Small Business Marketing

How to Answer ‘What Do You Do?’ in 5 Ways that Communicate More Than Your Job Title

The question “What do you do?” has basically become synonymous with “Who are you?”. There’s a reason it almost always follows “What’s your name?” in polite conversation.

But there’s another thing that can be communicated when you answer that question.

When you say, “I’m a lawyer” and offer nothing more, most people don’t know where to go with a short answer like that. They may dig further and ask, “What kind of lawyer?”, but they also may not. A truncated answer can lead to a truncated relationship.

If you want people to refer business to you, tell them how you help, not what you do.

So How Do You Answer ‘What Do You Do’?

If you’re at a networking event or trying to foster referrals, you’ll need a better answer than your job title. 

The question “What do you do?” isn’t going to go away, so you may want to have a canned answer that can help you make the most of these exchanges. 

Even if you’re in a job that you feel doesn’t require much explanation—for example, in accounting, law, or finances—giving more than your job title in response to this question is important.

But how can you do that without looking like you’re bragging or espousing your resume?

Here are five ways to answer this common question so that you don’t sound arrogant, but still demonstrate exactly what you do.

1. Talk About How You Help People

You might be a digital marketer (wink). Or you might be someone who helps lost websites get found. And doesn’t the latter sound infinitely more interesting?

Using a unique phrase to describe your job instantaneously removes stereotypes about what you do and explains the value you bring to the table. 

Start your next response with “I help people…” and see where the conversation takes you from there.

2. Share an Anecdote About Your Business

Storytelling is always compelling. It helps us make connections. You get to provide context for the person you’re talking to, instead of relying on them to fill in the blanks with their own limited experience.

For example, let’s say you’re an estate planning attorney. You can say, “I just finished up a probate case that ended with a $45k settlement from my client’s mother’s estate. She expected she would need to come out of pocket to sell her mother’s home, but instead we were able to help her through this difficult time.”

Find a great anecdote about your business and share it. Infinitely more relatable.

3. Educate Them

When someone asks you what you do, they are asking to learn about you. Educate them! You are educating the other person on the subject of you.

Talk about the most interesting thing you’ve learned lately. Talk about the void in the market that you are filling. Talk about the latest thing happening in your industry.

Demonstrate expertise, but ideally, give them information that may be useful to them.

4. Be Self-Promotional

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone just let down the veil and really opened up about what they are good at? More people would be doing things they love. We would, collectively, be happier.

So, don’t be shy. You’re actually doing everyone a favor by being honest about what you’re good at and it makes you infinitely more interesting and referable.

5. Ask About Them

Demonstrating who you are can be as much about what you say as it is what you DON’T say.

If you want to really engage someone, give a full answer to their question, but then respond in kind. Ask them leading questions about what they do. If they say they’re a lawyer, ask them what they love about it. Who they help. What can we learn from them.

Responding this way will offer a balanced, not bragging, conversation and you could come to really enjoy the company of some of your professional colleagues.

Don’t let the question, “What do you do?” limit you. You’re not only your job title. Using the tips above will demonstrate the three-dimensional person you are and help you connect on a human level.

People love to work with and refer those they know, like, and trust. Having open and full answers to the existential “What do you do?” question will only strengthen that connection!

Not sure how you provide value to your clients? Let us help you nail your marketing strategy by booking a free consultation at GoBeyond!


Redefining the Sale: Serve Your Clients, Don’t Sell

We all have moments when we get weird about money. It’s one of the biggest fears among professionals. There are literally thousands of brilliant people who work for or run a business and they are terrified of sales.

“I’ll do any job, in any department, but please not sales. Anything but sales!”

But why? Why is the act of selling such a terrifying thing?

Without compassion and purpose, selling something to someone feels like a lie, a rip-off, a scam. The sale benefits the seller, not the buyer. Everyone knows that. Right?

Not so fast. The truth is that we don’t need to fear sales or cringe at the word. But we do need to redefine sales as a service you provide for your customer. Serve, don’t sell.

Liston Witherill, host of the Serve Don’t Sell podcast, developed this phrase, philosophy, and book. And his idea goes something like this: if you’re not helping your client, you’re hurting them. Either by wasting their time, their money, or both. That’s why sales can feel gross sometimes.

But how can you serve your clients if you don’t sell them your services?

To Serve Your Clients, Begin With Understanding Them

The energy and process we bring to selling is what will make all the difference. If you want to make a big show, flash your expertise, and demonstrate your industry dominance, have at it, but that expertise won’t help you sell.

Many experts fall into the rut of industry speak. The problem? It’s all about YOU, and we’ve established that clients aren’t really about that. Your clients don’t necessarily speak that language. They need you to understand their language and their problems.

So how can you serve them?

Listen first. Even and ESPECIALLY if you’ve heard it all before. Just because your client has come to you with a problem or pain point you see often in your industry, does not mean they’ve had the chance to be heard. Having your problem heard and validated is a fast track to developing mutual trust. 

Demonstrate value. When someone is new to what you offer, they’re usually most interested in the cost of the item so they can mentally check a box: Affordable or Not Affordable. We all do it. If you can demonstrate the benefit of what you do and how your service or solution will change their life for the better, then hit them with the cost. They’ll find ways to afford you because they see the value.

Remember the End Goal Isn’t About Making a Sale.

This is where the “Serve Don’t Sell” philosophy really hits home. Your goal isn’t to make a sale or reel in this client. It’s to serve them in whatever way they need most. You can determine what this is by:

Taking a wide view. Consider that their pain point or problem may only be a symptom. Taking the time to listen and ask questions that don’t EXACTLY come into play in your field may help paint a more clear picture and reveal multiple ways to offer your services and potentially recommend other services that you do not offer. Doing so positions you as a trusted advisor.

Checking yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I helping them?”. Sometimes helping them means you DON’T offer your services. They’re either not ready or not a good fit. YET. And there is a possibility that they may never be. When the dreaded SALES! fear shows up most is here. Don’t force it. Helping them could mean offering your services and moving them toward a goal. It can also look like referring them out.

By doing what’s best for the client, you not only create a foundation for a possible future relationship with this person or agency, but for any referrals they may send your way.

GoBeyond Is Dedicated to Serving Clients

When we named our company GoBeyond, we came to that name because of our experience in hospitality. We were trained to treat visitors to our restaurant, country club, bar, or hotel as a guest, not as a customer. We bring that energy to our company as well. We want our clients to feel that we go above and beyond their expectations. We practice what we preach!

Contact us at GoBeyond today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help you take your business to the next level by redefining the sales mindset!


How to Respond to a Potential Client With No Budget

You’re having coffee with a prospective client. You’re chatting with them and getting an understanding of what they need. As you draw close to discussing pricing or proposals, they hit you with, “I have no budget.”

Say what?

How do you respond to this kind of statement? This is important because it can set the tone for your entire relationship with this potential client.

The best way to respond is to put the responsibility back on them. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but you need to help them remember why you both agreed to meet in the first place—this meeting is to determine if you plan to work together. Their budget is their issue and cannot become yours.

Here’s how you can put the responsibility back on them.

Ask a Simple Question to Reframe the Conversation

When they hit you with the “I’ve got no budget” statement, here’s a possible response:

“Determining how much to spend on *WHATEVER SERVICE YOU ARE OFFERING* can be difficult to gauge, but since you have no budget, what were you hoping to gain from meeting today?”

The key here is to not sound aggressive or angry, but to ask the question calmly and fairly. Your time is valuable. Were they really just wasting it or was their expectation different?

Either way, this response puts the responsibility back on them.

Here are a few possible answers to that question:

  • “Well, I don’t have a BIG budget…”
  • “I wanted to see how much it would cost, so that when I DO have a budget…”
  • “I was hoping to barter…”

Here’s what clients without a budget are typically hoping for when scheduling a consultation with you:

  • Free information
  • A significant discount so you’ll fight to work with them
  • A proposal outlining a strategy or service

None of these things are solid footing for a client relationship. Ideally, you’ll be able to start seeing the “I have no budget” types before they land a precious meeting with you, but if you find yourself in a situation like this, it’s important to reframe the conversation.

They need to understand your time is valuable.

Simply by agreeing to the meeting, they’ve acknowledged the possibility of hiring you. By now saying they have no budget, they’re taking away that possibility and that’s a GIANT contradiction.

Determine How to Move Forward With Clarity

By asking them what they’re hoping to achieve, you’ve reframed the conversation in a way that will lead to one of two results, both of which are fine with you.

Result #1: They do have a budget and this statement reveals a (feeble) negotiation tactic. At this point, you can very politely establish that you don’t enjoy negotiation games, and you also demonstrate that you’re a straight-shooter and can be trusted.

Result #2: They really don’t have a budget and you’ll know this isn’t a prospect who will become a client. At this point, you’ll know this is a waste of your valuable time and not to pursue them any longer. Thank them for the nice conversation and give them an awkward “end of Zoom Call” wave.

When you realize your worth, you stop giving people discounts.

If you’re struggling to find clients who can afford your product or service, contact us at GoBeyond SEO to discuss how you can better connect with your target audience!

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Kristy is an Assistant & Coordinator of Awesome. She has worked extensively in academic administration and brings a varied wealth of knowledge. As a self-starter, she is ready to take on news projects and see them through to completion. Always curious, Kristy is an avid researcher and delights in the challenge of learning new skills.

When Kristy isn’t organizing or researching something, you can find her listening to a true crime podcast, re-watching How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory and coming up with some crazy shenanigan for her family’s next adventure.


  1. Kristy prefers the Harry Potter books over the movies. Her favorite book is The Prisoner of Azkaban and her favorite character is Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw house. She just started her 8-year-old son on listening to the books.
  2. Kristy has a nail technician license, esthetician license, medical assisting certification, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. She didn’t get her full cosmetology license because she can barely do her own hair, she shouldn’t be trusted with someone else’s.
  3. She doesn’t know how to gamble but is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. She moved to Colorado three months before her 21st birthday.
  4. Her high school graduating class consisted of only 20 people.
  5. Kristy loves gift giving. One of her great joys in life is finding the “perfect” gift.
Kristy Elias