Sales Tips: 5 Tips for Better Responding to “What do you sell?”

When meeting someone for the first time a common icebreaker is asking what a person does for a living. For those that respond that they are salespeople, a reasonable follow up would be to ask what he or she sells.

Whether in a social setting or in sales calls, I’m generally underwhelmed in how sellers respond to questions about what they do. Their responses are either too cryptic or go on for too long.

I’d like to suggest some guidelines for better responses:

  • Use 20 or fewer words.
  • Start with the words: “I help …..”
  • Avoid mentioning product/offering names if possible.
  • Share benefits your clients can achieve through the use of your offering.
  • Tell enough that if interested, the person may ask a follow-up question that would allow you to give further detail.

For example, in my case, a very pedestrian response would be:

I do sales training and consulting.”

While true, it’s about me and likely to shut down further conversation. It only follows the first suggestion above and is unlikely to elicit further questions.

I hope you agree a better response would be:

I help companies implement a process to share best selling practices and drive higher revenue.”

It’s 15 words long, uses the theme of helping, avoids mentioning product (training and consulting) and mentions a benefit clients can realize.

While important to have a generic social positioning statement, for business calls you should be more specific with outcomes that specific titles would likely be interested in – not products and features.

At the start of a sales call, a 20-word or less description of outcomes your customers can achieve can steer the conversation in a positive direction. 

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

Sales Training Workshops

Frank Visgatis

As co-founder, President & Chief Operating Officer of CustomerCentric Systems®, LLC and co-author of the CustomerCentric Selling® sales methodology, Frank Visgatis drives the overall direction and strategy for CustomerCentric Systems®, LLC, leveraging 20 years of leadership experience. Visgatis knows how to conceptualize and execute a new business strategy into a winning company. He has done it numerous times - from co-founding a thriving commercial and residential real estate holding company to transforming a private consulting practice into one of the most successful sales training providers in the country. His ability to identify trends and changes in the sales ecosystem has helped improve the dynamic of interaction between sellers and buyers through the development of CustomerCentric Selling® and Sales Ready Messaging®. Visgatis' vision has propelled CustomerCentric Systems®, LLC as one of the industry's top providers of sales process consulting, sales training and Sales Ready Messaging®.

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