Who are you, what do you do?

One of the most common questions you’ll here is “Who are you, what do you do?” 

Often you may respond with the name of your position, I’m a sales person, or an accountant, or a lawyer or another general title that we’ve heard of many times before. The problem here is that once you tell someone your title, you are put you into whatever that means to the person. Maybe there was a bad experience with the accountant the person is thinking about. Even if it wasn’t bad it may have been a neutral position about the category of accountant. You surely don’t want to have your first impression be a bad or even neutral position.

Another reply to the question may be the person’s title. “I’m VP of the eastern Division at my company”. In this case, the person may not have any previous experience to relate what you do, but once again, that doesn’t help you be memorable. You really never answered the question, “what do you do?”. You gave a vague answer that you know what it means, but not a great first impression.

Another answer may be mentioning the name of your company without defining what that means to the other person. “I work for ACME”. 

In the first few seconds, people are sizing you up and forming their first and often lasting impression.  When you frustrate the person by not giving them a clear answer to their question they won ’t remember you in a good way or worse yet forget you entirely.

One way to introduce yourself is knows the Elevator Pitch.

The story originated like this. A writer hoping to get his manuscript in front of the busy movie executive goes to the movie studio and steps into the elevator on the bottom floor. Just as the doors of the elevator are closing, the movie studio’s president holds the door and steps in. This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. The time it takes to get from the ground floor to the executives top floor is approximately 30 seconds. Now what?

What do you say that will have an influence on the person you’ve been waiting to meet? Some may use the examples listed above. Saying your position, your title or the name of your company. But as noted above, none of them will most likely score you that connection you so badly wanted to create.

Once you create an elevator pitch that works, you can use that in all your marketing, including your introductions. 

First, you have to know your purpose. If you really think that your marketing should based on a haphazard ride in an elevator and expect to get your biggest sale you may want to rethink that. 

As with all your marketing, you should always have a plan.

Here are some specific ways to craft your winning elevator pitch.

Keep it simple. Use a formula that you can repeat over and over.

Your name, a problem your customer has had, and the way you overcame the problem.

Try coming up with your 4 parts of your perfect elevator pitch.

1. Your name _____________________________

2. Your customers problem: _______________


3. What you did to solve the problem/pain? 



4. Call to action - what is the next step?



You can try experimenting with your message. Don’t try it on your perfect prospect the first time. Just like if you are going on an interview for your dream job, first go on a series of interviews where your goal isn’t that position, but rather to practice some of the questions and response during the interview.

When people ask you “who are you, what do you do?” use the words and sentences you have prepared and see what the response is?  Are you getting better more meaningful responses? Is the introduction conversation moving forward? Does the other person start asking questions about yourself and sharing more about themselves? If they are it means that you have been effective in building the conversation. That’s a lot better than being forgotten using the same responses that most people use.

Having a plan ahead of time will always help improve your chances of getting to where you want to go. You need to have a plan of what you want to accomplish. 

It may be to set up a follow up meeting. It could be an introduction to meet another person. Know what your goal is before then take the steps to get there.