Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns
Are you familiar with the dread that sits at the bottom of your stomach, or the pain in your jaw from clenching your teeth and chewing your fingernails that comes with the responsibility of drafting a proposal? Or maybe you’re a fan of saying “I’ll get back to you with a price,” procrastinating until the very last second, and avoiding the inevitable while chatting with a client on the phone?
Then you, my friend, don’t fully grasp or understand your value.
Let’s start with the basics. Your value is unique to you. No one can tell you what your value is. You get to define that from experiences, successes, and failures. Of course, there are market rates and average commodity prices...even hourly rates. Guess what?! All of these metrics are subjective ways to be compensated for your efforts.
When creating a proposal, or having a conversation with a client, your focus needs to be on what makes you unique. How do your services enhance your client’s business trajectory and build customer relationships? Are you innovative when problems arise? These are important questions to answer to understand when pricing. But most importantly, how you deliver consistent deliverables on time will help to shape your value.
My experience is that if a customer is solely concerned with the price they are often not a good fit for our organization. We are simply a pawn to be easily disposed of in the next move on the Chessboard of life. There is no relationship value in these situations. This is why at Moore Details quickly weed out tire kickers in our sales process and refuse to respond to requests for proposals.
If you are a professional service provider, it's time you stop thinking you are a disposal service.
You are the prize to be won.
In his book, Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns defines how to close deals with ‘The Twelve Proclamations’. Here is the link to order your copy. It’s worth a read and perhaps will kick you in the pants to help shift your mindset from traditional thinking to radical candour.
Though I firmly believe Blair’s book is an essential read for all business folk, here are a few key takeaways to start getting paid more for your services.
We will specialize - Blair highlights the importance of defining who you are going to work for
Replace presentations with conversations - this tidbit of advice has worked well for our firm, Moore Details, we now do not respond to ‘Request for Proposals’.
We will diagnose before we prescribe - listening to your customer is key to building a strong relationship and properly solving their pain points. We have to listen to fix the systemic issues.
And more high-value content and actionable advice can be found in his book!
I am a big fan of that last point “all will not follow, and that’s okay”. I’ve been in practice for 16 years and have dealt with all types of customers. When I first started Moore Details every client was a good client. That was until I had a broom thrown at me by a client. That moment was pivotal, allowing me to focus on finding my ideal client.
I eventually landed on a methodology to keep Moore Details focused and in check when it comes to clients, we call it our DRAGON methodology. I have kept this methodology true in every client interaction I’ve had since that broom-throwing day. It has never failed me.
The Dragon methodology is an acronym that describes our ultimate client. Feel free to use it in your business or craft and come up with one of your own.
Here is what a beautiful Dragon client is for our firm:
*Our niche is digital agencies, consultants, and e-commerce clients
But here is a little secret. There is a SaaS (software as a service) platform that can help you amplify your value and land the right clients. Are you ready for something with more grit than a Word document?
That solution is Practice Ignition. In our firm, we win high-value clients using Practice Ignition to articulate our value to clients. Our prospects are wowed by the presentation of three service packages, equipped with a beautiful brochure easily created in Canva, and our candid Loom videos. When all this SaaS comes together our proposals turn prospects into clients. Check out the next blog in this series called “How To Get Bookkeeping Clients using Practice Ignition to increase your average client revenue”
In closing, your value is unique to you. My recommendation is to read, Win Without Pitching Manifesto, by Blair Enns and start creating your own DRAGON methodology. Then take Practice Ignition for a test drive and see how quickly you can take awkward conversations out of your proposal process and win clients!