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Sales Tips: How to Respond to "What Do You Do for a Living?"

Posted by Jill Perez on May 20, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Sales Tips: How to Respond (and Not Respond) to "What Do You Do for a Living?"

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® - The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During initial social meetings, a common icebreaker is asking people what they do for a living. Telling people you’re in Sales usually leads to the follow up question:  What do you sell? In most cases sellers happy-hourmake mention of products they sell. This may not be a great direction to take the conversation.

How NOT to Respond
For example, my response could be: I sell sales training. I suspect someone unfamiliar with selling wouldn’t ask any follow up questions related to my profession and my response might cause an awkward silence. Anybody having some knowledge of selling would be likely to ask what type of training, who attends, do we offer distance learning, etc. To me, sharing facts about what you sell is pedestrian fodder.

What You SHOULD Say Instead
An alternative would be to offer a positioning statement that attempts to elevate conversations. My response could have been: I help organizations identify and share best selling practices so they can meet revenue targets. I hope you’d agree that positioning statements more readily lead to conversations about outcomes that organizations or executives are hoping to achieve.

A significant step in becoming proficient at B2B sales is the realization that you may sell offerings at user levels, but more accurately your job is enabling executive buyers to achieve desired business outcomes through the use of your offerings. These are the people that can fund initiatives.

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Topics: sales tips, selling tips, sales process, sales technique, sales tip, selling technique