Crafting the Perfect One-Liner: So easy a caveman can do it!

“Hey, Adam. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

*…lingering dinner party-type small talk*

Then comes the question you’ve been dreading…

“So, what do you do?”

It’s amazing how many people simply can’t answer this question.

The more websites I see and the more organizations I work with, I’m realizing how many people can’t do it well.They can’t do it on their website. They struggle to do it in sales meetings. And they almost always blow it in casual conversation.

And it’s not their fault. They are just too close to their business and they fumble their words.

When they get asked what they do at a dinner party, most people lead with “well it’s complicated, but…”. Or they launch into story about how their grandfather started the company 40 years ago. And no one cares.

No one cares.

I’d consider myself a nice guy (I think…)

But if we start talking at a mixer and you tell me what you do is “complicated”, I’m immediately gonna be looking for the bathroom. It’s nothing personal, but you just told me that my brain will have to burn too many calories to understand…so instead I disengaged.

Why do we struggle?

A misunderstanding of who we are and what we do is a MAJOR reason why our businesses lose sales, organizations to stop receiving donations, and churches to miss reaching people in their community.

It’s not a lack of quality or ability, rather a lack of clarity that creates a gap between us and our audience.

This is known as “The Curse of Knowledge” – the gap between your understanding of what you offer and your customers (or target audience’s) understanding of what you offer.

Let’s think of it on a scale of 1-10.

You work in your organization day-in-day-out. You are so close to it and know it like the back of your hand. Your understanding of what you offer is a 10/10. However, someone who’s never been introduced to you or your service/product before may be at a 1/10.

Many of us, – with the best of intentions – try to simplify our message. But we can usually only get to around a level 6-7. We think we’ve done a great job, but yet we still struggle to make sales.

Why? Because people buy at a level 1-2.

It is critical for us to be able to dumb-down our message and “close the gap” that the curse of knowledge creates.

Inspired by StoryBrand.com

So I know your business is magnificent. It’s intricate and you are doing all of these amazing things to help people. But, if you can’t “dumb-down” your message to a level 1-2 people won’t buy.

It’s not that our customers are idiots. They are smart people. But we are distracted by so many messages and are so accustomed to being sold things, that our brains just tunes out.

Your business is magnificent. It’s intricate and you are doing all of these amazing things to help people. But if your customer can’t understand what you do within the first 5 seconds of the conversation or being on your website, you’ve lost them.

How can I nail it?

Simple answer: Talk like a Caveman.

I first heard this idea from a guy I respect a lot named Donald Miller. He talks about how your message needs to “pass the grunt test”. This is his way of saying that you should be able to explain your message or show your website to a caveman at a coffee shop, and he should be able to explain to you in broken, primitive english what you offer and how it adds value to his life.

ahh…clarity.

The best way to begin this process is to create an excellent One-Liner.

A “One-Liner” is a catchy phrase or short paragraph that help you communicate extremely clearly about who you are and what you do. I’ve seen One-Liners work wonders for small businesses inside and outside of their organization.

Here’s an example of my one-liner:

Many potentially great businesses miss out on the online engagement they want because they don’t know where to start or they’re not quite sure what to say when building a platform online – it’s just too ambiguous and broad. So I teach a simple, step-by-step framework that helps them clarify their message and make building an online platform “not scary”. And the results we see are remarkable. I believe it’s the fastest way to build a lasting connection with your customers and grow your business.”

This is what I say without fail when someone asks me what I do.

My one-liner has been super effective at networking event, meetings with clients, and even over lunch with friends. Several times I’ve used it to get business even though I wasn’t trying to sell anything.

But when you communicate clearly, you get people’s attention.

Let me explain briefly why I do it this way.

There are 3 parts to this One-Liner that help guarantee you don’t get ignored.

1) Start with the pain point

Many potentially great businesses miss out on the online engagement they want because they don’t know where to start or they’re not quite sure what to say when building a platform online – it’s just too ambiguous and broad.

2) Present your solution to the pain

So I teach a simple, step-by-step framework that helps them clarify their message and make building an online platform “not scary”

3) Paint a success picture of what life looks like after the pain is resolved.

And the results we see are remarkable. I believe it’s the fastest way to build a lasting connection with your customers and grow your business.

You see how this cuts through the nonsense and immediately projects confidence?

It also shows that you are focused on the people you serve – you know their needs, and gives credibility that you have a proven, value-added solution.

Now you are ready to start sharing your message with the world…with clarity that a caveman can understand. 😃

Wanna create your own?

And I have a short worksheet I want to share with you called the 3 Steps to Crafting the Perfect One-Liner Worksheet. This worksheet will make it easy to skip the word-fumbling and really grab people’s attention when they ask “so what is it that you do”

This is the best way that I’ve found to

Again, my one-liner has been super effective at networking event, meetings with clients, and even over lunch with friends. Several times I’ve used it to get business even though I wasn’t trying to sell anything.

But when you communicate clearly, you get people’s attention.

Action Steps

If we want to improve, we have to have a biased toward action. Here are your action step for this week!

A) Download the One-Liner worksheet I created to help you easily craft the perfect One-Liner.
B) Share your One-Liner in the comments so we can help one another refine them.
C) Check out Donald Miller’s podcast to here more about this tactic.

-Adam