Let’s face it. When someone asks you to describe what you do for a living, it’s easy to default to the answer you always use. You give your title, category, or where you work. Maybe you answer in the language of “your people,” and we have no idea what you’re saying. These are costly mistakes.
“I’m a consultant.” “I’m the CEO of Lifelong Industries.” “I work for GE.” “I work at the bakery downtown.”
Not much for us to say after hearing those answers. “Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.”
Take a look at these industry-only answers.
1) “I have just completed an intensive study into how lithotripsy can be better administered in a way that maximizes utilization and can be more cost-effective.”
2) “I am able to unblock, balance, and align your chakras so that the energy of the Universe is now available to you and you will enhance your mind/body connection.”
#1 Now, if you are in health care you will know that a lithotripter is used to smash kidney tones using shock waves. But, for everyone else, this answer is a real head scratcher.
As for #2, if you are someone who studies spiritual healing, you will completely understand chakras and the rest. But, not everyone will get it.
Do you really want to grow you business? Seriously. Because when you get asked what you do, and you answer with this kind of lingo, most of us won’t have a clue what you’re saying. And that affects your bottom line. If we can’t understand or relate to what you do, why should we do business with you? We won’t.
Please keep this in mind. The question: “What do you do?” comes up all the time and it’s a potential trap. The person asking really doesn’t care what YOU do. They want to hear what you can do for Them.
If you work at that bakery downtown, why not answer with something like: “I focus on the wow factor. If you want to impress your family, friends and colleagues at your next party, you got to check out Carol’s Savory Bakery downtown. Delicious solutions are our specialty.”
Do you hear the difference? Before you you get hit with THAT question – What do you do? – take a moment. Think about what that person needs to hear you say. In those next few seconds you have the chance to make a connection that could do wonders for your business.
Some food for thought!
Mary Jane McKittrick is a Messaging Expert and professional story-teller who specializes in the art of the pitch. As a Consultant, Mary Jane inspires and empowers business professionals to craft messaging that gets measurable results. Mary Jane is a former TV News Anchor, Reporter, and Producer for 3 network affiliate stations. She has worked behind the camera in Entertainment TV, and as on-camera host of 2 nationally syndicated TV shows. Ms. McKittrick was in charge of overseeing communications for 5 statewide offices while serving as Director of Corporate Communications for a large healthcare company in North Carolina.