of one you would be diversified in all four lanes. Then make the story end on a note where the product or service ties in with the object in the story, such as diversifying your money over four different styles of mutual funds is like diversifying your journey over four different lanes on a highway. You never know what the fastest lane is at any specific time, but you always have a car in a lane.

Here are other story-based selling examples. Use them as a guide to help craft your own great stories.

Tax Deferral
Tax deferral is like this cup. We can put water, tea, coffee or anything you want in this cup. You can put CDs, stocks mutual funds or anything you want inside your IRA.

As long as we keep your investments inside the IRA, the government will not tax you as the money grows. When you pour the money out or take the money out of this vehicle, the government will tax you. That’s tax deferral! 

Equity Mutual Fund Portfolio
An equity mutual fund portfolio is like a grocery bag. When you go to the grocery story, you buy products made by companies you are familiar with, such as Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s.  If you bought a piece of these companies you would be buying a stock.

When you go to check out of the store, the clerk puts your products into a grocery bag. An equity mutual fund portfolio is a grocery bag of stocks. The grocery cart that you wheel out to the car has several grocery bags in it; this grocery cart is like an equity mutual fund portfolio holding several equity mutual funds.

If you have a challenge creating your own great stories or would just like to sharpen your skills, email me at to get my complimentary white paper Sell the Sizzle: Mastering Story-Based Selling.

Daniel C. Finley
Advisor Solutions
St. Paul, Minn.

2 thoughts on “Sell the Sizzle: Tips for story-based selling

  1. Angie,

    Thanks! I’m confident that they can work for anyone.


Leave a Reply