So, What Do You Do?

Winston Churchill was known for his wit and wisdom; both of which we can learn from today. On verbosity, Churchill remarked “It is sheer laziness not compressing thought into a reasonable space.”

No where is this more true than when you are given the opportunity to tell someone what you do for a living. Your response should be concise, powerful and memorable. It is your Positioning Statement.

A Positioning Statement should set you apart from your competition by stating what you do in a memorable way. The first step to a killer positioning statement is to examine your strengths and weaknesses relative to your competition. What is your true competitive advantage?

Once you identify what makes you better, you need to convert your strength to a benefit. In other words, why would a prospect be interested in what you do? What’s in it for them? For example, one of our clients is a staffing company. This firm’s biggest strength is a database of over 13,000 highly qualified health care practitioners. In other words, they have a huge pool of talent in a very specific industry. The benefit to their clients is that the staffing company can quickly find the best person for a healthcare position. That means that key positions are filled promptly and existing staff are not overburdened with too many patients to handle due to a staff shortage.

Besides translating your strength to a benefit statement, you need to narrow your focus to who you serve best. This group should be identified by industry or job title, since that is the most common way that people categorize what they do. By narrowing your focus and identifying specifically one group you work with, you help the people you meet associate you with the people you want to meet. This, in turn, will make you more memorable and will lead to more referral opportunities.

To put it all together you can use the following format when someone asks, “What do you do?” You simply say, “I work with blank (fill in with job title or industry) to blank (fill in with benefit statement).

Feel free to be creative and state what you do in an original and interesting way. While you want to avoid sounding like a commercial, you do want to create interest and encourage the logical next response which is “How do you do that?” In the case of the example of the staffing company, a good positioning statement could be something like “I work with hospitals to provide better bedside care.”

“So, how do you do that?” becomes the logical response. To which the staffing salesperson can say, “I find them the best doctors and nurses from our extensive healthcare database so they don’t ever have to deal with a shortage of qualified professionals. That means the staff is not overwhelmed and they can take proper care of their patients.”

While the person asking “What do you do?” may not be a doctor or nurse or even work in a hospital, you can be sure that they will now associate the staffing person with hospitals. With that association firmly planted, the chance for positive word of mouth and referrals increase dramatically in the future. People will remember you and what you do if you properly “position” yourself and make it easy to be remembered.


As President of Dancing Elephants Achievement Group, Will feels he has the best job in the galaxy. He loves working with salespeople and entrepreneurs to "unblock" themselves and "unlock" their potential. Will is the first to admit that he was a reluctant salesperson for many years. He thought most salespeople had to be pushy, and he just wasn't comfortable in that role. He later discovered that you don't have to act like a typical salesperson to be a great salesperson so he created a comp...

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