During this Entreprenurturing Tele-Session, We talked about how to answer the most brutal question in business – what do you do?
Get it right and the conversation will naturally take off. You won’t have to “sell” or “pitch” – people will ask you questions and want to know more. Discover how to craft your answer.
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Entreprenurturing Tele-Session 018 | BIGG Success
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How to Answer the Most Brutal Question in Business
“What do you do?” It’s the most brutal question in business.
Most professionals struggle to answer. They either give a boring answer, which fails to set them apart from their competition. Or they ramble.
Attention spans are shorter than ever. You need to answer in one sentence, a sound bite.
3 characteristics of a sound bite that sells in seconds
- Positions you
Crafted properly, they clearly understand what you do. Avoid complex words, jargon.
- Distinguishes you
It doesn’t need to fully differentiate you. It does need to distinguish you. It should set you apart from your competition, but NOT miles away.
- Naturally arouses curiosity
Done well, you’ll leave the recipient wanting to know more. So they ask you a question – your most desired response. It means they’ve “opted in” (i.e. given you permission to fill in the details).
Then all you have to do is to respond naturally: Answer their question or ask a question back to fine tune your answer.
This is what we call social selling. Conversations create connections. Connections create customers. Customers create cash flow.
The old model was about presentations. The social selling model is about interactions!
You don’t have to sell. Just have conversations that resonate. Then, a connection will form naturally. Build that relationship to gain a customer.
It’s money in the bank – and it comes in the best way possible: You help people you love to serve by doing what you do best so they get what they want.
The sound bite formula
That last sentence hints at the sound bite formula. But here it is explicitly:
“What do you do?”
I help [who] [do what] so they [get what].
- I: This signals you’re answering the question directly.
- Help: You don’t sell. You help. Helpers are heroes!
- Who: Shift the focus from “you” to “who” you serve. It’s “what’s in it for me” (WiiFM) to the recipient.
- 2 Whats: Frame your “do what” as a benefit leading to the BIGG benefit. The BIGG benefit is your “get what.”
Here’s our sound bite:
“In 90 days, we help business owners and professionals build a brand that sells so they achieve personal, professional and financial success.”
Notice: we didn’t exactly follow our own formula!
The suggested formula is: I help [who] [do what] so they [get what].
We put part of our “do what” upfront: “In 90 days…”
The point is: bend the formula if you need to! Just remember – it needs to be clear, distinguish you and arouse curiosity.
Your Who & the 2 Whats
Keep your “who” fairly general. You can clarify later in the conversation.
Our example: “who” is obvious: “business owners and professionals”
- Do what
This is the core of your answer. But note how we distinguish ourselves.
The core is “build a brand”. It resonates with people by itself. But it doesn’t have the same punch without the distinguishing factors: “in 90 days” and “that sells”.
Those two things set us apart. “90 days” is tangible. “That sells” shows bottom-line results without working so hard – your brand sells for you.
- Get what
This is your ultimate benefit. As you think about what you do for people, think about why you do it – from their point-of-view. Remember WiiFM!
What is it they really want? It’s what you really sell. It’s NOT your product or service. It’s what your product or service does for them.
In our case – it’s personal, professional and financial success or life on your own terms, depending on who we’re talking with.
Your sound bite on steroids
Here’s a little secret we’ve learned which makes a BIGG impact:
Don’t wait for people to ask you what you do. Ask them first.
If they ask first, try tossing it back. Example: “Well, before I tell you what I do, I’d really like to hear what you do. Would you mind going first?”
We’ve never known a person to turn down that offer. So now you can listen and learn. You’ll be able to classify them into one of three categories:
- Category 1: Are they your ideal customer?
- Category 2: Do they serve your ideal customer?
- Category 3: Do they know your ideal customer?
None of the above?
You’re making a new friend, but don’t expect it to lead to much business.
Give them your sound bite. If they seem curious, it likely means they know someone who needs your product or service right now.
Since you know what they do, you can customize your answer (if appropriate). Here’s an example, using our sound bite:
We ask, “What do you do?”
“I’m an author,” they reply. “I write non-fiction books about business. What do you do?”
“We help non-fiction authors build a brand that sells more books!” (We say this with a BIGG smile!)
They laugh. And then they start asking us questions!
Of course, they’re often not so concise. They may go on and on and never really say exactly what they do. Here’s how we handle those situations:
Once we’ve got a sense of what they do, we wait for a lull and ask, “So you write books about business?”
[BIGG smile] “Well, we’re so glad we met – because we help business authors build a brand that sells more books!”
Find people who sell to the same people as you. This is one of the most effective, least expensive ways to build your business.
Running with a similar example, let’s say we learn they serve authors. Our conversation may go something like this:
We confirm, “So you work with authors?”
“It’s kinda funny – we work with people who work with authors!”
You’re seeing our style here. It’s light. We like to have fun. And share a laugh.
You’ll have your own style, one which shows your authenticity.
Test, test, test
How will you know if you have a great sound bite? Test. Test. Test.
Ask people in your network what they think of it. Run it by your friends and family. Most importantly, try it out on your ideal customers.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a little time. This is a process. So keep thinking and testing. You’ll find the combination that sells! It leads to BIGG success!