What Do You Do V What You Are!

by Phil Berg on January 21, 2014 · 0 comments

Business CardWe never know who we will meet later today, tomorrow, next week etc – more importantly, we never know who will meet us!!

It is a good idea to be prepared with a few alternative stock answers to the inevitable question asked…”so what do you do?”

Where and when does this question tend to get used?


-         At Networking events

-         At social events

-         Randomly, when the person or people opposite us are trying to start a conversation (commonly known as a ”conversation starter”)

On the basis that you never know who the people you know, know, consider that anyone and everyone who comes into contact with you, is a multi millionaire.  To make it even simpler, whether they are as an individual or not, certainly the value of all their contacts would be!

So, what do I mean by “what we do” v “what we are?”  Let me give you a few examples to demonstrate the difference…

I am an Optician  …………   I help people to see better

I am a Sales Trainer  ………………   I help companies increase their sales and make more profit

I am a Driving Instructor  ………….  I keep people safe on the roads

I am a Speech Therapist  ……..  I help people feel more confident in themselves

I run a CCTV company   …………  I keep families protected and give them peace of mind in their own home

Ultimately, what we do is what we leave our clients with when we have gone.  How they are better off because of what we did for them.

As an aside, please remember the following all important points:-

  • You should assume that you are the only person that is excited by what you do
  • You are not trying to excite the other person to be you, you are trying to excite the other person into wanting to use, or recommend you
  • When someone asks you what you do, remember that it is simply a conversation starter and you mustn’t then spend the next 30 minutes boring them to death without taking a breath
  • Gain control of the conversation yourself as there will often be opportunities right in front of you

This next section is a fantastic way to turn an innocent question into a realistic quotation prospect with a high chance of conversion into real business…

When you get asked that question… “so, what is it you do?”  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you knew exactly what they did themselves, before giving your response?  Armed with the knowledge of what they do before you respond, you could use one of your (few) stock answers to reel them in (especially if there is an opportunity to do business between you).  Let me demonstrate…

A)    Question to a Sales Trainer…

“So, what is it you do?”

B)    Response by Sales Trainer…

“I could drive you mad with my passion for my business, what is it that you do?”

C)     Response to the Sales Trainer…

“I am the sales manager of company Z, X, Y”

D)    Response by Sales Trainer…

“That’s interesting, I help people like you to make more profit, easier and quicker”

E)     Response to the Sales Trainer

“How do you do that?”

F)     Response by Sales Trainer  …….

“Do all of your team sell as many xxxx’s as you would like?”

G)    Response to the Sales Trainer  …….


A = Their opening line

B = Your response, which is a clever way of gaining control of the conversation and knowing what they do themselves, which might then be of ultimate value to you

C  = Their job

D = Your benefit statement to them – the one that excites them enough to want to continue the conversation (make sure not to sell to them at this stage – as stated above, excite them enough to want to talk further and tell them you are happy to call them)

E = They show interest now

F = The “benefits to them” – the one that they are pleased to hear

So in summary, get used to telling people what you “do” (for them) and there will be many, many opportunities to turn a polite conversation into confirmed business

Happy Networking !

Phil Berg

BNI Assistant National Director – UK & Ireland

Twitter: @philberg88



Phil Berg
Phil Berg – International, Motivational Speaker. Helping companies and individuals around the world, present and network more effectively, resulting in increased profitability. Phil is practical and speaks the same language as his audience. He will inspire you to be even more successful with his “easy to do” actions and thoughts.


Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: