Many professionals and businesses worry about staying ahead of the competition, but there are solid reasons why it’s even more important to stay ahead of your clients / customers. If you want to charge more for your services, build long-term relationships and assert your position as a trusted advisor, it’s important that your clients see that you are one step ahead of them.
Specific benefits include:
1: Your first meetings will be more compelling: you win trust and credibility by showing prospective customers what’s around the corner.
2: Your fees / prices will be higher. You can overcome pricing objections by referencing the risks of not hiring someone like you.
3: You are more likely be re-hired / extended by existing customers, who see you as an integral part of their future strategy.
I saw this vividly illustrated during July by working with a coaching client who works in technology. He had a fresh opportunity with a new client and was keen to win the contract. As we prepared for his first meeting with his customer, it became obvious that — while his technical expertise was interesting from a quality perspective — this did not spell the necessary vital reason for that customer to buy.
He needed to do some research prior to his meeting: what might happen to an organisation that ignored this expertise? He found the answer readily enough: via a horror story from a competitor, where a director of operations had recently been fired due to reliability failures. So he made his meeting with the customer about reliability, not about quality. He arrived equipped with some numbers. He talked about how the future would be different to the past. His contract starts this month.
Taken together, the above reasons are compelling. But there is another intangible benefit which, for many professionals, proves even more exhilarating. Simply put, when you are a step ahead of your clients, professional life becomes more fun and engaging. You negotiate with fresh clarity and confidence. You are less anxious about first meetings. You know your value in the marketplace.
For these reasons, the entire VCO autumn schedule features events that put you ahead of your clients.
If you would like to take a deeper look at your business development plans (or make a business development plan) going into 2019, see our Autumn Series on Value-Centred BizDev.