“What do you do?” That question excites most business owners because it opens the door to conversations that could lead to a potential sale.
It’s exciting when someone gives you an opening to talk about your business. It can be so exciting that you say too much, promise things you can’t deliver and talk yourself into working with someone who isn’t your ideal client.
Your answer to the question “What do you do?” sets expectations for a potential business relationship. Your response should clearly communicate the product or service you offer in a straightforward way. Here’s what that means:
If you over-explain what you do and talk in industry lingo or acronyms, you’re more likely to confuse your potential client. And as one of my business mentors would say, “A confused mind always says ‘No.'"
If you’re saying what you think the other person wants to hear, instead of communicating what you actually do, you’re more likely to commit to something that’s not in your wheelhouse. As a result, you could damage your reputation when you can’t deliver what the client thought they were getting.
Avoid those situations by knowing what you offer customers and by being clear in how you describe your product or service.
Here are five things to consider and say when describing your product or service:
1. Keep it short. Your customer doesn’t care about your lingo. All your client cares about is getting what they want. They are incredibly selfish and self-absorbed. This is not a bad thing. This is a great thing. You want to do business with people like that because they know what they want. Your job is to make a yes or no decision on whether what you offer matches up with what they need.
Here’s what you might say: “Yes, I can do that.” Or “No, I’m not the best fit for that.”
2. Clarify the solution you’re bringing. Make sure you understand the problem that needs to be solved. Repeat it back to the potential client.
Here’s what you might say: “Just so that I understand you, I hear that looking for a fix for X problem.”
3. Explain the solution. This is where you explain what your customer is going to get from you. Avoid extra jargon and resist the urge to outline a 17-step process. Keep it simple and explain the solution in short bullet points.
Here’s what you might say: “So that I understand again, when we do A, B and C will you have a solution to X problem?”
4. Ask the customer to repeat it back. It’s an easy step to skip, but an important one to include in the process. Spend time explaining what the customer is going to get and then ask the customer to repeat it back to you. Clarify any potential discrepancies before you go any further. When there’s clarity and understanding on both sides, then you can send out a contract.
Here’s what you might say: “I want to make sure I’m meeting your expectations. Can you repeat back to me what you understand you’re going to receive?”
5. Child-proof the outcome. The outcome needs to be simple enough your 8-year old niece or nephew can repeat it back to you. Sometimes we want to impress people with what we do or what we know that we overcomplicate things. We’ll either confuse the client or overpromise and get into the situations that we shouldn’t be in.
Here’s what you might say: Be able to answer the question, “What does that mean?” in simple, direct language.
You don’t need to use fancy lingo, extra words, or a 17-step process for customers and potential clients to see your brilliance. It comes through in the way you talk and the way you carry yourself. Make it easy for customers to say yes to what you offer and make it possible to deliver exactly what you promise by being aware of how you describe what you do.
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