October 22, 2017

Find Out First

In yesterday’s message, I asked a deceptively simple question:

Think back to the last client project you completed and describe in business terms how your client is better off for having hired you?

I only got a handful of answers. Of course, this could very well be due to the fact that I sent it on a Saturday and most of y’all readers are smart enough to ignore your inbox on the weekend :)

Weekend email notwithstanding, I’m willing to bet that answering that question was a problem for most folks. If you are one of those people, here’s how you can solve it once and for all:

Find out first.

When you’re in the sales phase for your next project with a new prospect, ask them to describe how they would like their business to be better off as a result of your intervention.

In other words, find out where the basket is before you start taking free throws. Otherwise, you’re just “shooting” in the dark.

(Sports/military metaphor pun intended!)

Unless your clients aren’t paying you with money, it’s very easy for them to describe in business terms how you are better off after the engagement. Namely, that they increased your revenue by $X, where $X is the amount of money they gave you.

It should be just as easy for you to do the same, even if the benefits are intangible. The way to do this is to find out in advance what needle they want you to help them move, and then move it.

Needles like:

These are all business outcomes that are potentially valuable to your buyers. Find out in advance which one they want you to improve and then improve it. When the project is done, it’ll be easy for you to answer my question.

But the REAL benefit of finding out first is that it allows you to stop trading time for money. You can set your price based on the desired business outcome, instead of how much time you estimate it’ll take you to complete the work. If you attract clients that have really expensive problems, you can dramatically increase your profits with this approach.