“SO WHAT?!?!?”


These may well be the two most important words that any entrepreneur ever learns. For that matter they are equally important if you are in sales, customer service, retail or even trying to explain a new concept to a 5-year-old.

I made mention of the words “So What” in my article  on the 30 second introduction. I make mention of it again in another article on Presentation Skills that I posted in Slide Share format.

Business Entrepreneur

Business Entrepreneur (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So what you say does “So What” mean?

In the simplest form it goes like this………

Every time you make a statement to anyone else about yourself, your business, your job, your products, services you provide or any new topic that you want to introduce into a conversation, pause right after you say it and silently ask yourself the question “So what?”

Now go ahead and answer that question out loud to the person you are talking with.

Why “So what”?

Entrepreneurs and sales people both share a common tendency. When asked what it is that they do they go into what I refer to as “Burst transmission; feature dump” They rattle off a laundry list of things that their product or service does or provides as quickly as they can in some vague attempt to cram as much information in just as quickly as they can.

My favorite analogy is the old Vegomatic “It slices, it dices, it Julliens”.  Stop me when you hear something you like. Wanna buy it?

Usually the person on the receiving end of one of those winds up with their eyes glazed over as they frantically scan the room for someone, anyone, that they absolutely have to go talk with, thereby making good their escape from you.

The “So What” mantra is also applied to print ads and TV ads. One ad I saw on TV makes extensive use of the principle of “So What?”  It features a young boy explaining his dad’s new minivan.  I am not here to promote a specific product so I wont put in a link to the advert but it goes something like this;

 It’s got storage under the fold down seats so I can take all my games when we go to Grandma’s house”

“It also has a built-in CD player in the back of the headrest so my sister and I can watch cartoons and not fight while we drive to Grandma’s”

“It has a back up camera so Dad doesn’t run over my sister’s bike when he backs out of the driveway”

Most advertisers would have just said “It has built-in CD players, under seat storage and a backup camera” To which I as a viewer would say “SO WHAT?”

The TV version gave us a reason to want each of the feature. Storage?

Q:   So what?

A:Take all my stuff with me.

DVD player?

Q: So what?

A: Peace in the family, entertainment for the kids

Backup Camera?

Q: So what?

A: So dad wont run over my sister’s bike.

Answering the question “So What?” after every statement makes each statement more powerful. Try it the next time you are creating a flyer to send out or even the next time someone asks you at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, “So what do you do?”

That brings us to “State what you do in 10 words or less (including the “So what?”) and that my friends is a whole different blog article.