How to spark interest when asked “What do you do?”

How do you spark interest when asked "What do you do?"

Do you wish you had a better way to answer the question: : “So what does your business do?”

You might be attending a networking event.  Or a family dinner with distant cousins and relatives.  Or a power house conference where you are meeting dozens of people over a few days.

  • How do you stand out?
  • How do you capture their attention so they want to know more?

Most people tend to introduce themselves based on what they do.  It’s a default in our society to give your name and job title.  The problem is that it doesn’t tell the listener what makes you stand out.  There is no way to differentiate between you and others who offer the same service.

If you introduce yourself with your title, the listener is likely to lump you into a box.  Tell them you are a graphic designer and they think of the last two people that they met who are designers.  Even though your skills are different. Talk about your web design business and they visualize the last web designer who didn’t finish the project.  Share that you are a coach or some new fancy category and they will often give you a blank stare.

So don’t start with your title.  Answer this question instead:

What transformation does your service make on your customer’s lives?

Yes, don’t even bother to tell them what you DO on your opening.  People zone out once you start talking process.  Even though I know it’s what you enjoy the most.  Don’t start out with that first. Just dive into the story about why your service makes a difference.

Here is an example of what I mean:

I’m Malla and I’m a Small Business Coach

Yawn.  The person has no idea what a coach does.  And this flat opener doesn’t leave them the desire to learn more.    

I’m Malla and I help people kickstart their potential in their businesses.  My last three clients gained confidence in promoting their business, identified new opportunities for revenue and tested a new marketing strategy without feeling stranded when they ran into some initial challenges.   Ohhh…I like that!  Tell me more.

How do you do that?

Think about your last three clients.  What is the story of what happened after they worked with you?  Think about their before and after story.  What transformed for them?  What shifted because they worked with you?  What had them dancing for joy and wanting to pay your invoice?

Yes, I said.  Dancing for joy when you sent the invoice.

I had this happen recently with one of the vendors that helps my business.   They saved me several hours of research time on a finance question I had.  They sent me a solution that worked.  So I had no qualms about paying the bill.  Do I care about their process?  Am I wanting to hear the list of websites and people they called to do their research.  Nope.  I just wanted to my one answer.  And they delivered.

If you can, reach out to your clients and ask them.  Don’t spend too much time on the surface stuff  – ie – “I really like you” and “You were great to work with”.  Find out what they would tell their friends and other third parties.  How did you save them time, money,  or make their lives easier?  Ask them to replay stories about how it felt for them at the end of working with you.

If you start your introductions with the stories – you will be captivating to others.  Even if they don’t want your service, they will want to hear more.  And that’s the ticket to staying top of mind.  And getting referrals.

Need help to share with your opening?  After you gather your stories, connect with a business coach, communications coach and/or mentor.  They can help you connect the dots and get your intros to roll off your tongue.

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