Answering “What Do You Do?” – Keep It Simple & Soulful

Do you know you’re special and unique, but when you answer the question “What do you do?”, you get polite nodding, but not a lot of new clients? 

You’re passionate, but people can’t see how it relates to them. Or it comes out flat or boring. It ends up sounding similar to what other holistic practitioners do, but you know that’s not true. You have your own way of doing things, and you know what you do is special and different from just “any chiropractor”, “any massage therapist”, or “another health coach”.

I used to hate getting asked this question.  Because I couldn’t stand it being generic, I would decide beforehand what I would say to answer that question.  But when it came out, it sounded canned and emotionless.  The reaction?  Eyes glazed over with a “that’s nice” kind of look.  I didn’t seem to get a lot of clients because of what I said.

What about you?  What do you say to the question “what do you do”?  Maybe you say “I’m a [INSERT specialty] chiropractor.”  Or “I give massages so people can feel relaxed and not so stressed out. “   Even though you don’t mean to, it comes out generic.

Or maybe you are full of passion—in fact you get so excited about what you do.  You throw out words like “live healthier lives”, or “feel better”, “treatment plan”, “chi”, or “peripheral nerves” regardless of who you’re talking to.  You know what you’re talking about, but even though the person you talk to looks at you and nods politely as if they understand, they’re secretly thinking “I have no idea what this person’s talking about, but let me nod my head to be polite.”

If people aren’t lighting up and telling you they either want to work with you, or that they will think of someone to refer to you, it’s time for a new approach.

What’s the secret to talking about what you do so people who are the right match will say “I’ve got to work with you!” (or refer people to you)?  All without sounding boring or canned?  Keep it simple and soulful.

Being unique and standing out is the key to people coming to you and seeking you out.

One powerful way to keep it soulful is to use stories when you talk about what you do.  My Consistent Clients Makeover Mentorship for Introverts clients have been working on using stories to stand out from their competition.   One way they’re using stories to bring out their uniqueness is sharing the before and after story about what happened with one of the patients /clients they’ve worked with.

Here’s an example:
Instead of
I am an acupuncturist and help people with digestive issues”,
I am an acupuncturist and help people with digestive issues.  One of my clients I helped recently came to me when __________________[SHARE THE BEFORE STORY].  After we worked together, she no longer has to tiptoe around the foods she eats.  She stopped taking her 5 different stomach medications altogether and her gastroenterologist can’t believe it.

Which one gets you more excited about the possibility of working with the acupuncturist?
The second one, right?

The before & after is an important part of introducing yourself.  The other key part of coming across so people will say “I’ve got to work with you!” or refer people to you) comes from getting across what else makes you unique.  There’s a simple way to put it all together, so you will no longer come across as just another naturopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, health coach, or energy/spiritual healer.

You ARE special, and it’s really important to know how to communicate it so that what’s special about you really comes across.  It’s also important that you say just enough—not too much or too little, so you don’t get the friendly nod but “in one ear & out the other”.

After someone is interested in your story and your uniqueness, then confidently have a conversation that inspires them to become a paying client, without being pushy. You’ll start seeing people talk themselves into working with you.

Did you find this helpful? Comment below on what you learned. Share the insight you have on how to start making your introductions more simple and soulful without boring people, or being forgettable.  If you want the exact step-by-step formula to getting easily getting clients in the door from casual conversations or by sending 1 email, click here for more details of the Clients Say Yes Formula.


  1. Avis on December 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

    “Story” seems to be the key and to use a basic story that changes according to situations, time and place will benefit you and bring the interest and clients.
    Approach when speaking individually or to a group is also very important.
    A short and a longer answer to, “What do you do” can be practiced to sound exciting and instantaneous (Although obviously it is not quite that!)

    • Chen Yen on January 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Yes, Avis. Most holistic practitioners don’t realize how key your story is to attracting clients. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Lisa on November 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    OptiMOM Coaching™:
    expressing, supporting, empowering, equipping, reflecting, and facilitating the optimal expression of authentic mothering potential

    Always gets clearer each time I say it. Thanks for the opportunity! I appreciate when the response is “tell me more”.

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