What do you want me to do?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on July 23rd, 2018

In the context of a client engagement, what your client wants you to “do” for them can be both frustratingly vague and infuriatingly specific.

Let’s say you’re a front-end developer. You consider yourself to be an Ember.js expert. You are approached by a prospect who was referred to you by a past client.

Going into the initial meeting, you imagine that they are thinking about paying you to “do” Ember development.

On the other hand...

Going into the initial meeting, the client could be thinking they want you to “do” any one of the following:

Assuming you land the project, you would likely engage in pretty much the exact same activities regardless of which of these things the client thinks they hired you to “do”.

But perceived value in the client’s mind of what you’re “doing” for them would be dramatically different from one end of this list to the other.

The extent to which you can deliver value to the client (and therefore, justify high fees) depends heavily on your ability to get closer to the bottom of this list in your initial meeting.

The way you move down the list is by asking one simple question:

“Why?”

So...

If in your initial meeting with a prospect, the client indicates that what they want you to “do” for them is:

“Write code.”

...ask them “Why?” until you get closer to something like:

“What we REALLY want you to do is decrease customer churn.”

You might not get all the way to the bottom, but anything is better than nothing.

Yours,

—J

P.S. Are your friends renting their lives away an hour at a time? Do them a favor and introduce them to value pricing. They’ll thank you for it :-)


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