This week I’m answering one of the burning questions I’ve received from newsletter subscribers and clients. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
QUESTION FROM THE MAILBAG:
My major question is this: when I’m at a networking event, I get challenged by answering the question, “What do you do?” Every time I answer by saying “I’m an executive coach”, it doesn’t work very well. How can I change the way I introduce myself to people? (Because once I get into a good discussion, I’m able to successfully offer a consultation.)
This is a really good question - it’s an important one.
Executive coach doesn’t mean anything to most people. And even if it does, it will mean what they think it means and not necessarily what you want it to.
So I’ll show you how to say “what you do” in a way that will entice people to want to know more. Because really, that’s the reaction that we want.
So compare the these two answers to “What do you do?”
(A) “I’m an executive coach”
(B) “I help Fortune 500 C-level executives who are having trouble motivating their entire company into a singular vision. I help them create a unified organization so that every single person from the janitor to the CEO is working towards the same thing.”
From the question you’re asking, I’m sensing that this is actually a niche issue, and you haven’t really fully committed to a niche. Once you’ve committed to a niche, you need to be networking in places where your target market hangs out. And then it’s a lot easier to explain what you do.
For example, if I were at a networking event talking to someone about what I do, and they happen to be an employee for someone else’s company, I wouldn’t try to mold my introduction to try to attract that one person when that’s not what my business is about. I would ask them if they know anyone who could use my services and could you introduce me.
Right now you are probably trying to adjust according to the people you’re meeting, and trying to cast a broad net. Probably you don’t want to lose an opportunity to get a potential client. That may be why you haven’t honed in on a specific niche.
The good news is that in networking, you can tailor your message to each person you meet.
The bad news is that you never really get good at creating a compelling message because you tailor your message to each person you talk to.
If you want to grow your business in a bigger way, you’re going to need to create a compelling message that can reach more people than through just individual conversations. For example, If you’re doing speaking engagements, your message needs to be targeted to a group of people with common needs and problems. If you’re doing teleseminars or webinars, the same thing applies.
When you are clear on the problem you solve, and who your target market is, and you know what the result is that they want, then you know what solutions to offer because you’ve done it many times.
That’s when those networking conversations will flow easily and you’ll be standing as a clear provider of a compelling solution for your niche. The person you are talking to will see that and either identify themselves with what you are offering or, if it’s not for them, they’ll probably feel inclined to refer anyone they know in your niche to you.
PS: If you enjoyed this Q&A and discussion and would like to receive more, please let me know by leaving a comment below!