What Do You Do?

The following article was written by guest contributorbusinessman wearing  paper bag Bill Petrie, CEO  at Brandivate  

“What Do You Do?”

It’s 5:07 PM and you have just completed a 6.2 mile stretch on a trade show floor. The imaginary needles in your fatigued feet stab you with every step as you make the long trek back to the promise of relief in your room. However, before you are able to truly enjoy a brief intermission before your dinner engagement, you have one final hurdle to face: the crush of humanity at the elevator bank. Surrounded by other weary trade show warriors seeking the same respite, you have a casual conversation with someone until you are asked “What do you do?”

This is your moment of truth as a promotional products distributor. How will you answer? Will you clearly articulate what you do or will you begin listing the products you can decorate? Does your answer spark interest or fade into mundane business small talk?

Perhaps you share with your elevator-waiting mate that you can “put their logo on anything” and that your company offers “wild creativity, fantastic customer service, and quick turnaround time.” While likely factual, this of answer will have you blending in with the 23,999 other promotional products distributors he will encounter this week. You are looking to stand apart from the crowd – figuratively and literally – and that answer won’t differentiate you at all.

Rather than the generic promotional speak, craft an answer that leads into a meaningful conversation – and an opportunity. I’m not talking about a canned “elevator pitch.” Instead, provide an answer in terms of how your company serves others but worded in such a way that creates some magic in the mind of your interrogator. For example:

  • We create promotional marketing programs that engage people at multiple touch points
  • We partner with our clients to turn ideas into experiences

The above two examples are not only concise, but will create a little bit of fascination and mystery in the mind of the listener. At the very least you will grab their attention and will be asked “How do you do that?” giving the ensuing conversation the potential to be far more meaningful than commiserating about mutually aching feet.  And, while you are waiting for your turn on the elevator ride to the sweet surrender of a quiet moment, you might just create a connection that turns into a client.