The Best Way to Answer “What Do You Do?”

Starting your own business can be exhilarating. I remember the excitement when I launched my coaching business. With a coaching certification, proven results, and eleven years of sales and sales leadership experience under my belt, I thought I had a massive advantage. I believed I knew exactly how to sell my services. But the reality? I struggled to sell myself. My initial optimism quickly turned to pessimism, and my self-belief plummeted. I was left wondering what I was doing wrong.

The Common Entrepreneurial Mistake

What I realize now, as I work with entrepreneurs, coaches, and sales professionals, is that many of them make a similar mistake to what I did. The mistake was trying to promote myself. When you focus on yourself rather than the customer, you create a barrier that causes them to tune out your message. Customers are primarily interested in how a product or service benefits them, not in the salesperson’s personal achievements or stories. By emphasizing yourself, you risk making the customer feel unheard and unimportant, potentially leading to disinterest or even resentment. Furthermore, focusing on yourself can result in the customer not understanding what you’re selling, causing them to disengage entirely.

No matter what you’re selling, you can’t make it about you. All the focus has to be on the client, not yourself.

The Shift from Self-Promotion to Solution Promotion

This changed for me when I was listening to a random podcast—I can’t remember which one—and the guest said, “I used to have a huge problem when it came to promoting myself, so I started to promote the solution.” He continued, “Don’t promote yourself, promote the solution.”

Applying the Solution-Oriented Approach

How does this apply to you? What do you say when people ask you, “What do you do?” Many people respond with, “I’m an attorney,” “I sell solar panels,” “I am a CPA,” or “I’m a coach.” All of those answers are promoting self. Instead, try to answer with this framework:

When someone asks, “What do you do?” say:

“You know how ________________ (fill in the blank with a problem).”

Here are some examples:

  • “You know how salespeople give a proposal and then the client disappears?”
  • “You know how leaders sometimes have a problem retaining good people?”
  • “You know how some companies are overpaying on their taxes?”
  • “You know how some people post online but don’t get any views or engagement?”

I’m sure you can find a problem statement that you help solve. When they nod their head or respond with “yes,” you say, “I help eliminate that.” That’s when they can connect with you and relate to your offering. This makes you memorable and clearly illustrates the problem you solve. If they are currently facing that problem or know someone who is, your chances of initiating a sales conversation significantly increase!

A Final Word

Ok, my friend, I wish you an amazing rest of the weekend. If you decide to implement this, definitely shoot me an email and let me know how it worked!

P.S. I have some incredible, FREE tools to help you grow your business in our Arsenal. Feel free to check it out here: Relentless Goal Achievers Arsenal.

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