Is there a right answer to the “What Do You Do” question?
Any business person worth his or her salt knows they need an “elevator pitch”—the quick, succinct summation of the value their company delivers, i.e., of their Value Proposition.
We all know the lesson: An executive asked “What do you do?” must respond with the Value Proposition, a short statement about their business, that should last no longer than the average elevator ride.
But most executives fail miserably at this — and on do so two counts:
1. Research (and simple observation) shows that many executives pay little attention to the continuing development of their elevator pitch
2. Most executives who do have an elevator pitch, have just one
Fail #1: Not keeping the “Elevator Pitch” fresh
Every business grows and changes, if for no other reason than the world around it changes. As a result, the pitch needs to grow and change with it. Clearly, if your Value Proposition (and therefore your elevator pitch) is out of date, you’re missing one of your most important opportunities to “brand” (disclaimer: I hate that word); develop the business; and, yes, sell.
Fail #2: Not having more than one “Elevator Pitch” version
Each business model has several target audiences, ranging from users, prospects, clients, investors, channel partners, etc., all working together to deliver results and value. While the core Value Proposition is unitary, your various audiences need to have different aspects of your Value Proposition emphasized.
As a result, you need to adjust the pitch to the person who is listening, and refine it as you and your business continue to grow and change. In other words, you need several, complementary Value Proposition statements ready to be delivered to the right audience.
In that short elevator ride, the right answer to “What do you do?” is, “What do YOU do?”