Picture this: You’re at a social event with a big group of people, a few who you know and most whom you don’t. You find yourself in conversation with a really nice guy, discussing the highs and lows of the latest restaurant to open in town. And then he says: “So, what do you do?”
If you happen to be a teacher, doctor, or any other easily defined profession, you answer that question with ease. The guy responds, “Oh really!” and your conversation continues on, now focused comfortably around work.
But when you’re an entrepreneur or a business owner (especially in the online space), answering that question might not be so simple and straightforward. Depending on what stage you’re at in your business, it can make you pause, or even feel a little nervous.
This is your business for pete’s sake—your baby, your heart and soul.
You want to answer the question so that it captures the magnitude of how much blood, sweat, and tears you’ve invested into it. (Or, at the very least, communicate clearly what it is you do.)
This pressure often leads to one of two reactions/responses:
- You fall prey to overwhelm and, unsure of the right way to say what you actually do, you answer, “What do I do? Well, it’s kind of hard to describe, but isn’t the shrimp cocktail delicious?”
- You’re SO prepared to answer this question (anywhere at any time!) that your response sounds overly polished and a little robotic. Like, “What do I do? I provide marketing solutions for people just like you who need more leads, more sales, and more clients! Schedule a call today!”
Fortunately, there’s a great way to answer this question that removes all the pressure—one where you’ll be clear, easy-to-understand and sound like the amazing, genuine, fully invested human you are.
It begins with knowing how to position yourself, otherwise known as your unique value proposition..
Your unique value proposition (UVP) explains what you do, who you do it for and how you do it uniquely well. Craft it right and it’ll showcase the unique value and solution that your business provides to your ideal customer.
The benefit of having a strong, well-thought-out unique value proposition is it fills you with confidence that you’ve got a great answer to “So, what do you do?” and makes it way easier for the person you’re speaking with to understand you and respond. Plus, it may even make it possible for them to refer potential clients (or become one themselves!).
To craft a winning UVP, it’s helpful to break it up into three parts.
Part 1: What benefits does your business provide?
Spend some time thinking about the outcomes of your work. Go beyond what services you offer and focus instead on the ways your clients benefit from their work with you. The benefits of working with you or your business can be tangible, such as a beautiful website, a strong video marketing toolkit, a compelling e-book, or a bigger bottom line. Or, they can be abstract benefits such as greater confidence, manifesting your vision, improved public speaking, or stronger negotiation skills.
Part 2: Who do you provide them to?
Next, analyze who it is you are providing these benefits to. In other words, who is your target market, ideal customer or avatar? A common tendency is to create a great big, broad, client pool—we want to work with and serve everyone and anyone who comes our way. That’s not the most efficient way to work or spend our marketing dollars, however. In fact, research indicates that the more targeted our marketing is, the more impactful it will be. Remember the riches are in the niches.
Part 3: How do you provide those benefits uniquely well?
How do you provide your services in a way that is different from others offering the same things? This is the question that causes you to consider your unique approach, qualifications, and strengths. If you’ve already developed a good track record or reputation professionally, you can also use that to your benefit. For example, one of your differentiators can be time-based, focusing on how much experience you have (“for nearly
two decades”). Another might be quantitative: the numbers of clients,
patients or customers you’ve served (“hundreds or thousands of people
have benefited from…”).
Crafting your UVP
Once you’re happy with your answers to the above questions, tie them together into one cohesive (and easy-to-say) sentence.
Here’s an example of how we crafted our UVP here at brandiD.
Part 1: Benefits provided: Uncovering, positioning, and marketing people
Part 2: Who do we provide them to? Entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders
Part 3: How do we do it uniquely well? Through an introspective process, we tap into the real you—your authentic soul—to define your personal brand, and then help you project it online.
To craft our UVP, we simply put it all together into a complete sentence and wordsmithed it as much as possible. Here’s what came out:
UVP: We help entrepreneurs, innovators and thought leaders uncover, position, and market their authentic souls online, empowering them to thrive in work and life.
Final step: Make it conversational
It’s not authentic if you sound robotic or overly polished, so play with the language a bit until it flows easily off your tongue. Practice with a few people to see how natural it feels to use in conversation. You’ll be able to get a read on their reaction to it, too!
When we tightened the language on our UVP a bit, it ended up like this:
We help innovators uncover, position, and market their authentic selves online.
Ahhhh, much better—and super easy to say.
Now it’s your turn! Take the time to get your UVP just right, because the benefits are many.
For starters, you’ll feel SO much more confident the next time you hear “So, what do you do?” because you know you have a clear, easy-to-understand answer at the ready.
Plus, it’ll feel so rewarding (and relieving!) to hear the person you’re talking to respond: “Oh wow, that sounds interesting! Can you tell me more about that?”
Why yes, you’ll think to yourself. Yes I can.
Let the conversation continue!