Why you are not as cool as you think you are (and what to say when someone asks what you do)

An interesting reminder during a prospect telephone call yesterday that not everybody knows how well known we think we are.

Just like you, I’ve invested a lot of time and money over the years in creating as much information about myself (and what I do) as possible:

  • a web site
  • my social media channels
  • a very well maintained Linkedin profile
  • thousands of blog posts
  • numerous newsletters
  • an archive of intellectual property
  • articles for magazines
  • e-books and books
  • a podcast (with Ashley – don’t panic – we’ll be back soon)

It’s not necessary for me but I’ll bet you have your fair share of print media as well – business cards, welcome packs and all that jazz.

So it can be a little daunting when a prospective new client asks:

You have been recommended to me by a mutual friend but could you explain to me exactly what it is that you do?

My gut response is “don’t you know who I am?” but, of course, the clue is in the question – no – she doesn’t know who I am – our planets haven’t crossed.

So we quickly have to come up with the answer.

Option 1

  • I qualified as a coach in 1996
  • I’ve been working with dental practices for 20 years full-time this year
  • I stopped counting at 2,000 practices
  • I’m blessed to work with some of the best
  • I have an extensive network within the profession and the supporting trade

Blah, blah – credentials, credentials. Easily done (in fact, I started with that and had to kick myself in the shin).

Option 2

The type of people who hire me:

  • have just started in ownership and want a mentor
  • have reached a glass ceiling and want to break through to a higher level
  • have a single site and want to become a micro-corporate
  • have a good team/clinicians and want them to get better
  • have decided that its time to sell their practice(s)
  • have decided to hire a marketing manager and want help with the hire, the training and the implementation of a marketing plan
  • have had enough of poor work/life balance and want their lives back
  • have had enough of worry and stress and want to stop struggling

Which of these do you think is the most engaging:

Option 1 – let me tell you how clever I am.

Option 2 – let me tell you about the people I work with and the difference I make.

So a reminder this morning for me (and you):

  • we aren’t as famous as we think we are
  • the somebody asks us “what we do”, what they are really asking is “what difference do you make?”

Answer the second question and you will get the gig.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.