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What to Say When Someone Asks “What do you do?”

by Bill Cates

By Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE

When you gather with friends and family over the coming days and weeks, and they say to you – for the 10th time – “What is it that you do again?” Here’s something you can say that could easily spark a further conversation – either then or down the road when the timing is right.

Most of the readers of this blog are financial professionals of some type – but not all. While the example I’m about to give will be perfect for a financial advisor, it really applies to just about any business or profession.

The Principle

Being clear and confident about where you are and where you are headed – in any area of your life – feels good. I think it’s a pretty basic human need. For example, everyone wants to feel clear and confident with their finances. Everyone wants to feel clear and confident with our relationships. Everyone wants to feel clear and confident with regard to all aspects of their business and personal lives. The problem is, they don’t always make the time or seek the help to gain that clarity and confidence. This creates frustration and anxiety.

When you talk about helping your clients become clear and confident, you touch on both the tangible level (measurable) and feeling level (intangible). When you talk about your business in terms of clarity and confidence, you are hitting on core elements that will pique someone’s interest in learning more about your process and, hopefully, working with you or introducing you to others.

The Execution

So what might this sound like? I’m glad you asked.

“Well, George – What we do boils down to three main things. First, we help our clients create clarity about where they are and where they want to be in terms of their financial lives. We’ve found that, even very successful people, aren’t always clear about this important topic. In this process, we help our clients uncover the opportunities and obstacles to financial independence.

Second, based on what we learn, we help them put a plan in place – to get to where they want to go; removing the obstacles and taking advantages of the opportunities as much as possible.

Third, with this clarity and plan in place, our clients tell us they feel extreme confidence. They feel confident that they have addressed what many people never truly focus on. I can’t tell you how many times at the end of our meeting, my clients say, “We always feel much better about our future when we meet with you.”

So I guess you could say I’m in the Clarity and Confidence business.

Of course, your words will likely be different. You’ll make it suit the work you do and your style of delivery.

Give this a try. Practice it a few times while driving to and from appointments. Try it out with a couple of friends or family – maybe even on the way to Thanksgiving dinner!   And then tell me how it’s working for you. I’ve been teaching this long enough to know that you can create some great perception of value with this simple strategy.

What is working for you when it comes to how you talk about your value? Really! Tell me! I’d enjoy hearing from you. Send an email directly to me at

Referral Coach