Straight from the Street Series - Article #3
“The Easiest Question to Ask and the Hardest One to Answer. (Hint: They’re the same question)”
No matter the situation, whether we’re jockeying for an armrest on a plane, reluctantly networking, wolfing down food at a conference or just killing time at the PTA meeting, it’s bound to happen. We meet someone new, marvel at the latest weather pattern and then, BOOM, they ask the question. The 4-word question that’s seemingly so harmless, mundane and well intended but frequently so paralyzing for the recipient all at the same time.
What Do You Do?
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this question and struggled to provide an answer that’s clear, concise and interesting without stumbling, stammering or breaking into a red faced sweaty mess, you’re not alone. Just do a quick Google search on this topic and you’ll realize that you’re very much not alone. For most of us, we do whatever we do for the majority of our waking lives and, yet, when it comes time to tell someone else about it, our tongue turns into a pretzel as we blah, blah, blah our new friend to shear boredom or utter confusion. While certainly a little embarrassing, the impact of this awkward moment is likely to be quickly forgotten...at least until the next PTA meeting.
However, for those of us in Sales responsible for solving our customers problems, the impact of bombing the “What Do You Do?” question can be a goal crusher. When we meet a new prospect and they ask some variation of that dreaded 4-word question, what they’re really asking is “How can you help me?” or “What can we connect over?”. If we stumble over ourselves and fail to clearly articulate what we do in a way that helps our prospect immediately understand what’s in it for them, it’s likely we’ll lose the deal before it ever gets started.
It doesn’t have to be this hard and, on an upcoming post, I’ll be sharing some simple tips on how to nail the “What Do You Do?” gauntlet and be the envy of your next plane mate. (Spoiler alert, it’s not about you or your super amazing job title. It’s all about who you help, how you help them and the impact/results you provide to those you help.)
In the meantime, if you’ve ever struggled with this question, let me know. We’ve all been there so share your awkward moments and let’s tackle this thing together soon!
This article is part of the “Straight From the Street” content series highlighting real customer challenges from real customers heard, you guessed it, straight from the street. We invite you join the conversation, add your thoughts and be part of an active and vibrant community of dedicated Sales Professionals.
This article is part of the “Straight From the Street” content series highlighting real customer challenges from real customers heard, you guessed it, straight from the street. We invite you to join the conversation, add your thoughts and be part of an active and vibrant community of dedicated Sales Professionals.