Crafting a polished and focused response to ‘What do you do?’

 Are you able to give a polished answer when someone asks you what you do? Does it roll of your tongue and leaves the listener wanting to know more?

 When I first started out in business, and people enquired about what I did, my answer was, ‘I am a coach’. This was often met with blank expressions and then the response would be ‘‘is that tennis, football, swimming..?’

My business is called ‘Edimo Coaching’ which again doesn’t say a lot about what I do, if you don’t know what coaching is.  And business names as ‘Smith and Associates’ says even less. It does not give the listener any clues as to what services are on offer.

So when someone asks you ‘what do you do’ it is essential to have a well crafted and focused response which tell the listener what you do, how it benefits them and the results they can expect.

 A planned and rehearsed introductory message when meeting new contacts such at networking events, cold calling etc will help to capture the listener’s attention. What comes out of your mouth in that first minute will help your listener to gauge whether he wants to hear more about your business or not.     

When crafting your message consider:

 Who do I work with? Do you have a niche or a particular segment of the market that you work with? Example: small business owners, professionals who have started a new business, new business start-ups…   

What problem does my business solve?  Example: little time to work strategically to grow the business; no plan in place to grow the business; not converting enough sales; not getting paid on time /poor cash flow…

What benefits and value will using my product / service bring? What difference will the client see? Example : grow and expand the business; have a plan with objectives, goals and measurements to work from; get more sales; bring more people to their website; increase staff morale, lower absenteeism… 

How do I differentiate from others? What can you offer that is different? Give them an outstanding reason to want to do business with you rather than Jo Blogs. Example: works with all aspects of your business; a proven system /process; money back guarantee…

When writing your introductory message:

  • Keep it simple, use plain English, avoid jargon and technical language
  • Deliver it with oodles of confidence. Show your enthusiasm, passion and belief in what you do  
  • If like me you work with different customer segments, target your message to match your audience. My opening message to a corporate buyer of leadership coaching will be different to that of small business owners
  • Practice practice, practice your different messages to perfection

Remember to include a call to action – what would you like to happen next? For example: exchange business card, gain permission to send further information, arrange a meeting….

Do you have an introductory message that you would like to share? Are there any tips that you have found useful when crafting or delivering your message? Would love to hear from you…


About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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5 Responses to Crafting a polished and focused response to ‘What do you do?’

  1. Hi Vera, a very interesting post. A lot of it is relevant to promotional material and website copy too – as a copywriter I often find people get caught up in the details of their business and forget to start with what their potential customers are looking for – especially on the home page of their website which is usually the first place people land!
    I chose to call my business Key Words to reflect that with everything I do, words are key, but I introduce myself as running Key Words Copywriting, Journalism and Events. People are sometimes unsure about what copywriting involves, they even confuse it with copyright, so I usually follow it with: “I write copy for websites, marketing material, e-marketing and press releases for people who are too busy to write their own words or have difficulty in standing back from their company to write about it.”
    The events are mostly author events and creative writing, so I normally list the authors I have coming up, which if they are interested in reading will get their interest, and then say if they know of anyone with a novel in their bottom drawer, they might be interested in the creative writing courses.

  2. verawoodhead says:

    Hi Michelle
    Thank you for your comments and sharing your message. It demonstrates well some of the things that I written about.
    A well crafted, focused, rehearsed response to ‘What do you do?’ is applicable to anyone who works and more so for those who are in business.

  3. Elaine says:

    I LOVE Steve Job’s 4 questions – they really get you thinking and get your to have confidence and competence around how you describe what you do!

    Have a great weekend!

    Elaine 🙂

  4. Hi Vera It’s a very timely post as one of my new year items was to get my introductory words! So thank you!
    Here’s what I have so far so yet to be tested and will need to be fine tuned to my audience

    ‘Have you ever wished you had a money magician?

    I solve problems around relationships with money that affects how you:
    • get money
    • keep money
    • use money

    As a money coach I help you to become conscious of the money patterns and beliefs that affect your relationship with money so you are able to:

    Get it …….keep it ……… and use it on things that are most important to you!

    In other words ‘ you become your own money magician’

    Money coaching is different from financial advice or debt advice as it focuses on your relationship with money and builds a bridge from the psychology of money to the practical use of money. I work with people at points of change i.e. divorce or separation, career changers, redundancy, moving into self employment, small business owners.

    Call to Action – dependant on all sorts!

    • verawoodhead says:

      Hello Helen

      Thank you for sharing and love the tag line ‘become your won money magician’. I like the way you have started off with a question as it entices the other person to listen to what you have to say. And then continuing to explain how you would solve that problem helps the other person to understand what you can do for them.

      Would love to hear what feedback you get from using it

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