Make It Snappy

Use an elevator speech to captivate customers.
This story first appeared in the March 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Your reps need an elevator speech-a 15- to 30-second sales sound bite that succinctly communicates your company's offerings. Dianna Booher, author of Speak With Confidence, offers these guidelines:

  • State what you do in terms of benefits. People don't really care what you do--they care what you can do for them. A rep for a sales-consulting company might say, "We help salespeople really engage buyers when they deliver sales presentations." This causes listeners to say, "Oh, yeah? We have problems with that."
  • Add a credibility builder. Mentioning well-known clients shows that others value your services. A marketer could reference a high-profile project by saying, "We just wrapped a big web campaign for XYZ Co. that boosted sales by 20 per-cent in the third quarter."
  • End with an open question to engage the other person. A rep pitching an event-planning company might ask, "How could your last event have been improved?"
  • Be quotable. Make the speech memorable enough to be passed along to others who might be interested.
  • Deliver your speech off the cuff. Instruct reps to talk as an advisor or a friend, rather than as a salesperson.
  • Skip industry jargon. A rep should sound like he's talking to his brother, not to a prospective boss.
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