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The Marketing Book Podcast: "Sell with a Story" by Paul Smith

Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith


Paul Smith is a popular keynote speaker and corporate trainer in leadership and storytelling techniques, a former executive and 20-year veteran of The Procter & Gamble Company, and the author of two other books:

"Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire;" and "Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share."

In his 20 years with Procter & Gamble, Paul held leadership positions in both research and finance, and most recently served as director of consumer and communications research. Prior to P&G, Paul was a consultant for Arthur Andersen & Company (now Accenture).

Paul holds a bachelor's degree in economics, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the host of the Lead With A Story Podcast and Parenting With A Story Podcast.

And his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Forbes, The Washington Post, and Marketing Research Magazine.

The Host's Perspective:

First off, I have a confession to make. Whenever I’ve heard the term “storytelling” as it related to marketing and sales I didn’t fully understand the concept. Was it “once upon a time” stories? Making up stories? Now that I’ve read “Sell With A Story,” I’ve learned it’s nothing at all like that.

If you think of the human brain as a castle with a moat around it and a drawbridge, when a sales pitch comes along, the drawbridge goes up. But when a properly constructed story is being told, the drawbridge comes down and you’re allowed in. Or, think of a sales pitch as foul-tasting medicine, and a sales story as a spoonfull of sugar to help the medicine go down. In a most delightful way. That’s the concept, but there’s quite a bit that goes into properly constructing and telling a story including a time, a place, a main character, an obstacle, a goal and events.

This is not a comprehensive book on selling, nor does it offer an entirely new selling process to replace your current one. What it does offer is add the storytelling skill to add to whatever process you're currently using. Storytelling is not a talent you’re either born with or not – it’s like any other professional skill that if you invest the time to learn how to do it well, and then practice it, you can master it.

“Sell With A Story” will show you how to pick the right story and craft a compelling and memorable narrative that will make your sales (and marketing) more effective. I should add that the appendices at the end of the book are worth the price of the book alone. They include things like a story structure template and the 25 different types of stories that successful salespeople are using.

Listen to the Interview:

Show Notes: 

"Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale" by Paul Smith

"Made to Stick" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

"The Book of Virtues" by William J. Bennett

"Chicken Soup for the Soul" by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark

Paul's Site (LeadWithAStory.com)

Hog Heaven (Photographer's Site):


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Douglas Burdett
Douglas Burdett
The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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