A Professional Tease

Jan
25
2015

I’m a really good listener. Lots of people claim to be. But I have to be, because, I’m a professional listener.

“Wait,” you think. “You’re a copywriter. You’re a professional writer.”

True.

I ask good questions. Again, lots of people ask really excellent, even profound questions. Talk show hosts get paid millions of dollars to ask questions. Of course, someone comes up with the questions for them. I work more like an investigative journalist. I develop and ask very specific questions. I’m a professional questioner.

“But you’re not a journalist,” you point out. “You write websites.”

True.

I’m a professional teaser. I work with a lot of young companies. They’re dynamic places, with incredible ideas, run by brilliant people. Yet they often have a difficult time explaining what they do, or what they produce. Sometimes this is because it’s new. At other times, it’s technical. Most people talk a lot about the services they provide, or the features that their product has, or how they’re better than their competitors. Somewhere in all of that, there’s the core of what they actually do or produce. It’s up to me to tease it out of them.

This isn’t limited to new companies. Established organizations can reach a point where they do so many things that it’s difficult for them to succinctly say what they do.

I tease the information out of my clients by asking a lot of questions.

Then I listen. I really listen. Because what I need to hear, often never gets said. I have to infer it out from what they’re actually saying.

My Q&A sessions can sound a little like therapy. I ask a question. I get an answer. After I digest the answer, I say something like, “What I think you’re trying to say is…” and I fill in the blanks as best as I can. Then they usually refine what they were trying to say.

I thoroughly enjoy this process. I get a crash course in an industry, a company, their services, products and people. I get exposed to new ideas, and get to engage with people who are passionate about what they do. I get to help them express that. By teasing it out of them, I often get them to realize precisely what it is that they do.

Many of my clients have never examined their company so closely. Because it’s so deeply ingrained in them, they feel that they don’t have to. Often, at the end of my teasing sessions, they see their company with more clarity than they’ve ever seen it before.

Professional Teaser. I like it as my new title. I think I need new business cards.

The Great Rabbit Mark

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