If you're hesitant about marketing your professional services because you don't know what to say, this article will help. I advise that you anticipate and prepare responses to the most common questions a potential client might ask. This is just the same as preparing for a job interview - you give some thought to the typical questions and practice what you are going to say. Of course, you can't anticipate all the questions and you certainly don't want to come across like a robot, but it does help to be prepared. Here are four common questions you might be asked about your services, along with some suggestions on how to answer.
1. What do you do?
The key here is to keep it short and give concrete examples of what you help people with. Make your examples very specific and tailored to what regular people can relate to. Avoid technical or jargony language that potential clients will not understand.
The key thing to say is "I help _______ (type of person or business) with __________(what you help them with)."
2. How does that work?
Don't go into a long explanation of the process. A couple of short sentences will suffice.
"I meet with my clients and we set up a plan. Then I ________ (what you do for them)."
3. What's your background?
Again, keep it short and sweet. People don't want your entire career history. They ask this question for one of two reasons: 1) they're curious about your job and wonder how they could get into that line of work, or 2) they're intrigued by the idea of hiring you and want to know a bit more about you.
"I'm an experienced ________, and I specialize in ______. I've been doing this type of work for ___ years."
4. Can you help with _________?
Answer honestly but use your imagination. If it's clearly outside your area of expertise, say: "I don't help people with _______, but if you're interested I can probably recommend someone who does." If you're not sure if you can help, or you think the problem they have described might not be the root of the issue, say something like: "Tell me more about what's going on with _______ for you." If you know you can help, say: "Sure, that's exactly the type of thing I help with. Tell me more about what you want to achieve."
Keep in mind that when people ask you these type of questions, they aren't trying to test your knowledge or trip you up. They are simply curious. They want to learn more so they can decide whether hiring you would be of benefit to them. So keep your answers short and simple, and reply with a confident smile.
By Barbara Sundquist
Photography by Florian Ispas
Check out business consultant Barbra Sundquist's home business blog for practical advice on how to successfully run your business without having it run you. Barbra covers everything from marketing to setting up a business Paypal account.