Our worth in life, or at least the value of what we can do, is linked with what other people can rely on us to do for them. Not ideal, but fine.
Yet every time an almost hurtfully honest, straight-faced client told me “I can see you know a lot about this, but what are the deliverables? What would I be actually paying for?” my mind panicked. Trying to reverse-engineer complexity into sales talk got me flustered like a university professor asked a blindingly obvious question – that he is inexplicably unable to quite manage on the fly.
I think the guy was asking what tasks or documents they would get done, but that’s because it’s what he expected from “eggheads” – delivery or opinions. I can and do produce both, yet neither one is the point of what I’m offering at all. And yet “clarity”, the correct answer, is simply hard to put into words that would mean much to him.
Here are some filters I found helpful in finding nice and tangible answers in a snappy way:
1. Relief: what mental, emotional, or physical pressures can I remove?
2. New options: what will they be able to do after my work?
3. Results: are there measurable results to show I did good work?
4. Tools: what items or techniques are they missing now, but will be happy to use them after I’m done?
Pick 3 of the filters above and write down how you’ve applied them for past clients this week. Why? So that the next time someone expects fluff from you, you can grin …and show them steel.