Do you open with this silly question when you meet someone new at a networking event?
“What do you do?”
[insert expletive here] I can’t tell you how much THAT question bugs me.
It’s just wrong. It puts people on the defensive. They stare at you like a deer in the headlights.
You can almost hear the gears grinding as they painfully try to recall the “script” they were taught to say …
‘Hello, I help blah blah blah, do blah blah blah. My perfect prospect is blah blah blah…’
[snooze fest alert]
But don’t feel bad if this is what you ask people … I used to … until I learned a better way to open conversations.
Instead of the ‘what do you do?” ask them THIS question and watch what happens 😉
“What problem do you solve?”
When you frame it around the problem they solve they can immediately talk to the subject.
Asking them what they do forces them to try and think of a TITLE … some “catch all phrase” that cleverly sums them up.
Ask them the WHAT PROBLEM THEY SOLVE and watch how their body language changes. Watch how they open up. Listen to the way they now talk – more engaged, not salesy … more authentic.
And for extra points, ASK YOURSELF THE SAME QUESTION and the next time someone (who doesn’t know this clever question – and asks WHAT you do …) respond with the problem you solve.
Conversation started and connection made.