What Is Your Client Trying to Accomplish?

In your relationship with clients, you can be either an order taker or a trusted partner.

You need to position yourself as the latter.

Order takers distinguish themselves by not asking questions. They just write down and deliver whatever the client asks for—like a waiter at a restaurant.

Trusted partners, on the other hand, seek to understand what the client is trying to achieve because they want to make a deeper contribution.

To shift into the trusted advisor role, you don’t have to dominate the conversation or act like a prima donna.

All you have to do is ask the client more about what they’re trying to accomplish . . . and why it’s important to them.

For example, maybe they’ve approached you with a clearly defined ebook project.

Great! But even though the project is clearly defined, you can still ask the client:

  • Why is the ebook important to you?
  • Where does it fit within your content strategy?
  • What are your main objectives here?

Seems simple, right?

Yet it’s very easy to skip these questions and just write down their ebook “order.”

But when you do that, you lower your perceived value. Which then makes it harder for you to develop the kind of relationship where your clients see you as an indispensable resource.

And when they don’t see you as an indispensable resource, they’re more likely to question your fees, push for shorter deadlines and cherry-pick items on your retainer proposal.

One last pointer: The idea is not just to ask one question. The idea is to start a conversation.

Ask follow-up questions and clarifying questions. Make comments showing that you understand. Offer up your own ideas and thoughts.

When you have these kinds of thoughtful conversations with clients and prospects, you’ll be elevated to a higher plane of value.

And that will put you both on a path to a mutually beneficial relationship.



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