December 11, 2019

How would you measure thought leadership?

Sent by Jonathan Stark on December 13th, 2019

If you want to write a value priced proposal, you first need to determine the client’s perceived value of the engagement in order to set your prices.

But, how do you measure the value of something a prospective client wants you to do?

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

During your sales interview with a prospect, you find out:

There will always be a difference between current state and future state. Otherwise, there’d be nothing to do. The fact that the difference is detectable makes it measurable.

Here’s an example...

Let’s say Alice is a copywriter who does content marketing.

Bob comes to Alice and says, “I want to be seen as a thought leader in my space. I heard you can help with that.”

Alice: “Sure! I help people with that. Question… how do you know you’re not a thought leader now?”

Bob: “Well... I dunno... I guess because I’m not getting many speaking invites to keynote conferences in my space.”

Alice: “How many invites did you get last year?”

Bob: “One.”

Alice: “If you got six keynote invites next year, do you think that would qualify you as a thought leader?”

Bob: “Yes... but I think I’d also expect thought leaders to be published frequently in the main trade journal.”

Alice: “Have you been published in the main trade journal?”

Bob: “No, but I have contacts there. My articles just keep getting rejected.”

Alice: “Okay. How many of your articles would need to be published in the trade journal for you to feel like a thought leader?”

Bob: “Probably 2 or 3 per year.”

etc etc etc

In this example, Alice turned a vague request like, “I want to be a thought leader” into “increased keynote invitations and more articles published in the trade journal”.

At this point, Alice can decide whether she can confidently deliver these outcomes. If so, she would then submit a proposal to Bob.


Define current state in observable ways that matter to the client, then define the desired future state in ways that matter to the client, and finally submit a proposal with three fixed price options for ways that you could contribute to their transformation.