From the March 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

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.