What Do You Think You Do?

I got chatting to a couple of people in a coffee shop yesterday as we moved tables around to provide elbow room for barista maintenance. After a few minutes of entertaining asides, one asked me what I did for a living.

It made me realise what an incredibly revealing question this is for anyone involved in selling. In so many ways, a person’s immediate reaction can unwittingly lay bare their inner self.

How do you respond when someone asks you what you do for a living?  Imagine it happening at both a social function or a business conference, and in either case, you’ve not met the questioner before.

I have a scientifically unproven yet cast-iron hunch that most salespeople would answer by naming their profession first, along the lines of “I sell ….”. The second most frequent class of response I further suspect to be waffle about the product they’re connected with.

Some may be cocky, and elaborate with how successful they themselves are.  Others may be more reserved, extolling the merits of their company and its wares.

What about the one in ten that might say something like this, “I help people to solve the problems of ….”?

What odds will you give me that these few outperform all the rest combined?

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