When I first started talking with sales teams about using stories to sell more effectively, the almost universal reaction was "Yes, stories are a powerful tool, but we're already pretty good at doing this."
However, as I dug into it and observed sales people in action, it became apparent that few were actually using stories. Why was their such a disconnect between something people said was a powerful tool, and actually using it?
What I concluded, after individual and focus group sessions, was that there were two issues at play. First, few people had stories prepared. The heat of the sales discussion is not the time to start creating them.
Secondly, (and this was the big one) there was a surprising level of uncomfortableness in using stories in a business context. Sure, they were comfortable using stories with family and friends, but in a situation in which hard money was at stake, a lot of doubt and uncertainty raised it's head.
All this underscores the importance of both having stories prepared in advance AND having a methodology for developing them.