The Client Letter
September 2, 2011
RE: The power of pushing back…
Growing up, I was never the type of kid to get into trouble. In fact, I was conditioned pretty well to, at the first sign of conflict, pull away and concede.
In real life, behavior like that will lead to struggle.
But in school, that’s a pretty sure path to being labelled a “good kid.” You’re gentle, not much trouble, and easy to control.
My number one skill in high school was the ability to follow the rules.
You have to follow the rules if you want to be a 4.0 student like I did. If you think, talk and take tests like “they” expect you too, the road is pretty smooth. But why was that so important to me in high school? I have no idea.
How’s that for unconscious living?
4 years of schooling… a GPA that was off the charts and I have no reason for performing at that level other than it was fairly easy… and I was aiming to please.
By the grace of God, I’ve woken up over the years and have become just a wee bit more independent in thought and action.
I’m happy to say that pleasing people has taken quite a drop on my list of priorities.
So what does this have to do with working with clients?
When your client says something like, “We need X and X done for $X… oh and it needs to be finished by next Thursday…” how do you respond?
When they ask you things like, “Why should we work with you over any of our other choices…” how do you respond to that?
Or when they say something like, “Well John gave us a quote that was 50% less than yours. You’re going to have to do better than that…” How about that one? What would you say then?
The old Jason from high school would have answered those questions like this:
- Yes, sir coming sir, right away sir.
- Well, I’m a very nice person and I’ll make sure you’re happy.
- That’s no problem. I can do this project for the same price John can.
Those answers are pretty darn weak if I must say so.
The new Jason would answer these questions just a bit differently:
- I don’t do rush jobs. And I’m not cheap. The reason why is because I’m far more concerned with quality and results than I am with just getting it done. If you’re just looking for fast or cheap, then you have a lot of choices. Plenty of people can do that. If you want it done right (the first time), and you’re willing to invest in that level of quality, then maybe we should talk.
- I’m not sure that you should be working with me. What makes you think that I can help you reach this goal?
- I’m happy to reduce my fee, but not without removing some of the value. Which parts of this project would you like me to remove?
A little better wouldn’t you say? I would. This is the power of pushing back. This is the power of actually showing up in a client negotiation. This is the power of understanding that conflict is not bad. Conflict is a clue, that’s it. Conflict is an opportunity, not something to be avoided.
When you’re dealing with clients, always push back. Life is one big negotiation. It’s a constant flow of give and take. Working with clients doesn’t mean you go in, lay down and get steamrolled.
Just because they have the money doesn’t mean they are in control. The only time they are in control is when you let them be in control.
This is your business, not theirs. So if you’re unhappy with your current business in some way, it’s not your clients’ fault. The responsibility sits squarely on your shoulders.
Accept that responsibility, and you will soon understand that THAT is the secret to success.
See you Monday,
Creating Success for Independent Professionals
P.S. Don’t miss out on the SEPTEMBER issue of the Silk Report. The real life client getting strategy revealed in that letter (with examples) is quite ingenious.