There is an old and biblical adage that says, “Ask, and you will receive.”

We as entrepreneurs are not exempt from this truth, but, unfortunately, we often act like we are. We seem to live under the assumption that the more we tell about ourselves, the more business we will get.

The truth is, people don’t really like to be told anything. And they aren’t really all that interested in you (sorry, but it is the truth!).

However, people do like to talk, they like to “get stuff,” and they like to get rid of their problems. So the best way to attract people to you is to ask them about their situation and explain how they will benefit by working with you. And STOP talking about yourself so much!

This holds true in your elevator speech, your slogan, and your conversations with prospective clients.

You can reduce your message to the basic statement: I help __insert name for your target market___ to __insert the best result you get for your target market___ . Of course, you should adapt this in length and detail according to your circumstance. But it is important to know your target market, in one line, and the most dramatic benefit your service confers.

This line should grab the attention of your prospective client. But once you have their attention, stop talking and listen. Ask about their situation, and understand it thoroughly. You will discover whether or not you really can help the prospect. And, when you can, you will be able to explain exactly how; you will guide the prospect into realizing that they really want what you have to offer. This makes the whole interaction authentic—a conversation rather than a sales pitch. Your client will come to trust you, like you, and visualize how their life will improve with your service. And, by asking, you will learn how best to serve your clients by understanding the intricacies of their needs.

Once you become well-known enough, you might not have to ask or tell. A simple glance at your slogan and people will know you have something they want—like a Girl Scout selling cookies!

But, for the moment, ask the right question—“do you have x problem?” and you will attract anyone who would answer “yes.”