So what DO you say?

Just recently, in so many of the one-on-one mentoring sessions I do with B1G1 Lifetime Partners, it seems one subject keeps coming up: what do you say when you meet someone for the first time after they ask you, “so what do you do?”

It’s amazing what happens.keep-calm-i-m-an-accountant-4

One ‘mentee’ admitted that he avoided these types of situations because when he says “I’m an Accountant” people tend to walk away. Another mentee put it like this, “I know that when I say what I do I say it in a way that really sucks. So I tend to avoid networking meetings – they make me feel bad afterwards.”

Of course, it need not be like this.

Instead of blustering your way through it, you can use a very simple 5-step process that can get you lots of useful connections, great referrals and even business right away.

Here’s an outline of the process:

1. You genuinely take time to thank people for asking you what you do
2. You ask permission to respond ‘quickly’
3. You outline it in an inspiring way, most often using the word ‘different’ or ‘different’
4. You explain that typical clients or customers are of a particular type and/or have a particular challenge or need
5. You ask the person who asked you the original question if they know someone like that.


Here’s how it might sound:

“Great to see you too. And tell me, what do you do?”

“Well thank you so much for asking; I really do appreciate that. Can I just explain it quickly?”

Those are steps 1 and 2. Now here comes 3:

“Well, I run a very interesting accounting practice. Most people refer to it as a very different one because of the way in which we do what we do.”

Now here comes step 4:

“And because of that we work with clients who don’t just want us to report on what their business has done, they want us to help them grow their business. Typically, they’re clients who are a little fed up with the way their existing accountant works with them too. They don’t feel they’re getting value for money”

And now step 5:

“Could I ask you how you’d rate your relationship with your existing Accountant and whether you know of any business owners who might appreciate this different approach?”

You can see immediately how you’ve opened up a much more interesting dialogue already.


Here’s how it might sound for a Life and Business Coach working, for example, principally with women:

“Well first of all thanks for the question I really appreciate it. What I do is I help women to achieve a level of success that surprises them, and I do that in very interesting ways. The kind of people who benefit from what I do are women who have been in the corporate environment and suddenly find themselves in small business and find challenges with that. Do you happen to know anyone (name) who might have those kind of issues?”

Or … in a different audience, the last part (steps 4 and 5) might sound like this:

“The kind of people I work with are where everything looks great on paper but underneath there are other things going on. OR everything looks good on paper but underneath it isn’t. Do you happen to know anyone who has those kind of issues that might be able to be helped by what I do?”

What do you think; full of possibilities for you? I do hope so.

And of course, as you get used to it, you can have fun and even get EXTRA permission — always a good thing.

For example, take the first example above — the one with the Accountant.

If we wanted to get EXTRA permission (and as a result get extra ‘buy-in’) it might sound like this:

“Great to see you too. And tell me, what do you do?”

“Well thank you so much for asking; I really do appreciate that. Actually, I really do love taking about what I do so are you sure you’d really like to know?”

Think of it as an expanded Step 2.

So … now you know precisely how to respond when people ask you what you do. Just remember these 5 simple steps:

1. You genuinely take time to thank people for asking you what you do
2. You ask permission to respond ‘quickly’
3. You outline it in an inspiring way, most often using the word ‘different’ or ‘different’
4. You explain that typical clients or customers are of a particular type and/or have a particular challenge or need
5. You ask the person who asked you the original question if they know someone like that

And like the people who I’ve been mentoring, you’ll love the results too.

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About Paul Dunn

Paul is the chairman at B1G1 and a hugely respected and admired business leader too. He’s a 4-times TEDx speaker and he frequently travels around the world inspiring businesses with B1G1 and his amazing business insights.

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