“What do you do, anyway?”
It’s a question we hear all the time. At conferences. New Facebook groups. In our heads at night when we’re trying to reconcile the time investment with slow-to-appear returns. Answering the “what do you do” question can be tough.
By default, it seems, we reach for labels. Titles. Checkboxes to fit a perceived expectation.
Why not find a way to draw in the questioner instead by explaining who we are? The fruit that we produce. The awesomeness that we bring into the world. The hunger or craving that we fill.
When a gardener is ready to plant a seed, he doesn’t plant according to extraneous descriptions about the seed. He doesn’t say, “Pass me a flat, white, oval-shaped seed please.” No. He plants by asking for the fruit he wishes to see. “This hill will be for the winter squash.”
Next time someone asks you, “What do you do?” answer with the purpose you fullfill instead of a bland description. Here are some examples. Problogger: “You know when you visit a business website and it hasn’t been updated in awhile?” Now you’re drawing in the questioner. They automatically put themselves in the situation you’re describing, “Yeah.” “Well, that’s what I do. I make sure new viewers find fresh and interesting content to read and share.”
Boom! Now the person you are talking to has a vivid picture of the fruit of your work. They can clearly visualize what you are saying instead of filling the generic label with whatever they have in THEIR head.
Here’s how you do it –
1. Ask a question that describes the problem you solve or situation you address in a relatable way. “You know how….” or “Have you ever…” type questions are perfect.
2. Invite their response.
3. Define your uniqueness with your statement.
This works for any seed…er, business. Try it. Take something random and potentially boring. Real Estate Agent! First step is to know and understand – what’s your special uniqueness?
Real Estate Agent #1 – Maybe you specialize in really getting to know prospective buyers well and showing them only homes that will perfectly suit them. “You know when you’re trying to buy a new house and you feel like you are looking at a bunch that you’d never consider buying in a hundred years?” “Oh yeah!” “Well I specialize in getting to know buyers so well that I only show them homes they would actually WANT to purchase.”
Real Estate Agent #2 – Or hey, maybe you’re a real estate agent who has a background in interior design. “Have you ever looked at a home and the decor was so awful you couldn’t even think about buying the house?” “Sure!” “Well my background in interior decorating helps me stage homes for my clients on the cheap, so the decor enhances the home instead of being a turn off.”
Same label. The seeds look the same from the outside. Real Estate Agent. Real Estate Agent. But the fruit? So very sweetly unique. Like you. Like me.
Stop showing the world your label and start sharing how you can serve them. (Click to Tweet) It starts with answering the question “What do you do?“