What do you do? This is usually one of the questions asked during an initial conversation with someone. Most of us, myself included, tend to state our job description as the answer to this question. But if I just give you my job title have I really answered the question? Just giving you my title assumes that everyone is aware of all that is involved in your area of expertise. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
I experienced this recently when I got in a random conversation at the post office. The line was long, so to break up the boredom, everyone in line started talking to each other. When I was asked “what do you do?” I promptly replied “I am a business coach”. After a few silent moment, I was asked the follow-up question, “What does that mean”? I quickly recognized an opportunity to offer clarity about my core business activities teaching and coaching. When I got home, I started thinking, “What if I hadn’t been asked the follow-up question?” I would have missed an opportunity to explore a new business relationship and convert a stranger into a prospect or a client.
Now I am not one to blow the same opportunity twice. The next time someone asked me “What do you do?” I was going to be ready. Now my answer is consistently some version of “I help entrepreneurs create strategies so they can achieve success on their own terms”. Does it sound like a 15 second commercial? Probably. But it also speaks to who I am at my core. I love to teach and to help others. This answer provides clarity and is also authentic. It also makes it more likely that I will get the all-important follow-up question “How do you do that?”
Before you next networking opportunity, think about how you would answer the question “What do you do?” Make sure your answer is descriptive but also authentic. I have two clients that could answer that question by saying “I enhance the beauty in your life”. One teaches skin care and the other is an interior decorator. But if your answer to “what” can lead to the question of “how” you may be well on your way to developing a strategic business relationship. You have turned a random conversation into a “warm lead”. And “warm” leads beats cold-calling every day of the week.