You’re at a Summer BBQ and get asked “so what do you do?”

How to answer this question properly these holidays.

By Dan Rowell

10 December 2018
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Failure to clearly explain to friends and family what you do for a living can often result in one of two things:

1. They think they know what you do and send you really bad but well meaning referrals.
2. They have no idea what you do and buy services you sell from SOMEONE ELSE!

It’s easy to get frustrated. I certainly used to when both of these things happened to me on multiple occasions.

There are cool professions which don’t experience this kind of thing, like doctors, pilots, professional chess players. They say what they do and people get it and probably ask a hell of a lot more questions. “How much money is in chess?!”

But how often when you say “I’m in marketing” or “I’m a software engineer”, do people stare at you, eyes glazed, and politely say “Oh cool.” Then to fill the silence, you have to jump in and ask the same question, focusing the conversation on what they do.

Do you blame them?

Our trick is: specify, simplify and offer examples.

For example, when people used to ask me what I did, I would say “I am in branding and marketing.”

It’s fine, but super broad and gives no real insight into what we actually do.

Now I say “I help business owners, specifically those in professional services like accountants, lawyers and architects build stronger first impressions through better branding and design. This often means updating their website, their logo, and other marketing material. Essentially it’s about helping them make more money and build a better reputation.”

This is your BBQ pitch. Not to be confused with an elevator pitch. There are no elevators at BBQs (if so, I’m going to the wrong barbeques).

We do both of these for business owners all of the time. The BBQ pitch is often MORE important than the elevator pitch because they are free from jargon or industry buzz words which we get away with in sales presentations and new business meetings.
You don’t want to try out your corporate Elevator Pitch at a party. “We specialise in helping business owners crystallise and clearly articulate their core value proposition and bring that to life through engaging design across all of their internal and external communications.” Trust me, nobody is hanging round to ask more questions after I’ve dropped that on them!

Once you have a clearly defined BBQ pitch, share it with your friends and family, be proud of it, own it.

Here are a few examples of BBQ pitches we’ve written for clients, simplified against their elevator counterparts.

Seq – Diagnostics platform for Software Developers

Elevator Pitch

Seq is a diagnostics platform used by software developers at leading companies to confidently operate and manage the systems their businesses rely on.
It surfaces detailed information in real-time that helps developers identify small issues before they become big problems.

BBQ Pitch

Seq is like a flight recorder for complex software systems. It tracks everything that’s happening in real-time, so that if something goes wrong, developers can pinpoint exactly where the problem is.

Project Showcase
Client Site

Phillips Basile Equipment Finance

Elevator Pitch
We are specialists in heavy equipment finance broking, with a key differentiator being the high level of service and support we can offer to every client.

BBQ Pitch

We’re equipment finance brokers with a focus on heavy machinery. We help business owners get better finance deals on big ticket items like trucks or trailers, earthmoving equipment or planes.

Project Showcase
Client Site

 

So here’s to nailing your pitch these holidays – now the next time your mum calls and says, “I met someone who could be a great client for you”, it could actually be a solid lead!

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