Profit From Coaching
Enjoyed this post? Share it with others
How to tell people what you do as a coach

How To Respond To The “What Do You Do?” Question


As coaches, speakers and trainers who want to build a profitable business helping others, this is one question that we usually hope we get asked. In many 9-to-5 jobs and various networking circles, it is called the elevator pitch. Well, others, call it a business statement.

We are always looking for opportunities to sell ourselves. In fact some of us plaster our ‘stuff’ all over free social media platforms until it starts to irritate our friends and family who have zero interest in what we are ‘selling’ or should I say ‘trying to sell’.

Yet when we are actually asked the question “What do you do?”, many of us usually go into a load of gibberish that usually triggers a “that’s interesting” response from the person who asked us the question as they quickly look for a way to change the topic before you bore them to death with your technical mumbo-jumbo.

Many of us miss amazing opportunities to sell ourselves because we haven’t prepared for this question that we know we will get asked a lot, especially when we meet people for the first time.

Don’t wait till you’re asked the question before you think of what you say.

Lack of preparation makes you sound unsure, unprofessional and incompetent. You need to have your answer to the question at the tip of your tongue.

3 things to consider to when answering the question: “what do you do?”

A brilliant response the the “so what do you do?” question would usually be

1) Simple: Don’t use fancy words. Using fancy words is usually a sign of insecurity and most of the time, your ideal clients won’t understand you. Rather, they will just keep smiling at you so you don’t feel stupid (You know you’ve done it before when a person is talking to you, using words that you never even knew existed in the English language and you’re desperately looking for a way of escape).

Use simple language that is easy to quickly understand. Just say ‘energetic’ instead of ‘vivacious.’ Say ‘use’ instead of ‘utilize’. The simpler your language, the more likely they are to engage with what you’re saying.

2) Clear: When the mind is confused, it gets tense. When you’re having a conversation with someone, you don’t want to create tension so early on. You should clearly communicate what you do, who you do it for and the big benefit they get from your services.

Don’t do cute. It might make you feel cool that you have a cute slogan. Saying to someone something like “I constantly communicate courageous connections correctly consistently” might make you feel cool at your ability to creatively use the letter “C” in your description but it is a big conversation killer.

Now compare that to this – “I help managers develop the skills to effectively handle difficult conversations with under-performing team members.

It’s not as cute as the first but which of the two introductions do you prefer?

That’s the power of clarity. If you’re ever tempted to be cute, please remember this – Clarity trumps cute ALL the time.

3) Brief: Yes, you don’t want to get into a long, drawn out intro of yourself and your business. Make it brief and leave it hanging. If you used simple language and clearly communicated who you help and what you help them achieve, then they will ask you for more if they are interested.

If they’re not, you’ve saved them from the discomfort of sitting through your long sales pitch.

So when answering the “So what do you do?” question make sure you respond with your pre-planned response and ensure it’s simple, clear and to the the point.

DJ’s response usually is “I help coaches, speakers and trainers build a profitable, money-making business around their passion of helping others”. This is effective and client-focused but how did he get there.

Here’s your exercise to help you craft your Elevator pitch/business statement.

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Define who you help.
  2. What you’re helping them achieve

What is your target market’s frustration, the pain preventing them from making a headway? Once you know what this is, position yourself around their current desires, the heart beat of their pain.

Don’t package yourself after their dreams yet. Doing this looks something like this: “I help female coaches make 6-figure months. If you’re packaging yourself after their dreams – not pain- they won’t be compelled to take action.

The reality is that many are too lazy to go after their dreams. But if you position yourself around the core of their current frustrations and desire— what they want to get rid of and what they want to get right now, you’re more likely to attract attention. The key thing is about what they want now.

Business Statement Format:

  • I help (target audience) + who (insert current frustrations/pain) achieve (desires, wants, dream) so that they can (the benefits of your solution).

Here’s an example: I help new moms struggling with stubborn baby fat lose the weight without the stress and overwhelm, so that they can feel young, energized, and start dating their husbands again. 

This statement becomes the core of what you’re doing. Connect with target audience emotionally by connecting with their pain. Once you have defined your community, call them out with powerful magnets.

I hope you find this useful. What are your thoughts?

About the Author DJ Sobanjo

DJ Sobanjo is a leading personal and leadership development expert, author, speaker, coach and consultant. He has been engaging, inspiring and developing people across the world for over 14 years. He started his internet business journey in 2003 and after many false starts went on to build a successful global business online. In 2014 he started Profit From Coaching to help other coaches, speakers and trainers build a profitable business around their passion of helping others.

follow me on:

Share your thoughts below