Part II: The 20-Second ConnectionWhat Do You Say?

Remember last month’s post about how to answer the question, “What do you do?”

What, you don’t remember!

Well, rather focusing on WHAT to say, I wrote about HOW to say it.

But today, let’s talk about how to script your answer. Usually, I’m not a big fan of creating scripted answers, but this is one time when it can be incredibly valuable. Creating your perfect answer to the question, "What do YOU do?" will increase your level of confidence when you’re in a networking situation, AND this answer comes in handy in so many different situations, not just when you’re in conversation with someone.

You can use the essence of your answer in all your marketing materials from your website to your business card to your email signature and beyond!

So, let’s jump in.

Here is a step-by-step outline for creating the core of your 20-Second Connection message.

Step #1.    Who do you serve? Who is your target market?

I hate that term “target market.” It sounds like we’re all out hunting with bows and arrows. Nevertheless, you do need to know who your clients or customers are. It is critical to creating a 20-Second Connection message that works.

Step #2.    What are the needs, dreams and desires of your clients and customers?

See, this is why you need to be specific about who your clients are, because if you don’t, there is no way you can identify their needs and desires.

My friend Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro is a copywriting genius. She teaches people how to write copy that sells, and one of the exercises she gives her students is to create a detailed profile and description of their ideal client. It doesn’t have to be a real person, though it can be based on someone, or several someone’s, whom you know. You create an imaginary Someone who exemplifies your ideal client.

The reason for doing this is so that when you write your copy, you have a clear idea of who you are writing to. It helps hone your message so it speaks to the needs and desires of your client so they will feel seen and understood.

You need to do the same for your 20-Second Connection message.

You’ve got to have a clear idea of whom you want to attract with this message. What will interest them? What do they need? What are they looking for? Why would they want to hear about what you do?

Make a long list of the problems and needs of your clients, and then…

Step #3.    Pick two or three of the most urgent needs or desires of your clients, or the three biggest problems they face.

Now, this is where people mess up.

We are talking about your client’s most urgent needs, their biggest problems, their deepest desires. We’re not talking about the practical, intellectual considerations they may have when looking for someone who does what you do.

For instance, if I’m a car mechanic, I might think that my potential customers’ biggest needs are to 1) find a fast, reliable service center for their car 2) that isn’t overpriced and 3) is open on Saturdays.

But I’d be wrong.

Those aren’t needs. They are a list of features a mechanic might offer.

What this mechanic’s customers really want is:

  • To feel safe and confident when they are driving.
  • To know that no matter where they chose to go, their car will get them there without breaking down and leaving them stranded.
  • To feel assured that no one is taking advantage of their ignorance by charging them for services that aren’t necessary.
  • To have the liberty of not being without a car during their busy work week.

Do you see the difference?

The next step may help clarify the above.

Step #4.    How do you and/or your services solve your client’s problems?
How do you and your services meet the physical, emotional, mental, social, financial or spiritual needs and desires of your client?

Okay, now we are getting to the heart of the matter.

Maybe your services don’t address all of these needs (the physical, emotional, mental, social, financial AND spiritual) but they must meet at least one or two of them, right?

Let’s go back to the car mechanic. He could say that he meets his customer’s most urgent needs by 1) providing comprehensive tune-ups that double-check every belt, plug and cylinder in your car, 2) for an unbeatable price, 3) any time,  Tuesday through Saturday.

But he’d be wrong again.
Again, he’s just listing the features of his services. He’s not stating HOW HIS SERVICES  MEET HIS CUSTOMER’S NEEDS.

If we refer back to the real needs we listed in Step 3, this is how a car mechanic might meet those needs:

  • I make sure that every car I service is safe and reliable to drive any distance.
  • I give straight-forward, honest estimates and evaluations of what needs to be serviced in order for that car to be safe and reliable, and I guarantee all service provided.
  • I offer service days and hours that make it easy for you and your schedule, and I offer loaner cars.

When this mechanic gets asked the question, “What do you do?” he could say:

“I make sure that you are completely safe anytime you are driving so you never have to worry when you and your kids are taking that long trip to grandma’s house.”

Or, “I make sure that you get to where you want to go without ever having to worry about the reliability of your car.”

Now, those sentences address one major need. The next line could be:

“And I also make sure that you always feel confident about what you are paying for when your car does need service, so that you always know you are getting the best deal possible for superior work.”

That would address yet another need.

Notice that this mechanic answered this question without ever saying “I am an auto mechanic.” This is critical.

If you use your title or job description to tell people what you do, you’re doomed! Because everyone has either a preconceived notion or no notion at all about what that job title means.

If you tell me, “I’m a life coach,” I start thinking about that vapid, waste-of-paper newsletter I received from a life coach years ago. Already, I’m thinking, “Oh, brother! What a flake!”

But if you tell me, “I help single moms create time for themselves so that they can not only be great mothers but they can also be vibrant, sexy women,” all of a sudden, I’m thinking about all the single mothers I know who would love to know more.
The trick here is to focus on how your services benefit your customers, how they directly meet their needs. You’re not talking about HOW you do what you do, but the RESULTS they will experience because of what you do.

This should be enough to get you started.

In the upcoming teleclass, “The 20-Second Connection” we use the above steps to come up with the basic ingredients for creating a perfect, magnetic answer to the question, “What do YOU do?” We also talk about the “Extra Spices” you can throw in to get the conversation going, AND what to do when you get no response from whomever is listening.

So, if you want to create your own perfect answer to the question, “What do YOU do?”, an answer that will create conversation, curiosity and connection, join us on August 1 for this four week teleclass.

You can also sign up for the free Sneak Preview call on July 26.

By the way, Michael Port does a great job of teaching people how to talk about what they do. He even created an animated video about it!

Check it out here.

You can read more at his blog.

Stay tuned for my next entry which will give you a way to evaluate the effectiveness of your 20-Second Connection answer. Is your answer doing a good job for you?


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