Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Moth Story Slam. For those who may not be familiar, The Moth is an organization that creates venues for people to listen to, or actually perform, the telling of stories. The three Moth story telling rules: 1) It has to be a personal story (ie, it must have happened to you), 2) it’s true and 3) no notes. You must speak from your knowledge and experience only.

The results are stories often told with a wide range of emotions, pride to shame, love to heartbreak, generosity to jealousy. But the real magic of The Moth, is the connectivity. One person, standing in front of a room full of strangers, with nothing but a microphone on a stand. Hah – and you thought pitching to customers was hard. Point is, connectivity is the common denominator between great speakers and audience. When you connect, you break through, and your message gets heard.

Storytelling can provide some much needed habits in every ad sales. Selling has never been noiser and the battle for online ad dollars is broadening with programmatic choices, the quest for more measurable attribution and ROI, and more. Turnaround time is getting more compressed.

Now, layer on this the increasing number of digital sales folks that have a digital DNA. Today’s 20-something sales folk are products of the digital age, with many of them having a phone in their hands practically since middle school. Even today’s “veteran” sales folks (30-45) have been weaned on email and later social media since their first job. And what will this sales landscape look like in another 5-7 years when the new-to-the-workforce sales force will have lived around smartphones, tablets along with texting, Instagram, SnapChat, Tinder, and Facebook – since they were toddlers?

The new perfect storm of selling challenges is the need to make personal connections with your customers in the backdrop of what is an increasingly digital social framework. No one disagrees that sales executives that can form dependable, likeable and knowledgeable relationships with their buyers, generally are more successful. This has been true since analog ad sales days, and yes, getting the time for more personal interaction with your buyers has always been hard. But take heart. At a recent ad tech conference a veteran digital media buying executive shared with me: “I love to listen to good sales people”. When I asked him to define “good” he replied, “You know, smart, interesting, confident”. And not surprisingly, these qualities are best conveyed through compelling dialog and story selling.

Personal relationships happen when connections get made. Work on your story selling. Story selling doesn’t mean longwinded (The Moth speakers get 5-6 minutes maximum), but it doesn’t mean you’re running a drag race either. Rather, it’s the structure that allows you to build your messages in an arc, and then bring home the key closing points. Don’t dive right in for the close (“here’s why we’re great”), but don’t waste their time with excessive background either. Try to re imagine your selling message under the backdrop of a Moth speaker with 6 minutes and a microphone: make it real, make it interesting, make it compelling.

Finally, story selling is not always about your product or service. You can make connections in talking about your weekend, or your recent trip, or even better, something of common interest between you and your customer. The bottom line is tell a story and make a connection. Make a connection and you’ll be remembered. Make a positive, compelling connection, and you’ll be invited back.