SIMPLE SALES SERIES
Still The Decision Model
You’re at a party, a social. Someone walks up. You introduce yourselves. She offers her card and asks, “What do you do?”
The rest of the conversation and possible future business hinges on how you answer that question. Before you start consider the outcome you’re going for.
Many folks would tell you this is the time for your “elevator pitch.” I suggest that term might not be the best way to look at a relationship. Why don’t we say that an authentic conversation is our goal? After all, if you’re looking for potential clients, we want to know them well and for them to know us too.
Let’s look at how we might talk about ourselves without getting caught in that self-promotional loop.
Three Steps to an Intriguing Answer to “What Do You Do?”
Marketing and self-promotion are only difficult when we’re not inside what we’re talking about. When we’re fully-expressed in what we’re saying, the words come out as if we’re talking over a kitchen table to a close friend. So how do we get to the answer that is ourselves fully expressed, that says what we do?
It takes these three steps.
- First Define It. Pull all of the ideas your message needs to communicate into a one sentence. Your ideas should include: your customer, the problem you solve, your unique approach or service, and should reflect your most powerful skill. Let that sentence sit for a few days.
My first try was something like this: I spark discussions that get thinking businesses to engage their customers in beneficial conversation. (I know. I know.)
- Then Refine It. Return to the sentence edit it down to shortest most conversational form. Consider the sound and meaning of each individual word. Use the simpler words when you can. Avoid buzz words and don’t try to say everything that you do — leave a little room for your listener’s imagination. When you’re happy with it, let the sentence rest again. If you get frustrated, leave the task and go back later. Take your time.
I refined it to: I teach businesses how to turn strangers into fiercely loyal customer-friends.
Hint: You’ll know that you’re at a good one when you can hear someone replying, “How do you do that?” After all the goal we established was to get a conversation started.
- Then Make It Part of You. When you’re sure it’s done, practice saying the sentence until it rolls off your tongue. Keep practicing your answer until it becomes as easy as saying your name.
Everytime you say the sentence in answer to the question “What do you do?” listen and watch the response. Use that feedback to adapt it even more.
The idea is to have the answer inside and thought through before the question comes up. Then the self-conscious blues won’t get in the way of you being able to show your best thinking and skills to someone new.
Try on a few answers, if you’re not sure. Having a handful is better than being caught out without one.
What do you say when someone asks you, “What do you do?”
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss’ Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.