You finally caved.
“Sure, I’ll go with you,” you say with a reluctant tone. Networking events aren’t your thing, but you do enjoy hanging out with your friend.
You arrive, hang up your coat, grab a drink, and plaster on a smile.
You and your friend find a small huddle of not-too-strange-looking folks. They say their names, then ask the dreaded question: “So, what do you do?”
They may as well just shoot you then and there.
The problem, however, isn’t the question. The problem is your answer.
Very few business owners can articulate what they do in a few sentences, especially when they’re speaking with someone who knows nothing about their line of work.
Sure, you can label yourself by saying, “I’m a life coach,” “I’m a chiropractor,” or “I’m an aromatherapist.” But what does that mean? What do you actually do?
Making it easier on yourself and others
Instead of labeling yourself with a loaded word that means nothing (I’m talking to you life coaches out there), explain what you do, who you help, and how you help them.
Here’s how to create a good answer to the dreaded networking question.
1. Label yourself, if you like.
I’m a life coach.
Just make sure that’s not all you say.
2. Who do you work with?
I work with women who have gone through a divorce or have lost someone significant in their lives.
3. What problem are these people having?
They’re feeling lost and uncertain what to do next.
4. What do they hope for?
They’re looking to find their footing, rebuild their confidence, and figure out what they want in life.
5. How do you help them?
I help them do that and go after what they want.
6. Put it all together.
I’m a life coach. I work with women who have gone through a divorce or have lost someone significant in their lives. They’re feeling lost and uncertain what to do next. They’re looking to find their footing, rebuild their confidence, and figure out what they want next in their lives. I help them find those things and go after what they want.
Making it work
The big mistake most people make when explaining what they do is using jargon, not the words a potential client would use.
If you’re a life coach, your “what I do” summary should not include things like “the stories from our past,” “negative thinking,” or “limiting beliefs.”
Instead, think about what your new clients say they are looking for when they first find you; use those words. They say things like “be happy again,” “find a new career,” and “decide what to do next in my life.”
The more you can use plain language, something any fourth grader could understand, the closer you are to having everyone else understand what you do. The more others understand what you do, the more likely you are to have them say, “Oh, I know someone who needs just what you offer. Do you have a card?”
What’s the summary of what you do? Share your networking pitch in the comments below.
You never know, someone may need what you offer!