Most people who sell their services have completely the wrong mindset about dealing with clients…
Here’s the thing. When most of us got started in our careers, was working for somebody else. It was their business, their rules, and our role was to serve them. Our success or failure is largely determined not based on results alone, but how well we were able to get results within the context of our boss’s expectation.
And actually, it started before that. In school, the only way to get good grades was to follow all the rules and match our performance to our teachers’ recommendations and requirements.
Before that, the same was true of our parents. Heck I see it with my kids right now. I’m the grumpy parent, forcing them to do things my way, because I can (and should) do that as their parent. It’s my role in helping them grow into good adults.
Nothing is wrong with any of this from the perspective of our bosses, our teachers, or our parents.
But it does set us up for failure when we hang out our shingles as consultants and other expert service providers.
Because the attitude that you have to have to be successful in all of these situations — the in-service attitude — is the polar opposite of the attitude that you have to be successful as an expert, selling your expertise.
If you want respect, compliance, results, and big money as an expert consultant or service provider, YOU have to write your own rules…
And this starts with your first impression.
In fact, it starts far before you ever get your clients as clients in the first place.
I’m currently building out my own personal version of The Client-Getting Blueprint to attract nonprofit clients.
In the wee hours of this morning, I created a contact page. On the page, I do include a contact email address and a physical address. These are especially important if you’re doing paid advertising, as they’re something advertising networks will look for in approving your ads.
However, I explicitly did not include a phone number. Rather, I stated that all phone calls are by appointment only. And I did give a link to schedule an introductory phone call.
This goes completely counter to most people’s best advice about making yourself available to clients and potential clients. And yet, I want better results than most people. So I have to do things differently.
By explicitly not including my phone number, I am positioning myself as harder to get ahold of. Which means I probably value my time more. If I am dealing with successful people, they want to work with someone who values their own time.
Because successful people know this: if you work with someone who values their own time, that person is more likely to treat your time as valuable as well.
To think, all that from telling them I won’t take their phone call!
And since I don’t answer my phone live for much of the day anyway — and in fact I seldom answer unrecognized numbers — this actually works out better in the long run.
Because if they expect to get ahold of me and can’t, it’s far worse than if they never expected to get ahold of me by phone in the first place.
Plus, by attaching all of it to a scheduler (again, my current tool of choice and recommendation is for Book Like A Boss), I get to control when in my schedule I want to have calls, and I get to consolidate it to specific times and days. That also means I can minimize interruptions to protect my deep work time, most often used for focused writing.
This is a fairly simple example of a rule that I have adopted that works very well for positioning me as an expert service provider, whose time is in demand.
And it’s one of many…
For inspiration, look to the medical profession…
Imagine for a minute that you wanted to get a doctor on the phone. My guess is that almost no matter who you are, and who your doctor is, you don’t have their direct line. And if you do, it’s only because they are open to hearing from you in very specific emergency circumstances.
You don’t call a doctor out of the blue.
And it’s often hard to get them on the phone at all.
If you want time with the doctor, you have to make an appointment. They have a process for making an appointment. You get an appointment based on their availability. And, for the most part, you expect to pay simply to be seen.
That is how a doctor behaves. That is how any expert should behave.
I, like many people, look up all my medical symptoms on the Internet.
A few years ago, I had a very itchy stomach. Which, according to my consultation with Dr. Google, was clearly shingles. Even though I had never had a serious case of chickenpox growing up, and quite possibly never actually got chickenpox, I was still certain that I had shingles. Which you can only get after having chickenpox.
I went to the doctor. They spent some time looking at me, and asking questions. They were patient with my clear arrogance and ignorance.
And then, they delivered the diagnosis produced by their expert process.
The itches were from allergies.
And in this case, their prescription was basic over-the-counter allergy medicine.
If you are the expert, you have a process for diagnosing a problem that you can solve, and you go through that process, deliver the diagnosis, and then make a prescription.
That’s what doctors do, and that’s what you should do.
If that doctor had an in-service attitude and treated me based on my own self diagnosis, it would neither have solved the problem or been in my best interest.
But because they followed their process for diagnose and prescribe, I was fully able to benefit from their own applied expertise in this area.
I could give a laundry list of examples, but it all comes down to this…
If you are the expert, you need to dictate the rules of engagement. This is the exact opposite of the in-service attitude. This is what experts do.
When you do this, you’ll get respect. And, assuming your expertise is worth it, you will get paid a lot more.
Stop taking assignments. Stop having your clients tell you what they need.
Your role is to diagnose, then prescribe. Help them identify and clearly understand the problem that they want to have solved, that you are in a unique position to solve for them based on your expertise. Get clear about what that problem is, and their motivations for solving it.
Then, prescribe a course of action. Lay out the solution. Yes, should be willing to answer questions, and take input. And they will still make the decision as to whether or not they are going to follow your expert prescription. But if they are going to work with you, you need to be the one who prescribes what that looks like.
This is a critical part of The Client-Getting Blueprint…
Imagine that doctor’s office. They have an entire process in place to bring new patients in the door. They have a process that ensures the patient goes through an effective diagnosis and prescription process to solve their medical problem.
If you don’t have this in place, it doesn’t matter how many people know about you. It doesn’t matter how many potential clients reach out.
You have to have this process in place, to establish your expertise, make that powerful first impression, and set up the rest of the relationship.
The webinar is in two days — on Thursday. It’s for BTMSinsiders members only.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,