Whether you’re in inside or outside sales, your job as a salesperson is to sell. You don’t have time to wait until marketing creates case studies, and for the most part you don’t need them.

Case studies have their place: They’re collateral on your website or you may include them in a proposal or leave them behind after a presentation. How many clients do you think read them word for word? Are they nice to have? Yes. To establish credibility and prove you know your stuff? Yes. To close a sale? No.

Prospects and clients want to hear about the results you’ve delivered for other clients. Deliver these insights with compelling stories and examples that you weave into your conversations and you’ll have a winning sales formula.

Telling a story engages your prospects, captures their attention and proves you’re a “real guy,” not someone parroting the company line. After all, anyone can get the basics from your corporate website. The personal connection, the real story is the human element.

Here’s a simple structure for telling a story about other client work:

  1. Situation. What was the challenge or business issue your clients faced?
  2. Action. What did you do?
  3. Result. What was the impact on their business?

Within this framework, you can tell a story in 60 seconds or less, a snapshot of a past success. It’s quick, easy and your sales prospect gets the point. It can be your story or anyone else’s on the sales team. Everyone in your organization has a story to tell.

Your Action Step. Craft at least five stories that are ready to share with a sales prospect or client. As you work with new clients, quickly develop a story using the situation-action-result formula. Get your stories crafted and out the door quickly.

Let marketing work on case studies. You work on closing the sale.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of “No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit www.nomorecoldcalling.com. © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.