My team and I recently went through the arduous process of revising our website. As usual, it forced us to re-examine the words we use to describe what we do. Without this clarity of message it's easy to find oneself struggling with an 'elevator pitch' that either sounds generic or confusing or both.
This is most evident to me when I am networking. Too often, when I ask someone what they do, they respond with a general comment about their practice ("I'm a corporate securities lawyer at Smith & Morales") or, even less helpful, their profession ("I'm a lawyer"). All this does is fulfill the minimal conversational requirement. It doesn't invite a dialogue that explores mutual benefit.
My website developers started off with a similar quandary, describing our business development coaching and training services, until we realized that nobody cares. After all, who wants business development coaching? What they want are the results. If they could avoid the coaching altogether, they would.
Instead, we focused on language that describes the ways we help people: shifting their mindsets and strategies so that they are more effective; making business development less painful and more profitable; driving meaningful results.
So the next time someone asks you what you do, try leading off with the words, "I help..."
- "I help companies raise the capital they need to accomplish their business goals."
- "I help clients minimize their legal liabilities so they can stay focused on growth and revenue."
- "I help minimize the costs associated with maintaining a large workforce."
At the very least, they will ask, "how do you do that?" The follow-up conversation will be far more productive than reciting the title on your business card.
Of course, you could always just overhaul the bio page on your firm's website. That will certainly compel you to rethink your core message too.