What do you do? It’s a simple question, but often difficult to answer.
Too much information and you turn people off. Too little and the opportunity to gain a client disappears.
One way to answer the question is by using key words. Consider this 21-word sentence: “I’m an officer with (firm). I work with a small group of successful business owners and families in the Vancouver area.”
Now, let’s break it down:
- I’m an officer with (firm): If you’re a vice president, this qualifies you as an officer. It’s a word that connotes authority and esteem.
- I work with a small group of: Small implies exclusivity.
- Successful: In the financial industry, “wealth” and “high net worth” are popular expressions. Most people don’t identify with those words. Use “successful” instead; most people think they’re successful at something.
- Business owners: Established business owners often hold the wealth in a community. The listener also knows such people need more than stocks and bonds; they need insurance, lending and retirement plans, too. You must offer more than one product to be of interest to business owners.
- And families: Many businesses are family-owned, and even if the person isn’t part of such a business, he or she can likely identify with family values. By mentioning family, you are explaining you share those values.
- In the Vancouver area: If you are talking with community leaders or business owners, they are likely boosters of the local economy. They don’t want to send commission dollars to Toronto. By mentioning your locale, you’re showing the income you earn is spent in local restaurants and stores.
Your answer is 21 words, but it tells a 200-word message. Sometimes less is more.
- Title and firm: “I’m a vice president with (firm).” Many successful U.S. advisors use this approach. If people are interested, they’ll ask for more info.
- General with little detail: Add: “I work with a small group of senior executives in the area.” It leads to the question, “What do you do for them?”
- Brief marketing statement: You can answer: “I do things like help maximize the value of their stock options.” It suggests you have specialized skills.
- Need as example: When my (American) accountant is asked, “What do you do?” sometimes he replies: “Ever get one of those registered letters from the IRS?” Usually the person shivers and says, “I hate when that happens.” He replies, “We take care of problems like that.” He has created a need and positioned a solution.
- You have many roles: Did someone ask, “What do you do for a living?” No. He or she probably asked, “What do you do?” If you are at a community event, you might talk about your role as a volunteer with the organization. It’s safe, and at the appropriate time you might say, “And in my day job I….