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What Do You Do? By Mark E. Lampkin

How many times in the course of a week are you asked this very basic question? Once, twice, not sure… It is a standard query that should be simple to answer. Yet, most of us stumble when we attempt to share something that should be so easy to state when asked the simple question, “What do you do?”

How and where this question arises may vary. It could be asked at a summer cookout, a business mixer, while commuting on public transportation or while standing in line at the grocery store. Your ability to quickly, and succinctly, respond with information that will be remembered is critical.

In the business world I am mindful of the phrase, when being asked the, what do I do question, to have an “elevator pitch” ready. What is an elevator pitch? It is a statement that can be shared while riding in an elevator with someone…for two floors. So, for example, you step into an elevator, say hello to someone, and they ask what do you do…and you can give them enough information from the ground floor until either of you get off TWO floors later.

Think about what you most remember about someone who answered that question when asked by you. Was it a technical response? Was it how long they have been in business or worked for a company? Was it how they served their customers? Was it something that was distinguishable and memorable? Was it honest?

If you have yet to develop a response that meets the criteria listed above, then I suggest that you begin crafting a few sentences that you can share with friends, family and business colleagues. Ask them to be your “new prospects.” Then listen as they provide feedback, as to what they remember about your statement, as well as would your response compel them to seek further information. And most importantly, would they want to do business with you.

Here is a response that I use that has garnered follow-up conversations with more than a few new acquaintances:

My business is Mark Lampkin Media. We create the stories that need to be told about your business that will be seen and heard by people who need your help. May I send you a few examples?”

One thing to always be mindful of: people want to know what you can do FOR THEM. If your response is full of YOU, and void of THEM – your chances of getting a follow up call from them is low. Our goal in business is to solve a number of problems that other business owners/consumers face. How we can make one or more of their problems decrease/disappear will ALWAYS be remembered. And that is ONE simple way to respond to that simple question; “What Do YOU Do?”