Cracking the “What Do You Do?” Question

by | Communication

So many people struggle with the dreaded question, “What Do You Do?”. It seems to be a big challenge for most people to answer in a succinct, relaxed, and effective way. You need to have a prepared response that doesn’t feel canned and rehearsed. You need a solid Elevator Pitch essentially.

One of the most important aspects of creating your elevator pitch is determining your point of difference. After all, if you want people to get excited and buy your products or services, your message needs to stand apart.

So how do you determine what truly makes you different?
I make differentiation simple.

In my Marketing Influential Communications course, you determine what specifically makes YOU and YOUR BUSINESS different. When creating your differentiation, you must consider what you actually deliver and commit to delivering in your business. When developing your differentiation in the marketplace, you need to focus on five specific aspects of your business:

  • Your Target Audiences (WHO you want as your customers)
  • Your Business Offering (WHAT you sell)
  • Your Internal Distinction (HOW you sell or provide it)
  • And Your Key Connector (WHY you do what you do)
  • Your Customer Results (What changed from being your customer)

All these distinctions together create a competitive advantage. Below we look at three of them…

Creating Your Business Offering Distinction

Your business offering simply means the services or products you intend to sell with your business. Many businesses make the error of not focusing on what they do best, and try to stretch their product or service offering, based on customer requests. This is a dangerous approach, as often it puts the customer in the driver’s seat. This can result in you not delivering your best skills /products, excessive operating costs, or adapting your business offering to meet customers’ requests.

To truly determine your business offering, you need to look at your expertise and your product/service suite. Simply outline for yourself what you sell. If you have been in business for a while, you will want to look at your financial results and see what is most profitable and consistent in sales for your business.

Defining Your Internal Distinction

Customers crave uniqueness. The most successful companies leverage their internal distinction to attract customers, employees, and investors. The companies who are succeeding today, are sharing and emphasizing the factors that make their business unique. And more importantly, customers yearn for this information and want more transparency from the businesses they choose.

Your Internal Distinction is unique to you and your team.

Your Internal Distinction is your business way of being. To determine your Internal Distinction, you need to examine aspects of your business that involve your leadership, values, culture, team, business manner and approach, work style, structure, and business commitments. Look at your business from the perspective of your leadership and team.

If you are a sole proprietor look at your suppliers who interface with your business. These people see how you work and your way of being in business. They can clearly distinguish what makes you different, what makes you and your business stand apart, so simply ask them.

Determining Your Key Connector Distinction

One of the most important elements to successfully marketing your business is to first define WHY you are in business in the first place. Obviously, as a business owner, you want to make money, that aside, why else did you start your business? Were you like me and wanted more challenge, more flexibility, more impact?

To position you distinctly in the marketplace, you need to examine your business motivations. What motivates you in business, also motivates you in life. This motivator is at the heart of your business and is what draws people to become your customers.

This business motivator, I call the “Key Connector” and it is the most critical element of effective sales pitch and marketing messaging for your business. Your “Key Connector” shows up in all aspects of your life. It is typically related to what you have been told you cannot do, or something that you do extraordinarily well, consistently.

Once you examine and embrace your “Key Connector”, this can set you apart in the industry. It propels you to become an industry leader with little effort. Your Key Connector acts as a continual line of reference (checkpoint) for you to frame your business, team, projects, sales, and marketing efforts.

To boost your competitive advantage, you must identify your three distinctions – your business offering, internal distinction, and key connector and start using these in your marketing messaging. By going through this exercise, you take a big step towards understanding who you are, why you are different, and why customers will buy from you. This is very important in developing your marketing messaging successfully. Read through my BLOG for valuable how-to information or enroll in the Marketing Influential Communications course and complete your messaging within a few hours! I wish you tons of success with your business!


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I'm Sandy Gerber

Communications strategist, Chief Marketing Officer, Entrepreneur, Author, TEDx and Keynote Speaker. Sandy Gerber is the creator of the Emotional Magnetism™ Communication Technique.