How To Get The Most Out Of The Question – What Do You Do?

Written by Alex Navas

Alex is the Founder of the Christian Business Academy and is a business growth coach who helps clients accelerate their revenue and business growth without compromising their faith and family lives.

It never fails. You go to a networking event or you meet someone casually and introduce yourself. Then the obvious questions comes up; “What do you do?”. There’s pretty much no escaping this question. It’s like a script that we’ve all been secretly given that comes so naturally that we don’t think about it before it pours out of our mouths.

While we’ve all become accustomed to hearing the question, strangely, most entrepreneurs (whether they’re christian businesses or not) get stuck with how to effectively answer this seemingly simple question.

So what do we do when we hear this? For the unprepared, it goes something like this:

Carla: Good to meet you John.

John: Same to you Carla. So, what do you do?

Carla: (contemplating her answer, especially if she has multiple business ventures) Well, I, um, I’m a dog trainer. I’m also a bookkeeper.

John: Oh, that sounds cool.

BAM – John is suddenly disconnected mentally and most likely physically. 

But why?

First, if this is a networking event, he’s looking for business leads and contacts and his first impression was most likely that you’re in multiple businesses so are probably just starting out or haven’t taken the business seriously. While one may be a full time thriving business and the other may be something you enjoy doing, it’s the first impression so you don’t have the opportunity to explain your motives or reasons. First impressions matter.

The other reason he’s disconnected is because stating our position doesn’t extend the conversation or what I call “baiting” the conversation. This is where you say something that draws someone in deeper into the conversation where they become interested in knowing more without you trying to force their interest. You’re laying the Conversation Bait and see if they’ll catch.

Before properly structuring your answer though, you have to realize the environment you’re in. If you’re at an informal environment, then you can choose which of your “businesses” you’d like to introduce yourself with if you do have more than one. Don’t ever start with more than one thing though so you don’t appear like a rookie. When the conversation expands and the moment arrises, you can definitely bring in your other interests.

If you only have one business and you’re at a business event, then you don’t have to select what you’ll share, you just need to focus on how to communicate what you do.

The first step is to realize that the question really isn’t about you. They’re asking what you do but are really wanting to know “what can you do for me”. That changes things because it removes the need to use “I am”, “We do”, etc. Remember, it’s not about us.

Since it’s not about us, you should say who it is about or who are the people you serve. When you tell people who you serve, they begin to search in their minds people who fit that description; themselves or others they know.

Don’t believe me? Try it. Teacher

Did your mind start searching for a teacher you know? I’m pretty sure you did.

The next step is to focus on the results people get from what you do. In other words, communicate what you do in terms of the benefits people get from you.

Let’s put this in practice. Here’s what the above conversation may sound like using these tips.

Carla: Good to meet you John.

John: Same to you Carla. So, what do you do?

Carla: I help busy professionals (the who) save valuable time (the benefit) by walking their dogs (what you do) so they can start their day more productive (the benefit) knowing that their dog is well taken care of.

John: That sounds great. How do you do that?

Now you have their attention.

You set up the Conversation Bait, they connected and related and now you have an opportunity to take the conversation further.

Now it’s your turn to create your Conversation Bait you can use when you’re asked “What do you do”

What do you do?

I help _______________ (who) _______________  (benefit) by _______________ (what you do) so they can _______________ (benefit).

Pretty simple huh? It may take you a couple minutes but doing this will elevate your engagement next time someone asks you this question.

Here’s my Conversation Bait:

I help Christian entrepreneurs and business owners create more profitable and purposeful businesses by providing them with proven marketing strategies so they can get more customers and clients, save more time and cut their advertising costs.

Now it’s your turn. Take 3 minutes and post your Conversation Bait below. Keep it simple while following the short format. I think you’ll love what you come up with.

POST BELOW AND I’LL GIVE YOU FEEDBACK HERE

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32 Comments

  1. Lady E

    Awesome article!

    I help individuals and families save, manage, and earn more money by empowering them with the tools to become debt-free.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Well done. Short, sweet and concise. Save, manage and earn more money gets right to the point.

      As I mentioned to Ayeshia, can you go deeper than “individuals”? Who are these individuals? I’m sure you can serve everyone but who are you most excited to work with?

      I would also add at the end what being debt-free would do for them…

      …become debt-free so they can work less and have more quality family time.
      …become debt-free so they can eliminate the stress in their lives and do more of what they love.

      What’s the end result they actually want?

      Wonderful job!

      Reply
      • Lady E

        Thanks for the tips Alex! You’ve given me alot to think about 🙂

        Reply
        • AlexNavas

          Awesome. Glad you found it valuable.

          Reply
  2. AYESHIA DURU

    I help individuals desiring better health reach their wellness goals by coaching them in the areas of eating well, supplementation and exercise so they can reduce our eliminate the need for prescription medication and improve their overall quality of life.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      That’s great Ayeshia. I like how you said they were desiring better health and that you show them how to do it through eating well and exercise. Also, reduce or eliminate prescription medication is very powerful because it’s a very real thing people suffer from.

      A couple clarifying questions and thoughts:

      Is there a way you can further define your audience to target them more precisely rather than the broad term individuals? Are they retired women, college students, work at home moms, middle aged couples?

      Also, be careful not to use professional words that make sense to us and not to the people we serve. Since I’m not in your business, I may not understand what you mean when you say things like supplementation, wellness goals, and overall quality of life. These are probably not terms that your prospects use in their every day vocabulary so it’s up to us to use their language, not ours.

      You’re off to a great start. Congrats on putting in the effort to get your Conversation Bait ready.

      Reply
    • AYESHIA DURU

      I help anyone with health issues improve their overall quality of life by coaching them in the areas eating well and nutrient supplementation  so they can reduce or eliminate the need for prescription medication.

      Reply
      • AlexNavas

        Awesome Ayeshia. Now to put it to use.

        Reply
  3. Octavia

    I love this! Great information. So If I do more than one thing… should I just create a few of these depending on where I am and who I’m speaking with? Also what if the moment of introduction calls for multiple gifts to be outlined…?

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Yes Octavia, you can have as many as necessary to communicate your message effectively. Then you pull out the right tool for the job.

      You can certainly introduce multiple things if the situation arises, however, I would say most of the time the conversation will end up there rather than having to use them all up front. Keep it focused and then the conversation opens up to get to know each other beyond the introduction. That’s where your gifts truly shine.

      Reply
  4. Donna Marie Johnson

    I am Donna Marie Johnson. I help your future patients, clients and customers find you more easily online and connect with the gift God has made you for easing or ending their pain or troubles and increasing their health and wellness.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Great to see you here Donna.

      You have some great stuff in here. It looks like you are showing the benefits of their clients, customers and patients, not their own. How can you restructure it so the benefits are about the person you’re directly speaking to?

      Reply
      • Donna Marie Johnson

        I help health and wellness leaders save time and make more money by helping you connect with more of the folks you are called to serve. … good stuff, Alex. Thank you!

        Reply
        • AlexNavas

          Love it Donna. If you get around to it, just finish it with “so that they…” with the benefit. Otherwise, perfect.

          Reply
  5. turnerl

    Thank you for this!

    I help businesses gain their customers loyalty and trust by solving their problems in an effort to build a better relationship with the customer.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      What kind of problems do you solve? Lack of cash flow, overworked staff? Try getting a little more specific on the problems you help them solve. If there’s several problems you solve, narrow it down to the top 2. When the conversation opens up, you can introduce the other things you help with.

      Excellent start.

      Reply
  6. David Mair

    At Soter Healthcare, we nurture medical miracles for families around the world.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Hey David, thanks for commenting. How would it sound if you used the Conversation Bait formula I shared in the post?

      Reply
  7. Stephanie LH Calahan

    Awesome post Alex. I have read many posts on this topic over the years and I love that you gave the communication business case for why someone would want to change what they say in conversations.

    I help purpose-driven solopreneurs (coaches, holistic health practitioners, authors, speakers, and other amazing visionaries) create ease and more profit and purpose in their businesses by providing them with proven visibility and business optimization strategies so they can unleash their brilliance, live fully, experience their truth, serve with impact and prosper everyday.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Stephanie, thanks for contributing. Wow, wonderful answer.

      Here’s a question for you that I often ask myself in my communication.

      Do your customers describe the challenges and desires in these terms? (I want to unleash my brilliance or I have to experience my truth)

      I find that as entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants, we use words for things that some or most of our clients don’t use in their internal dialog. If your clients use them, perfect. If not, what would be the core desires they have beneath those terms.

      Reply
    • Donna Marie Johnson

      I was so blessed to see Steph chiming in, too. She has made an impact on my life. The part of her statement that resonates most with me is “create ease and more profit and purpose”. Alex, aren’t you in Chicago? Have you and Steph ever met (she’s in Bloomington-Normal)?

      Reply
      • AlexNavas

        Stephanie is certainly a great mentor to have close at hand. I am in Chicago, although Stephanie isn’t in Illinois anymore last time we spoke.

        Reply
  8. JesusRx (Eva Popek)

    I totally related with the 2 job thing. I am a fairly new realtor and did that to help my husband as wanted to do that, but new he had to keep his full time job since I stopped working as a pharmacist to do JesusRx. Many networking places have realtors there already, but non has a Jesus Rx person (believe it or not some groups told the people inviting me I couldn’t come because Jesus might offend people) It’s a gift product for goodness sakes. Anyway when at networking my name tag says JesusRx and people are always curious what that is . I tell them I help people by dispensing the best medication depending on life,s circumstance. I started carrying one in my purse to show them, it’s easier that way. I let them know I also help my husband with real estate and we love getting these medications in medicine chests in homes. I have a brochure on me if they want it or a business card.

    We are just adding workbooks, so I will now let them know they can start a small group and I will be available to facilitate working through the 30 day program.

    I really need to work on remembering peoples names, because they remember me when I see them somewhere but I haven’t been doing such a great job remembering their name! I hate when that happens!! (tips on that will be helpful)

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Thanks for sharing Eva. As someone who doesn’t know what JesusRX is, the Conversation Bait formula would do wonders for you because rather than leading the introduction with a brand or product, it starts the conversation in a way that revolves around the other person and not you and your business. There’s a lot of power in making people feel understood upon the first impression which is done through listening more than speaking.

      Reply
  9. JesusRx (Eva Popek)

    Being a pharmacist I help people get the best medications for life. It’s 30 days dose of God’s word depending on life circumstances. My pharmacy is called Jesus Rx because he is the prescription for life. True health is about one’s physical, spiritual and mental health and I we are excited to see some people be able to decrease their prescription medication or other substance use.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Ok, now I understand what JesusRX means 🙂

      Can you try to put what you do into the formula above?

      1. Who do you really help? While you may be able to help everyone taking medications, who are you truly interested in helping? Who is your ideal clients/customer/patient?
      2. How do you help them? It’s not about the medications, its about what they are looking for the medications to solve or heal, in other words, the end result.
      3. What do they get as a result of your help? Once you help them, how is life different for them?

      Answering these questions and fitting them in the Conversation Bait structure I shared in the post above may open new doors for you since you’ll be attracting the right people with the right message.

      Reply
  10. Paul

    I left a post, but I guess the matrix swallowed it.
    Thanks Alex for the blog post.
    What do I do?
    I can help You keep personally connected with Your Valuable Clients.

    Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Thanks for your comment Paul. How would this sound using the Conversation Bait formula I shared above? Would love to see how that looks for you and your business 🙂

      Reply
      • Paul

        I help You,(who), keep personally conneted (benefit), by Communicating with Your Valuable Clients(what you do), so they feel the appreciation You have for their business(benefit).

        Reply
    • AlexNavas

      Thanks for your feedback Amos.

      Reply
  11. Jory Hingson Fisher

    Alex, not only do I love your recipe for successful intro’s but I also love how your are interacting with each person who posts their “conversation bait.” I can totally relate to the “multiple hat” issue. Just last week I was attending a local event wondering whether to mention all of the ways I help people (networking, marketing, health coaching, biz mentoring) or just one. I opted for two hats (networking & marketing) but will take your advice and just mention ONE hat the next time. Thank you, dear! So here’s the primary way I introduce myself:

    “I specialize in helping Christian Women Entrepreneurs achieve optimal health physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally so they can attract more clients, serve more people, and glorify God through success.”

    Reply

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