What do you do?
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
What do you do maybe one of the most common questions you are asked and it is natural for people to reply by saying IT, we have an Accountancy practice or something similar. On the surface it appears to answer the question but does it really and are you missing an opportunity to place you and your business as problem solvers in your particular niche. This is not about responding with a cheesy 'elevator pitch' where some fancy words that lack authenticity have been crafted and are recited by heart. This question goes to the very heart of your business and once you have the answer you will be in a position to target your potential customers/clients in a more focussed way.
Let's look at an example. You run a small Accountancy practice, what is the profile of your clients in terms of industry, turnover, profit, number of employees, location, services they require, frequency of meetings or other communications, issues they may have and anything else that is relevant. You may discover that your best clients are trading more than three years, have a turnover exceeding €900k, have less than ten employees, are located within a fifty mile radius, are predominately manufacturing firms who use your services for year end audits, management accounts and loan applications. This information allows you to be more specific in your marketing strategy, identifies the sort of networking events you should be attending and helps you eliminate enquiries from companies that are not the right fit. This information is available to you but have you analysed it in detail?
Now that we know the clients that are the best fit here is an exercise that may help your team understand what you offer in much greater detail, save you a fortune on marketing and align your team. You may need to take a morning out but the results will be worth the effort. (I can facilitate this process for you if you would prefer an outsiders input)
Ask each team member to write down what the business does and for whom in less than 50 words. Write out the different answers on a whiteboard and see how many variations you get. Discuss the answers and agree the ones that are not relevant. Using the refined results ask team members to write out what you do in 20 words or less and repeat the exercise. Can you agree a clear message from these results.
It may go like this - 'typically we work with manufacturing companies with a turnover in excess of €1m who require financial information and advice within 3 days of making the enquiry'. Let's simplify this further, 'we are financial advisors to manufacturing companies with sales exceeding €1m'. This is a much more refined understanding of your clients and should help you deliver a clear message to your target audience. This may be overly simple but each company has the ability to refine their target audience and then deliver clear messages that resonate with them.
Your team will benefit from the exercise because it will become clear who your target audience is and help them deliver a more clear message when asked 'what do you do'.
Similarly, IT is such a broad term and yet it is bandied about as if everyone understands what the benefit is to them. Using the exercise above you may get something like this - 'we supply software to logistic companies with more than 20 vehicles that allows them to plan optimum routes saving fuel and staff costs'. Put more simply it may be ' our software for logistic companies increases productivity by more than 20%'. This is a clear offering that identifies who should be interested and what the benefits are.
Based on my 40+ years of business experience I seldom come across companies that have a clear understanding of what exactly they offer, who clearly know their target audience and most importantly have employees who can articulate the offering in a consistent way. This is not anyones fault but a presumption that people understand what it is you do. In reality they don't and in this age of instant gratification it is unlikely they will spend any of their valuable time trying to find out.
Don't miss a great opportunity to generate more of the right business by investing a little time in clearly understanding your clients/customers and their changing needs.
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