How should you respond when prospects ask you to tell them about your stuff? Most salespeople would get excited by this question, because they would think their prospects were interested in what they have to offer. But the truth is your prospects are really looking for a way to dismiss you. So beware: If you attempt to talk about your stuff at this stage, you’re doomed.

So what should you do? Rather than trying to give a quick overview of your offering, tell them a story. Be prepared to share a real-live customer scenario which you know will appeal to them. (You’ll be much more successful if you’ve practiced this ahead of time.)

When someone asks me to tell them about my training programs, I say “Let me give you an example. I recently helped Cox Media. Like most of my clients, they were struggling with new-client acquisition. Their target market is Fortune 500 companies. Each rep picked one big prospect as a target, and 87 percent succeeded in just 2 months.”

Once your story has piqued your prospect’s interest, conclude with “That’s just one example of what we do. What’s most important is to find out if it makes sense for you to make a change.” Then, proceed to the information-gathering phase of your sales process.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies and Agile Selling. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.