We’ve all been in a situation at a party, conference or even a meeting where we’re asked, “So, what do you do?” It’s the simplest of questions that somehow seems to bring out the most complex of answers.

In a casual environment, a rambling and overly detailed answer can get you out of an awkward conversation. But in a professional setting, not being able to succinctly summarize your job can close the door with a potential customer, even before it opens.

I was reminded of the value of a strong “elevator pitch” at the recent Independent Precision Ag Alliance peer group meeting. One of the group members, Karon Cowan, owner of AgTech GIS in Embro, Ont., had gone through the exercise of writing out 10-, 30- and 50-second descriptions of her professional responsibilities to use in different situations.

“Thinking about being on the floor at a trade show or in front of a new customer, I asked myself, ‘How can I introduce myself in that first 10 seconds that’s going to explain my experience, credibility and passion,” Cowan says. “Thinking in more modern terms, if you can’t sum up your brand in 1 tweet, it’s too long.”

Some of the themes she wanted to apply to an ag-focused pitch included having it be customized, conversational and clear.

Easier said than done, as the role of precision specialist is seemingly one of the more indefinable jobs today. Specialists can divide their time between sales, service, marketing and even administrative responsibilities.

Having asked precision specialists to describe what they do, on occasion I’ve gotten the simple response, “Everything.” And as Einstein said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

Many precision specialists know exactly what their role is within a dealership and are extremely good at what they do. But can they define that position on paper or during a 10-second conversation?

Perhaps an exercise to challenge precision employees with in the coming months is to have them develop their own “elevator pitch.” It could help better define their role and purpose, and also provide the dealership with a snapshot of each specialist’s strengths and weaknesses — in a matter of seconds.