Doesn’t giving away my time for free devalue me in the client’s eyes?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 5th, 2017

Yesterday, I answered the second of three reader questions about a two hour onsite meeting I had with a prospective client last week.

If you missed my earlier messages, here’s the quote from my original email: 

On Friday, I had a two hour onsite meeting at the headquarters of one of the largest credit unions in the nation. Actually, it was longer than two hours. We were having so much fun chatting that we went about 15 minutes over. 

The three questions were:

  1. What is my definition of a roadmap?
  2. How do I justify my two hour time investment?
  3. Doesn’t giving away my time for free devalue me in the client’s eyes?

I answered 1 and 2 already, so I’ll tackle #3 today:

Doesn’t giving away my time for free devalue me in the client’s eyes?

To me, this is an example of how insidiously “trading time for money” can pollute one’s thinking.

It suggests that by giving my time to the client, I have given them something valuable for free.

My time is NOT valuable to a client. I didn’t give them something for nothing.

In fact, they gave me just as much time in return (and more, since multiple employees were in attendance). 

Sure, my time is valuable to me and I have to use discretion when deciding how to use it, but it’s not valuable to a client.

What IS valuable to a client are business outcomes, like:

I delivered nothing of the sort during our chat. I merely asked questions and took notes.

Had I given them a boatload of clarity or direction or insight or - heaven forbid - prepared a dog and pony show for a “pitch” presentation, then yes, that probably would have devalued me. 

TGIF!

Yours, 

—J


« Back to home