What do you do for a living? Quick.
In our society here in the US this is one of the most commonly asked questions yet it’s one of the most poorly responded to. For example, if you’re a chef, you would naturally respond with “chef,” right? But this might be the worst response you could give. Why?
Everybody has preconceived notions. What do you think if when I write “chef?” Perhaps the Swedish Chef from the Muppets? Or the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld? Or, perhaps your notion of a chef from the restaurant that made you really, really sick.
No matter what, people are going to have a preconceived notion in their minds for almost every profession. Real estate agent? They know what you do in their minds. Doctor? Twelve years of medical school to put your finger there.
But whatever you do you likely do differently than most, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog looking for new ideas. How do you stand out?
Years ago I had the privilege of sitting with Ann Convery of www.speakyourbusiness.com who shared her secrets to making great introductions. To sum up what she extolls, the idea is to “hook” your prospect within eight seconds or fewer and get them to ask follow-up questions.
So instead of a chef, the answer could go something like, “I feed souls while filling stomachs.” Wouldn’t you want to know how that’s done?
Instead of real estate agent the answer could be something like, “I put an address on the place families call home.”
Instead of a doctor, you could be the individual who, “keeps smiles on faces and health in hearts.”
You get the picture. But this is only step one of this process because the idea is to elicit questions and your follow-up has to be equally intriguing. The nice thing is, you haven’t bored the people and now they’re interested in knowing more so you have to intrigue them further.
Your chef’s follow-up would be “I know the secrets to finding hidden things you’d never think would be great on the table and making them delicious.”
Your real estate agent might say, “I have hundreds of thank you notes from people whom I’ve helped to demystify into succeeding with the biggest investment of their lives.”
Again, you’re going to elicit more questions and now you’ve got a conversation going instead of boring the people. Remember people always want to talk about themselves unless they’re curious and this curiosity gets them to be more interested in what you’re doing.
It’s not uncommon that people generally ask “what do you do you for a living” because they literally know nothing else to ask - but they tune out as soon as you give the answer because people love to talk about themselves. By turning the tables and intriguing your new friend you’re going to create a memorable conversation that might trigger a memory when they happen to need a chef, real estate agent or doctor.