What kind of __________ are you?

Last week I was in the kitchen making supper while Joe was watching TV and I overheard this snip of conversation:

Guy: So what kind of Realtor are you?

Woman: Residential. (pause) With commercial on the side.

Patty: No! Wrong answer!

Joe: [rolls his eyes]

(I’m not in the room, but I know he’s rolling his eyes…because he’s tired of my constant unfiltered commentary on every advertisement, billboard or snippet of business conversation I hear. )

No one wants to hire the person who does the thing they’re looking for “on the side”

If I ask a vet what kind of vet she is…an answer of “cats. ferrets, hamsters, oh…and dogs on the side” means Brodie and I are looking elsewhere.

People throw it in because they’re afraid of missing out on some business. (I could hear the gears turning in the TV woman’s head: what if he wants a commercial Realtor???)

But it detracts from your message in 2 ways:

  1. It devalues the Main Thing You Do because it makes you sound distracted or uncommitted. This is especially true if The Thing You Do on the Side is completely unrelated: “I mainly do residential real estate. But I also raise ferrets and sell jewelry on the side.”
  2. It presents The Other Thing You Do as an afterthought. Which isn’t appealing. Would you hire a heart surgeon who does cardiac work “on the side”?

So, instead of promoting 2 services – you actually negate both of them.

We don’t want to work with someone who does what we’re looking for “on the side” – we want to work with a specialist.

It also doesn’t move the conversation forward or provide any real information about how you can help or what sets you apart.

When people ask for more information about what you do – they actually want more information about what you could do for them

What kind of Realtor am I? The kind with like…lawn signs and stuff…

So let’s consider some alternatives for our fictional real estate lady.

What kind of Realtor am I?

  • The kind who fiercely negotiates so my clients sell their houses at the higher price.
  • The kind who charges half the commission of my competitors.
  • The kind who creates an entire website dedicated to each listing.
  • The kind who brings in a home stager to make sure that your home is shown looking its absolute best.
  • The kind who checks in with every client, every week to give them an update.
  • The kind who bakes bread at open houses to make the home smell more appealing to potential buyers.
  • The kind who sold more homes in this neighbourhood than anyone else last year.

How to present your business in the best light, stand out from the crowd and say something memorable

While being asked “what kind of a ____ are you?” isn’t the most common question you’ll get, it’s a great opportunity to come up with a good line you can use to show how you’re different from others in your field.

What kind of windows do I sell? The kind that don’t crash!

Here are some ideas for crafting a more enthusiastic response to someone seeking more information about your business.

Counter a common objection

The other day someone said that “web designers are notorious for being late on projects.” (A complaint I’ve heard many times!)

A good response for a web designer might be: “I’m the kind of web designer who always delivers on schedule.”

Show how you’re different or how you go above and beyond

I’m the kind of graphic designer who offers unlimited revisions.

Clarify who your ideal clients are

I’m the kind of coach who helps graduate students finish their dissertations.

Talk about your accomplishments with clients

I’m the kind of career coach who helped her client land her dream job at double her former salary.

Your turn! What kind of a _____ are you?

Comment below. Best answer wins a prize!

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