What is a One-Liner?

man, holding a phone, sitting at a table with a woman

Why should people buy your product or service?

Answering that question in a quick, clear, and compelling way is not easy. But it’s so important. People don’t always buy the best product or service. They buy the one that’s most easy to understand.

When asked “What do you do?” you need to be ready with a one-liner.

A one-liner is a clear sentence or two that explains what you do in a way that captures the interest of your customer.

There’s a simple formula for writing a one-liner: Problem + Solution = Result

Problem: The best way to get someone’s attention and be memorable is to start with a problem. Humans are always scanning for people who can help us resolve an issue, heal a pain, improve a weakness. Start with the problem you solve and people will immediately pay attention.

Solution: Then tell us how you solve it. Keep it simple. Now is not the time for nuance, even if it exists. Stay high-level but specific.

Result: What does success look like? Tell the person how their life will be better after they buy your solution.

Here’s an example where I’ve indicated the 3 parts:

🏡 Problem: Finding housing is hard. Solution: We offer brand new homes at affordable prices for families in need Results: so they can have a place to call their own. 

Here are a few more real-life examples:

🧽  Cleaning your house is a never-ending chore that sucks up your free time. You could be spending that time making memories with your family. Hire Plum to keep your home pristine clean so you have more time for the people you love.

⬛ Faded and cracked asphalt creates a bad impression. And knowing the best way to fix it can be confusing. Stripe A Lot knows how to get your asphalt to look great and last longer.

💵 The tax code is so complicated that most people, even the ones who use an accountant, pay more money than they owe. At Pine & Company CPAs, we combine our expertise with a proactive, year-round approach so you can minimize your taxes and maximize your wealth.

🏅Sports and fitness goals are hard to achieve on your own. Having a trainer can help you make the team, be the MVP, or hit your target weight. At SCORE, we coach you to be at the top of your physical and mental game, so you win on and off the field. 

📣 Business leaders are overwhelmed by marketing decisions — they fear they’re wasting money and missing out on customers. We serve as strategic guides who prevent “random acts of marketing.” This gives leaders more confidence, more time, and more leads.

One-liners are the most concise, complete story you can tell about how you solve your customer’s problems. 

Action Steps:

  • Step 1: Write down the problem your customer has.
    Tip: Start with “Most people…” or “Many businesses…”
  • Step 2: Write down how you solve that problem.
    Tip: Try “[Company Name] + a verb like “helps” or “makes” or “provides”
  • Step 3: Write down the success your customer experiences.
    Tip: Finish with the answer to “so that you…”
  • Step 4: Put it all together into a one-liner.
  • Step 5: Email me your one-liner draft, and I’ll give you some free feedback.

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