You have probably been asked this question dozens of times: “So, what do you do?” This question usually surfaces during the initial conversation with a new acquaintance. Surprisingly, few people know how to respond to this question appropriately; you want to introduce your product or service in a way that builds your network, without appearing overly aggressive or desperate.
Often enough, the response is given without much thought. You may reply briefly: “I am an attorney,” or “I am in sales.” I’ve also seen people stumble as they answer, as if they weren’t sure themselves what it is they do.
On the other hand, those people that walk away from a social event, networking function, or trade show with a list of new contacts are the ones who have spent time to prepare an opening statement and an intelligent response to this question.
Developing Your Laser Introduction
Here are techniques to assist you in opening up a conversation and new opportunities to increase your network and client base; all will leave a lasting impression.
The Laser Introduction: I recently asked one of my clients, a consultant, to describe her services. She said, “I help my clients with their business.” When I asked her to explain in one sentence the benefits her clients realize or the end result they experience after using her services, she had a hard time finding the words. When creating your laser introduction, begin by focusing on the service you provide to your clients. How do you describe the product or service that you provide? You could opt for something generic, as my client above did; however, you will have a greater impact by delivering a message that will spark further interest in the person with whom you are speaking.
After all, the term laser describes a “devise that emits a highly focused beam of light.” An introduction is your chance to develop your own focused beam of prospecting brilliance that illuminates, clarifies, and brings to life every networking or prospecting opportunity you meet.
When creating a laser introduction, you should begin by identifying some of your client’s challenges or the common problems that they experience. Then, describe how your product or service provides solutions to and handles these challenges. Provide one or two key points; include benefits, value propositions, or compelling reasons as they relate to how your product or service solves these problems.
For example, if you are a sales trainer or consultant, here’s what a dialogue between you and a potential prospect might sound like:
Prospect: “So what do you do?”
You: “Well, you know how some sales teams experience high turnover and struggle to meet their sales goals and find new prospects, which ends up costing the company time and money?”
Prospect: “Yes. I’m actually going through that myself with my company.”
Note to reader: Allow the person to respond, this demonstrates your attention and interest in what they have to say.
You: “Well, what I do is help businesses improve their bottom line and bring in more sales by directing their salespeople to more targeted, qualified prospects.”
Prospect: “Hmm. That’s interesting. So, how do you actually do that?”
It is important to note that I did not tell them what I sell or specify how I achieve these results. I simply shared with them the end results of my business.
Using this approach, you not only clarify your results, but you open the door for continued discussion on similar challenges faced by the prospect, their company, or their clients.
You may want to develop a few different laser introductions that you can apply based on the person with whom you are speaking, their specific business or position, and any timely issues or concerns that they are encountering in their profession or industry.
Notice their response: “So how do you do that?” If you get a similar response from using your introduction, then let that be a testament to your fabulous networking abilities. Your laser introduction is working perfectly. Once you hear a response like this, you can share with them the process for achieving your results or even begin a “light” needs analysis right on the spot.
If you have established that the person you’ve met is not a viable candidate for your product, consider that they may know other people who are. After delivering your laser introduction, if you find that they do not qualify as a prospect, then simply respond with another question. One that I’ve seen trainers, coaches, and consultants use is, “Who do you know who might be interested in doing things better, reaching bigger goals, making more money, and reducing their stress level, while enjoying their life and keeping it in balance?”
Making the Phone Ring
At the end of a conversation with a potential prospect, a salesperson will often hand out a business card and then wait for the phone to ring. However, by doing so, you place the responsibility for contact on the other person. If you hand out 100 business cards, think about how many people actually call you. Chances are, not many.
Instead of waiting around for these potential clients to find your business card and call, take on the responsibility of getting in touch with them. Doing so will give you the opportunity to contact every connection you make, instead of waiting for the phone to ring.
When asked for your business card, hand it to them and add, “You know, it’s sometimes difficult to contact me since I am often out of the office or on the phone working with my clients. Let me have your phone number and a good time to get in touch with you so that I can make myself available to your schedule.”
Spend time putting together a laser introduction that works for you, then try it out at your next chamber mixer or tradeshow. You will notice people taking a greater interest in what you do, while spending less effort generating new clients.
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach
Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behavior, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country.
If you’re ready for better results quickly, contact Keith about personal or team coaching and training at 1-888-262-2450 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Keith Rosen online at Profit Builders and be sure to sign up for his free newsletter The Winners Path.