Good Selling is Hitting Your Client on The Head With Value

You have to show your client the value you provide. That’s part of the sales process. Good selling is hitting your client on the head with value.  Over and over again.

Have you ever felt bad for a client because they said they couldn’t pay you?

Ever discounted your fee because the client told you a sob story?

Let me tell you about a time I did that and tell you what I learned from it.

I had been working with Charlie the tax attorney for about two years.  He is a great lawyer – maybe one of the best lawyers in his field in Miami.  At the outset of our work, Charlie was the only attorney in his firm and he had a part time administrative assistant who worked with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  He was billing about $200,000 per year back then.  He shared an office with a criminal defense attorney who was a friend from Law School.

When we first started working together we would meet in weekly one-on-one sessions.  Each week I would cover a topic with him, give him some action items, and he would religiously implement the things we talked about.

About six months into our work together Charlie and I were reviewing his financial statement and we realized that his billing had doubled.  He was giving his part-time assistant full-time hours and he hired a paralegal to help him with his workload.   When we reviewed his financial statements, he pointed to the time when we started working together and he said: “This was the turning point in my career as a lawyer.”

Things continued to go well for Charlie.  Over time he hired another paralegal and an associate attorney.  His client flow was increasing as was his billing.  But something strange began to happen in our relationship.    Charlie stopped wanting to see me every week.  He became very slow to implement the adjustments I recommended.  And when I recommended something he could not implement immediately, he would question the value of my advice.

This finally came to a head one summer day when he said he was “choking on my monthly fee.”  He pointed out how expensive I was and how what he really needed was help with implementation because he “had enough good ideas”.  And at that point he asked me to reduce my fee.

I wanted to keep Charlie as a client so I agreed to do it.

And for three more months, things were fine.  Charlie’s firm had grown to over $800,000 in annual revenue and he had five staff members.  He moved into a bigger (more expensive) office.  He leased a fancy car.  He was buying custom tailored suits.  And then it finally happened.

Charlie called me from his scuba diving lesson in Bonaire to inform me that he “just couldn’t afford to work with me anymore.”    Again he said he had enough good ideas and he was going to take his time and implement them.  Even the reduced rate was too much for him.

His practice had quadrupled in size, he hired three staff members, he had a beautiful new office, new clothes, a new car and was taking exotic vacations three times each year but my fee was too much.

And that’s where I learned the lesson.

Providing value to clients wasn’t enough.  Helping them transform their businesses and their lives was not enough.  I also had to demonstrate this value over and over – each and every time we met.  I had to show them, in a subtle way, the value I was providing.

This experience changed the way I handled my work with my clients.  It transformed the way I do business. These days I only work with a handful of clients in a one-on-one setting.  I intentionally keep my private client roster small so I can provide outstanding guidance and access to the few people who truly understand the value I provide and execute the strategy we discuss.  And I charge these people a significant fee for helping them grow their business and improve their life.

You can do the same thing.

Make a conscious choice to work only with qualified clients who appreciate your talent.

The key to transforming your business into an exclusive, private client firm is in the way you sell   What you say to your clients before, during and after you get hired makes all the difference in the world.  How you develop your relationship is critical to their perception of your value.  It is not enough to do good work.  You must also be perceived as a highly valuable member of the client’s inner circle.

Here are three additional articles that should be hitting you on the head with value:

How to Leverage Your Strengths to Grow Sales

Most people worry way too much about fixing their weaknesses. Stop doing that. Instead, focus on building upon your strengths.

Three Ways to Generate Sales Leads

Here are three more ways to generate sales leads. You can never have enough.

Success in Sales Requires Bulletproof Underwear

Here how you can get tough with yourself and sell more as a result.