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Marketing &Networking Sydni Craig-Hart on 12 Mar 2010 09:32 am

How To Answer “What do you do?”

When you’re out networking or talking to your family and they ask you, “What do you do?” or “What is your business all about?” what do you say?

Do you freeze?  Stammer?

Or do you apologetically and quietly say, “I’m a VA or I’m a Virtual Assistant.”

And then, you get the blank stare.  You know, the deer in the headlights look that says, “I have no idea what that is.  I still don’t know what you do.  And I don’t think I need that.”

The truth is, saying you are a Virtual Assistant doesn’t mean anything because people still don’t know what you do.  Just like there are different types of lawyers, there are different types of VA’s.  All have different specialties, expertise and knowledge.

So what you need to do, is really focus on a descriptive one liner that tells people exactly what you do.  For example, “I help real estate agents manage their tasks so they can focus on selling properties.”

By having a descriptive sentence like this, you’ve accomplished 3 things:

  1. You’ve identified your target market:  real estate agents
  2. You’ve described what you do and show that you solve a problem:  manage tasks so they can focus on selling properties
  3. You’ve opened the conversation for more questions about what you do.  Targeted questions that will allow you to showcase your expertise.

Whether you work online or offline, one of the keys to your success and having a full practice is networking.  In order to network effectively you have to do two things really well:  1) you have to build relationships so that others feel comfortable talking to you and referring your services to their friends, family and colleagues, and 2) you have to market yourself so that people know who you are and what you do – without questions or hesitations.

So, now that you know you shouldn’t just tell people you are a Virtual Assistant- you need to work on your presentation.  Some people call it an elevator speech, others call it a 30 second intro.  Whatever you call it – make sure it’s descriptive, make sure it’s effective and make sure it’s easy to say.  Talk about the problems you solve and the pain you eliminate in a way that a young child would understand.  (What would you say if your child asked you , “Mommy, what do you do?”  When something is easy to say, it rolls off your tongue and you don’t worry about it.  You exude confidence, which tells people you’re ready for business.

And THAT is highly client attractive!

Assignment for This Week:

  1. Get clear on EXACTLY who will best benefit from your services and who you are meant to serve.
  2. Brainstorm about the benefits and results your clients enjoy when working with you.
  3. Combine these two points into ONE succinct sentence: I help [GROUP] [ACCOMPLISH SPECIFIC BENEFITS & RESULTS]
  4. Visit this post and share what you came up with with

I look forward to hearing from you!

9 Responses to “How To Answer “What do you do?””

  1. on 12 Mar 2010 at 5:43 pm 1.Barbara Rappaport said …

    Thank you so much for this article. You nailed it. Trying to describe what I do has been the hardest part of developing business. And yes, I get those deer in the headlights stares! Will try the assignment

  2. on 12 Mar 2010 at 10:40 pm 2.Sydni Craig-Hart said …

    Thanks for the feedback Barbara! I’m so glad you found the article helpful and look forward to hearing about how the suggestions worked for you!

    Warm regards,


  3. on 13 Mar 2010 at 6:38 am 3.Linda Clark said …

    I work as a partner with small business owners, providing them administrative solutions so they have more time to do what they do best and that is growing their own business.

    Sydni, this is an opener only and based on the receivers response, I would go on to explain that all small business owners have an “A” list of higher level responsibilities, and I plan on asking who handles their “B” and “C” list. Example from a networking event…”have you ever wondered who takes care of all the business cards you receive today?” I can put them into a contact management database for you, set up a response system and catch the responses that come in.

    I will delve more into the results of this method after I attend a Chamber of Commerce event next Tuesday.

  4. on 13 Mar 2010 at 4:19 pm 4.Collette Schultz said …

    To help myself get a clear picture how I was going to answer this I had someone do an interview with me explaining virtual subcontracting. It’s nice because the recording is there for people to listen to and it gave me the big picture of how I sound when explaining it.

  5. on 16 Mar 2010 at 6:57 pm 5.Sydni Craig-Hart said …

    Linda! This is brilliant…I love it! Especially that you asked…”who takes care of all of the business cards you receive today?”! That’s a great way to show how a business owner needs help with their admin work. Way to go! Keep us posted on how you make out. 🙂

  6. on 14 Apr 2010 at 3:50 am 6.Janet Barclay said …

    I help professional organizers and other home-based business owners to enhance their online presence by creating and maintaining their websites, blogs, and social networking profiles.

  7. on 28 Apr 2010 at 7:41 pm 7.Sydni Craig-Hart said …

    I love your “who and do what” statement Janet! What kind of response have you gotten when you’ve used it?

  8. on 30 Apr 2010 at 8:56 am 8.Janet Barclay said …

    It varies… sometimes I hear “people actually pay you to do that?” and other times it’s “we need to talk!” 🙂

  9. on 19 May 2010 at 5:20 pm 9.Sydni Craig-Hart said …

    Thanks for the note Janet! I’m glad to hear that you’re implementing this in your business. Focusing on the benefits/results your audience is looking for is key to having them “connect” the dots between you and their problems. 🙂

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