One of my favorite TV shows is Seinfeld. It has such classic lines that no matter how many times you see an episode you don’t mind seeing it again. In one episode Elaine, one of the main characters was walking and crying in the rain when she accidentally bumped into J. Peterman, a clothing store owner. He noticed she was wearing one of his jackets and complimented her. He then went on in great detail to describe the jacket at which Elaine said shockingly “How do you know all that”? He replied, “That’s my coat”. Now granted, J. Peterman did have an advantage in his promotion; Elaine already brought his product. But you have to give him credit for how he described his product so well, with ease and much details. She found him interesting enough to go out with him for dinner.
(Watch the 1:44 minute clip here)
Which got me thinking, how many of us can successfully describe what we do, in an interesting way, with unforgettable details, to a stranger? There are so many benefits to being able to do that. The best one I can think of is when people clearly understand what you do, it makes it easy for them to say ‘hey I need your services’ or ‘hey I know someone who needs your services.
Some many people dread the “So what do you do” question but most entrepreneurs miss the great opportunity you have when you’re asked that question. You have an advantage because:
- There’s a warm interest since THEY asked YOU the question.
- It’s a question you can certainly answer. I mean who better to describe what you do than YOU?
- It’s an OPPORTUNITY to promote what you do in a way that is remembered (We’re always looking for opportunities)
So what’s a proven technique you can use to answer the dreaded “So What Do You So” question? Answer With a Problem-Driven Question and Results-Focused Statement.
It can be tricky when someone asks you the ‘So what do you do’ question. In your head, you know what you do, how you do it, and who you’d like to do it for, but sometimes all that gets lost in translation when you’re in front of a stranger. Answering that question with a question gives your brain a chance to pause so you don’t fall into the instinctual answer of saying a title. ‘I’m a Coach’. ‘I’m a Therapist’ ‘I’m a Consultant’ ‘I’m a Web Designer’. While titles may work if you’re looking for a job, they’re not as effective when you’re an entrepreneur. What you do is so much more than a title. Plus when you ask a question it moves the focus from you to the other person for that moment.
Here are a few examples:
- Do you know how sometimes people can get stuck when they’re trying to figure out what their next move should be? I help consultants get unstuck using a proven method that gets them into action.
- Have you or anyone you know ever invested a lot of money in a website that never brought in any new business? I solve the ‘dead website’ problem many small business owners have.
- Have you ever sent out your resume to tons of jobs but you never seem to get any responses? I help job candidates get noticed and called in for interviews.
What are the benefits of answering with this technique:
- It puts the focus on the problem you solve and gives the person a more memorable perspective of you than just saying a title. People have preconceived ideas about a ‘title’ but you give them the ideas of what you do when you state it in a problem-solving way.
- When you include bottom-line results you deliver when answering the question ‘so what do you do’, it encourages the other person to ask ‘well how do you do that?”.
You know the old adage, ‘people do business with people they know, like and trust’. One of the ways that you can increase the chance of being known liked and trusted is by telling your ‘Why’ story. This is the story of why you do what you do. Now don’t confuse this with what you do, that’s where you’re talking about your services and what you offer. Your ‘Why’ story is what made you start your business. What made you leave your previous situation, whether it was a corporate job or another profession, what was the driving factor that made you decide that you wanted to help people in the way that you are doing now.