Sharpening Your Sales Story

benbarberby Ben Barber, College Planning Partners, Ann Arbor Thursday 1PM Facilitator

In his book “New Sales. Simplified.,” sales coach and author Mike Weinberg offers key strategies for improving sales performance. Among the chief reasons salespeople fail at bringing in new business: failure to master “The Sales Story.”

Sales people fail to grab a prospect’s attention because they can’t “tell their story.” The sales story is our single most important weapon because we use it every day, all day long. We use talking points from our story when we are on the phone and trying to entice someone to meet with us. Bits and pieces of our story end up in our e-mails, voice mails, and presentations.

Think for a minute. What makes a story interesting or compelling?

Stories that pique our interest and garner our attention are those that draw us in. Wouldn’t you agree the stories that are most captivating are the ones where you can imagine yourself as part of the story, or perhaps feel jealous that you are not?  The same applies when dealing with our sales story.

There are three critical sections, or building blocks, to a compelling sales story:

1) Client issues addressed:

  • Customer pains we remove
  • Client problems we solve
  • Opportunities we help customers capture
  • Results we achieve for client

2) Offerings

  • A simple statement of what we do – the services, solutions, or products for which we bill our customers.

3) Differentiators

  • Why and how are we better and different from other alternatives? Provides solid reasons as to why we are the best choice to address the client’s issues.

Think about your sales story, as related in your Member Minute. How well does yours cover these three critical elements?

Print off this blog post and break down your Member Minute and list each below (keep reading for examples):
Client Issues:



Take a moment and read through my original Member Minute before working on sharpening my Sales Story which talks mostly about what I do:
“I’m Ben Barber, owner and founder of College Planning Partners. We work with the parents of college bound students to develop customized plans for getting into and paying for college. One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is our ability to offer guaranteed tuition discounts to over 350 of the best private colleges and universities across the country. Nearly every family we work with qualifies for over $5,500 in discounts. Our college planning seminars are free and open to the public. You can find out more at”

My new Sales Story has a HEADLINE which I say now for all my Member Minutes and  carefully crafted TRANSITION statement.  I then select one or two the CLIENT ISSUES, go into MY OFFERINGS and then specific DIFFERENTIATORS.
HEADLINE: College Planning Partners is a full service college search and funding advisor serving families in Ann Arbor and surrounding communities.
TRANSITION: Parents of college-bound students turn to us when they . . .
• Are confused by today’s convoluted financial aid system.
• Don’t know where to begin when faced with choosing among 3,000+ colleges and universities
• Feel frustrated with kids who seem unconcerned about their futures. They’re worried about their kids making the right choices.
• Overwhelmed by the paperwork associated with college testing, applications, financial aid and student loans.
• Struggling to manage cash flow and balance the college bill, retirement and everyday expenses on a limited budget. They’re worried about protecting their savings and investments.
• Are committed to finding the college that will be the best social, academic and financial fit for their kids, but they don’t have the time or the energy to learn everything there is to know about getting into and paying for college.

We help families tackle the challenges of getting into and paying for college using a range of customized, client-selected strategies that reduce out-of-pocket costs while positioning students for college and career success.

(Get more specific? – funding plans, and student services such as test prep, essay coaching, application assistance, college search and financial aid paperwork).

We offer a comprehensive service that families can customize to fit their needs, time and budget.

We provide a team of specialized coaches who work one-on-one with you and your student . . . don’t just toss them into an automated, one-size-fits all system.

One thing that sets us apart from our competitors is our ability to offer guaranteed tuition discounts to over 350 of the best private colleges and universities across the country. Nearly every family we work with qualifies for over $5,500 in discounts.

Remember, your Sales Story is your single most important weapon in your effort to help your Caerusnet marketing team make referrals to you!  Happy sharpening!

Contributed by Ben Barber, Ann Arbor, MI Facilitator, ben@mycollegeplanningpartners,,(312) 203-4829 . Adapted from “NEW SALES. SIMPLIFIED.” by Mike Weinberg. Copyright © 2013 by Mike Weinberg. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY.