I often ask advisors and consulting partners to rate themselves, from one to ten, on how well they think they answer the question "What do you do?"
Most give themselves a seven or eight. But is this really true? If we consider a ten a pitch so clear, interesting, and magnetizing that listeners would immediately want to introduce you to their relationships that fit your target audience, I believe the average rate is closer to three or four.
This doesn't mean you're in trouble. It's a sign there's big room for improvement. Improving how you communicate what your work is about will increase your marketing and sales effectiveness, as it's the starting point of any business conversation.
But there's one powerful idea that is often neglected: Polarization.
Daniel Priestley, in his book "Key Person of Influence", wrote about it:
"A polite comment is one of the worst responses you can get when you tell people what you do. It is polite responses that keep you looking good but going nowhere. You can go nowhere for years because of polite responses.
(...)What you want is an emotionally-charged response. They should either love it or hate it. Ideally, you want to see some immediate action.
You want people to engage with you. They should either want to pull out their diary and make a time to talk to you, open their contacts and put you in touch with someone they know or tell you "Your idea will never work!"
Many of you know the value of being concise and specific in your pitch. What is missing is courage and client orientation. Put yourself in the listener's place for a second.
When asked what you do, is "I'm a market research consultant for luxury retail brands" the best way to make people engage with you? It's clear, but certainly not moving.
I'm as guilty as you are here, and have already scheduled time to review and improve my pitch. When are you doing the same?