4+1 Answers to “What You Do?”

Advisors and agents put lots of effort into getting themselves into the right social situations with the right people.

Shortly after introducing themselves to each other, the question gets asked: “What do you do?”  We know it as the elevator speech.  We want to say something that sounds cool and gets them interested, while wanting to avoid sounding wooden and contrived.  What do you do? Four Answers to “What Do You Do?”
  1. Title and firm. It’s the default option.  “I’m a financial advisor at (firm).” Surprisingly, a lot of successful advisors use this approach.  It’s to the point.  It communicated “I’m not being cute with my answer.”
  2. Officer title and firm. There are lots of vice presidents in the financial services industry.  Most are like “VP - Investments.”  There are AVPs, SVPs, 1st VPs and plain VPs.   It’s an officer title.  This is a major advantage.  Banks have officers.  The military has officers.  Police are addressed as “Officer” often preceded by “I didn’t realize I was speeding.”  Many people were raised to respect authority, specifically officers.
  3. Title with little detail. Title and firm are in one sentence.  “I work with a small group of local executives” might be the second sentence.  You are hoping the brevity might get them to ask: “What do you do for these executives?”
At this point you are thinking this sound waaay too brief.  Why are we blowing this opportunity?  The simple answer is the other person might not really care what you do.  They are unimaginative and ran out of questions.  Silence makes people uncomfortable.  “What do you do” is the only other question they could think up!  Looking at it from another point of view, you aren’t being pushy.  In dating, desperate people don’t get dates!  When you push too hard, people assume something’s not right.  Barriers go up.  From the business perspective of social prospecting, the opposite of desperate is successful.  You aren’t pushing business because you aren’t just looking for warm bodies!
  1. Brief marketing statement. Maybe they DID ask: “What do you do for these executives?”  Maybe you just decided to add a third sentence.  “I do thinks like help them maximize the value of their stock options.”
By now, we are up to about 28 words.  You might feel you are talking too long.  Let's try something else. Why We Love Keywords Certain words hold lots of meaning.  You watch court room dramas.  When a lawyer objects and gives a reason, the judge often says “Sustained.”  One word.  We all know “sustained” means the judge agrees with the lawyer and the other lawyer can’t ask or get an answer to that question.  One word takes the place of 17 words. This example uses keyword logic. I’m an officer at (firm).  I work with a small group of business owners and families in Louisville.  18 words. Now, let’s take it apart to see what it says below the surface.
  • I’m an officer at (firm). The officer title generally commands respect.
  • I work with a small group. Small implies exclusivity.
  • Of business owners. People know local wealth is usually in the hands of business owners.  They might associate your firm with stock, insurance or lending, but they know business owners have plenty of other needs.  You must do a lot to be interesting to them.
  • And families. Many businesses are family owned.  Generally speaking, people come from families.  They have their own.  They have family values.  You share these same values.
  • In Louisville. Your local HNW folks are likely invested in the community, Chamber members and proud of where they live.  You are saying “I’m local.”  It also communicates the money you earn is recycled into the local community because you live, work, play and shop here.  An online purchase sends their dollars who knows where.
You wouldn’t use this example word for word because everyone would sound alike.  Your business is different.  You have your own niche.  You specialize.  That becomes part of your story.