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This may be hard to believe, but one of the most difficult things any business owner or employee is asked to do is to describe his or her business. When someone says, “What do you do?” do you tell them what you do or what you can do for them?

In other words, are you describing “Here’s What’s In It for Me” (WIIFM) or “Here’s What’s In It for Them” (WIIFT)?

It’s a tough habit to break — we want to tell people how we do what we do. Sorry, but for the most part, they don’t care. Instead, what they really want to know is why they should work with you and how they will benefit. In fact, they’re asking themselves, “What’s In It For Me?”

  • Let’s say you have an accounting firm. Do you tell potential clients, “I can reconcile your books” or might you describe how your tax rules expertise could save them an average of 20% in income taxes this year?
  • As an insurance salesperson, which pitch: “I sell life insurance” or “I can show you how the purchase of life insurance can be a valuable investment portfolio tool,” is a better hook?
  • Which is more intriguing: “We’re a structural engineering firm” or “We figure out how to, literally, move mountains.”

Conveying the benefits of working with your company is the branding message carried throughout your marketing materials — from your tagline, to your website and collateral content, to your elevator pitch, collateral, social media and advertising. And if that message is clever, catchy and memorable…all the better.

Avis doesn’t say, “We Rent Cars.” Avis says, “We Try Harder.” Bounty doesn’t sell paper towels, they make “The Quicker Picker Upper.” And Disneyland isn’t just any old amusement park, it’s “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Each of these companies is sending a branding message…one designed to let you know “What’s In It For You.”

There are a zillion people out there doing what you do…how do you do it differently and better? Why should someone work with you…“What’s In It For Them?”

Now go pitch that.