The Deliverable Disaster

Mountains of Arizona
Partly Sunny 92 Degrees
2:34 p.m.

If you’re selling a list of things you’re going to do for a client, aka “deliverables,” you’re building yourself a prison.

I know this is the truth because I did it for so long!

In exchange for $X, Dear Client, I’m going to provide you with item 1, item 2 and item 3.

Sometimes it looks more like:

Order Package 1 and you’ll get X, Y and Z. Order Package 2 and you’ll get X, Y, Z and P.

If your business is setup to work this way at the moment, you have to ask yourself if this is really what you want.

If you sell “deliverables” then you have to deliver deliverables.

And any smart client will search out the cheapest competent source for those deliverables.

I see a long list of drawbacks when I think about a business model like this.

First of all, you as the service provider are reinforcing the connection between YOUR effort and the client’s value received. This is exactly the opposite direction you want to go. This is a connection YOU create or that YOU remove. It’s totally up to you.

Second, you are, of your own free will, focusing the client’s attention onto ingredients inside a recipe RATHER than the finished product. This will lower your fees, provide ample material for haggling and completely open the door for the client to self prescribe their own solution. Doesn’t sound like fun to me!

Finally, this approach often leads to a disconnect between what you think you’re selling and what the client thinks she is buying.

If you think you’re selling a result and she thinks she’s buying a list of completed deliverables, you’re going to run into problems.

It’s even worse if it’s the other way around!

Just because you’re a service provider doesn’t mean your service has to be a specific activity. What if it’s a specific result? Then you have complete freedom to do the activities that create the result.

This extends to the way you get the money as well…

You can either charge for doing specific things for people or you can charge for your participation in pursuit of a common goal.

Guess which one has more zeros on it and leads to better served, more satisfied clients over time?

It’s your business you’re running. You get to choose what you offer the world.

Do you really want to offer the world something where bigger results for YOU come with more work? That, to me, sounds like a linear mind program that the “slaves” were programmed with on purpose.

Is that really what clients want? To see you working hard?

Or do you feel like you have to work hard to “earn it?”

Where’d THAT program come from?