How to best answer ‘So, what do you do?’ (in 20 seconds)

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Article by Nathan Williams


‘So, what do you do?’

Has there ever been a more common, innocuous question which gets answered so badly? I doubt it. Think about it – we’ve all regretted asking someone this question because most people have a poor answer.nathan williams

Perhaps we’ve felt some anxiety answering this question ourselves at some stage. While we might have a rough idea of what to say, we’re not really sure if it’s the right answer and as a result, it just doesn’t feel right.

Given it’s often the first step in the sales process and our ability to answer this question in a concise and compelling manner has a big bearing on whether we attract more of our ideal clients…is it any wonder this question causes some anxiety?


So with this in mind, let’s look at how to best answer ‘So, what do you do?’

1. What’s the big, relatable problem you solve?

People care about the problems we solve and how it might help them and/or the people they know. They are more motivated to avoid problems than investing in a solution for the heck of it, so let’s not don’t bang on about our wonderful six step process…people don’t care about what we do until they understand the problems we solve.

Communicate a big problem you solve which they can relate to…if it doesn’t get their head nodding in acknowledgement within the first five to ten seconds, think about how you could simplify the way you express it and make sure you avoid any unnecessary jargon or industry terminology.

2. Touch on the solution

Briefly mention your solution as the clear, logical answer to the problem you’ve already outlined – now is not the time for detail, it should simply provide the listener with a glimpse of your offering and the confidence that you have the solution so they ask you about it later.

3, The (ultimate) outcomes you deliver

People want outcomes…but what outcomes should we talk about? All businesses produces a range of client outcomes, but to talk about them with impact it’s important to focus on the ‘ultimate’ outcomes that best relate to the customer’s buying reasons as opposed to the ‘process outcomes’ that get delivered as a matter of course.

For example, people don’t just want more confidence when it comes to selling and a more effective sales process, they want more of their ideal clients.

4. Your purpose/beliefs

People buy from people, so don’t be afraid to reveal a bit of your purpose and the motivation behind why you deliver your services. Our goal is to appeal to people’s beliefs which engenders feelings of trust, engages them emotionally in the buying process and ultimately moves them from ‘let me think about it’ to ‘let’s do it.’

Here’s a 20 second answer to ‘So, what do you do?’ which I prepared earlier…

‘So, what do you do?’

Well, you know how people often find it challenging to answer that question in a way which really grabs your attention? (Problem)…

…Well…we have a 4 phase ‘Perfect Pitch Program’ (Solution)…

…Which helps businesses best communicate their value and attract more of their ideal clients… (Outcome)

…You see, business isn’t always fair…we can create a lot of value, but if we can’t communicate it we’ll miss out on the clients that we deserve. We love helping businesses best communicate their value, so they can attract more of their ideal clients, faster. (Purpose/Beliefs)

Over to you now…what’s your best answer to ‘So, what do you do?’ in 20 seconds or less?

Nathan Williams is the Founder and Managing Director of Customer Return.

Visit and register for your ‘Free Pitch Review.’


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