Become a Business Magnet


If you look through the ads on these pages, you will see that many of us offer services as opposed to actual products. Somehow, when you have an actual product to sell, it seems slightly easier to answer the question everyone asks when they first meet you.


One of the greatest confusions in talking about, and marketing, professional services is that we tend to answer the questions about our services at face value.


This is a big mistake because what people ask and what they really want to know are two quite different things. So, if you answer the question they ask, they don’t get the answers they want.


Confusing? Definitely!


The first question everyone asks us is “What do you do?” That’s THE question. But if we answer it at face value we don’t communicate much of real value:


“I’m a management consultant.” (OK, now I have your title, but I really don’t know what that means to me.) or…


“I do workshops on productivity and performance.” (Better, but I’m thinking – so what?) or…


“I work with software firms to be more productive and profitable.” (Yeah, I could see that this would be valuable.) or…


“I work with small business owners who struggle to accomplish everything they need to do for their business so I help them get organized.” (OK. Now you’re getting much closer – at least I’m beginning to get the idea).


So what’s the underlying question to “What do you do?” My observation is that it’s, “Are you someone who can help me?


”Picture everyone walking around with a sign around their neck that has these letters on it “WIIFM”. It stands for the ONLY thing people really care about when they meet you – “What’s in it for me… if I do business with you?” That is truly the only question you need to answer when you introduce yourself and tell them what you do.


Now, using the example above, the person you’re talking to may or may not feel overwhelmed with their business issues (if they don’t feel that way, they probably know someone who does!) but you’ve hit a vital nerve with your answer. None of the other answers even get close.


Wouldn’t it be great if it got easier from there? Well, it doesn’t! Because people keep talking in code. And you have to decipher the next one as well. Here it is:


“That’s great, how do you do that? But don’t go there. That is NOT what they are really asking!


Translate the question as follows: “What kind of results do you produce for your clients?” Then answer like this:


“The clients who work with me become profitable in six months or less and stop struggling with cash flow.” This is music to the ears. The language of results. Just make sure you talk about what you can really deliver.


I have an idea I use all the time in my marketing and it permeates everything I do and say. (By the way, it is important to be consistent in how you promote yourself. Once you figure it out, stick with it!) It’s all focused on results:


I tell prospects I will turn you into a “business magnet” so that you will:


Attract the people who need and want what you offer


Are willing and able to pay for your products/services


So value the results you produce they become raving fans


Constantly tell others who want and need… 


Those results resonate with most people who want to be more successful in business (my target market) and I am suddenly on their radar screen. This kind of marketing language will get the attention and interest of prospects, and make them want to know more. But you’re not done yet. You’re going to get more coded questions:


“That’s terrific. But how does your service work?”


The red lights should go off at this point. Don’t go down that path. The vast majority tend to go in one of two directions:


They go into “tech-talk” that explains their approach or process in excruciating detail. But tech-talk (don’t mean “technology language here – I mean anything that relates to your specific business but isn’t common, everyday language.) can be confusing to the average layman: “The sub-optimal performance horizon undermines the maximization of variable input factors in the productivity matrix. So we co-harmonize these factors.” Huh??


Or they go in the opposite direction explaining how their service works in terms so generic that they lose all impact. “Well, we’re all about productivity, alignment and commitment. When we get those things going, results tend to improve pretty fast.” Well, Duh!


Both of these approaches are dead ends. Nobody really wants to know how your service works. The hidden question behind the question is:  “Do your services actually work?”


That would be a little rude, wouldn’t it? But answer it, nevertheless, as follows:


Tell a story. Success stories that outline how you helped a specific client gets listeners hanging on your every word:


“We met with a small business owner recently who was overwhelmed with all the different things she needed to do to help her business to grow. I guided her to better organization, taught her how to manage her time and her projects and now she is profitable and growing quickly.”


Not so hard right? You can do this quite successfully with a little practice. You should prepare several success stories in verbal and written form. They are a powerful persuasion tool.


There’s one more question – “How much do you charge? (That really shows a lack of common business sense. Just had a prospect ask me that at the dining table during a large network event. What if I had thought I might give him a special price – I certainly would NOT tell him that in front of others.) More on that topic to come.


Starting to get the idea? Pay attention and learn what they are really asking – not just the words used!


Join us 3rd Thursday each month for the “Become a Business Magnet luncheon and workshop. Register at This event is co-sponsored by WNC Woman but it is for all men and women who are interested in growing a more successful business. 


Saralyn Collins focuses on the RESULTS she will produce for her clients through consulting, coaching and training. For information, contact her at or 828-649-8011 

Written by Saralyn Collins