You’re at a bar, a restaurant, an event. You’re shaking hands and exchanging names and business cards when someone asks you the inevitable:
“The Cocktail Question.”
“So, what do you do?”
I’m always surprised at how many people have difficulty answering this question. It’s not that they can’t answer it — everyone can say what they do.
~ I’m a marketer.
~ I do PR.
~ I’m an accountant.
But people have difficulty answering the question in some way that actually adds value, differentiates them from others who work in the same field and really tells their brand story. The answer to this common question is not supposed to be the way you tell someone what your major was in college (Communications in case you were wondering). But it’s what is it that you do and what value do you provide the people who use your services or products?
This doesn’t have to be a long answer. This doesn’t have to require a Wikipedia entry to understand. It doesn’t have to begin, “Well, when I left college, I was working for my father at his butcher shop, even though I graduated with a degree in theoretical physics.”
Your answer to The Cocktail Question should be something like:
“I help small business owners navigate their finances and stay on top of changing tax requirements so they can keep more of the money that they earn and reinvest in the companies they are creating.”
That sounds better than, “I’m a CPA” doesn’t it?
Think about the value that you provide to your clients and customers — even if you work inside of a business. Isn’t it more descriptive, accurate and — let’s face it — less boring to say:
“Do you know ABC Corp.? Well I help them rein in runaway purchases for things like office supplies, telecommunications, travel costs and other things that you might never really think about, but that really impact the company’s ability to be profitable.”
That sounds a lot better than “I do purchasing” doesn’t it?
So think about the value you provide your customers and clients. What do you do anyway?