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Virtual Assistants with an Identity Problem: What DO You DO? Answer This Question Effectively

Posted 11-10-2009 at 12:07 PM by Your Virtual Wizard  
As a virtual assistant, I am often asked, "What DO you DO?"

With about 5 seconds to capture the asker's interest before succumbing to the 'glazed over-deer-in-the-headlights-look' with my traditional, boring response, I decided to shake things up a bit…and respond with a question instead.

Now I know this goes against what my mother taught me, "Don't answer a question with a question..." but she'll forgive me for breaking the rules!

You see, as a virtual assistant…these two words do not really mean much at all to folks outside of the coaching, speaker, author or real estate professional industries, which tend to utilize my services more often for administrative and website work.

Explaining to folks what is I do through running off a list of services I offer rarely works either. And, when individuals learn my office is based out of my home that is the trigger that maybe I do not have a 'real job'.

Even my best elevator speech does not seem to get my point across.

I have an identity problem.

Confusion sets in and I still have not really explained what it is I do for a living.

So when I am asked, "What DO you DO?" I answer instead with, "Have you ever?"

So, Janine, "What is it that you do?"
Have you ever sat down to create a blog using Wordpress and realized you did know how to upload the theme to your website?

Answer: Well, I create blogs for customers who want to promote their services online to a target audience. I also write blog posts, offer up ideas for those who wish to write their own posts and edit those who send me their posts to upload.

So, Janine, "What is it that you do?"
Have you ever looked at stacks of business cards and wondered who within those cards is waiting for a sales call?

Answer: I can take those cards, update your client database so we can collaborate and send out email messages, ezines and events notices to your clients via autoresponder programs.

So, Janine, "What is it that you do?"
Have you ever written articles and wondered what else could be done with them?

Answer: Well, I can post your articles to varying ezine sites. I can repurpose your articles for blog posts and archive those articles on your website for your visitors to download.

Using Have You Ever to explain what a virtual assistant does is so much easier when the services are broken down in small bites. Rather than explain what a VA does, I explain what it is I have done and what I can do for them through examples. The Have You Ever reply causes people to think about their own circumstances which makes the point much more personal. And, since I am confident in the services I have provided, the words flow so much easier in a conversational tone as opposed to being robotic with my traditional response.

Clients see more value in this type of explanation…and no one has, thus far corrected my manners; not even my mother.
Total Comments 3


virtual writing's Avatar
Love it, love it! You are a truly creative thinker, Janine. Great ideas here - thanks so much!
Posted 11-11-2009 at 07:18 PM by virtual writing virtual writing is offline
Your Virtual Wizard's Avatar
Thank you, Mary. Coming from you, that compliment means much to me.

Of course, the examples I gave work only if the asker is someone who is a business owner but I've been able to change the answers around a bit for those who are not business owners by stating:

So, Janine, what is it that you do?

I say, "Have you ever tried to organize your holiday card list or business cards? Well, I do something similar for my clients. I organize their lists into a database which can later be used to send out a newsletter or an email broadcast.

I say, "Have you ever signed-up for a company newsletter? Well, I use a special program to create those documents."

I think the Have You Ever question/answer can be applied in nearly every circumstance.

It's so much easier than trying to itemize what I do. I tell you, people rarely remember what I do anyway. Most just say, 'She works from home'. Aargh!

Posted 11-12-2009 at 05:23 PM by Your Virtual Wizard Your Virtual Wizard is offline
ParadiseLegal's Avatar
Wow, Janine!! Another EXCELLENT post. I think I need to subscribe! ;-) Would you mind if I reposted this post to another VA group linking them back to your original post? I think this will be very helpful!
Posted 10-06-2010 at 05:35 AM by ParadiseLegal ParadiseLegal is offline

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