When two people meet, one of the first questions asked is “What do you do?”

Often the answer provides too much detail. The listener’s attention starts to wane, and he/she is wondering when this conversation is going to end. Meanwhile, tThe person providing the answer is typically aware that too much information is offered but keeps on talking anyway.

What would be a better way to respond to the question?

Deliver an answer that has a touch of mystery and an emotional tug. That would get a fruitful conversation going!

In other words, be clear about your USP--your unique selling proposition--and offer a teaser about it when asked what you do.

What is a unique selling proposition? From the site Entrepreneur, here is one definition: “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”

What is it that makes what your company does unique? The answer can be unexpected.

For instance, again from Entrepreneur:

“Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service. Neiman Marcus sells luxury, while Wal-Mart sells bargains.”

You might be wondering what this has to do with your remodeling business. Assuming at this point you and your company have developed a mission statement and core values, you need to create a crisp and compelling USP to distinguish your company in the marketplace. Otherwise your company is just another remodeling company in the eyes of potential clients.

The only place to start is in your head. You must believe your company is the best at what it does. That entails being clear about what it does. You also need to be clear about how what your company does provides benefits to its clients. What are the benefits that the clients think they are purchasing by deciding to work with you?

Meet with some of the best clients your company ever had. Lunch or a visit to their home allows enough time for this exercise.

Ask questions like these:

  • What were you most worried about before deciding to have your home remodel?
  • How did you learn about our company?
  • What were your impressions when you called our office?
  • What do you recollect from the first meeting with the salesperson from our company?
  • What, if anything, were you surprised to learn about our company?
  • What were you delighted by during the process of us planning your remodel with you?
  • What were you delighted by during the process of us remodeling your home?
  • How did you feel when we had completed your remodel?
  • What do you tell your friends about the experience of having had us work with you?

Sort through the answers and see if there are any common themes. Review the answers with your employees, trade contractors and vendors. Listen to what they say.
Lay out some single sentence-long ideas.

For me, the wrong way to answer the question “What Do You Do?” would be to reply: “I help remodeling contractors get control of their lives and their businesses.” It is not a horrible answer but it rarely leads to the listener saying “Tell me more!”

Better would be something like this: “I am saving the world, one remodeler at a time” or “I am making the world a safer place for remodeling contractors and their clients.” Why? Those answers prompt more questions from the listener. Consequently, they may decide they need my services or tell others about me.

Give it a try. The resulting clarity is helpful when you compete against other remodelers. Your employees, because their input was asked for, will be likely to give a better answer when asked “What do you do?”

Finally and most importantly, your company will get more of the business it wants!