How Is Your Posture?
There. Didn’t that make you feel better? More confident?
I write this post today to address a different kind of posture: The one you exude with your business and clients. I am often surprised at how we women, especially, seem to be very prone to devaluing ourselves in the marketplace. We’re not resolute enough to expect and charge what we are worth because we’re willing to sacrifice that to get clients. At times, we may even hesitate to assert our expertise. Case in point: We propose to a client, they say our price is too high, and rather than ask a thought provoking question such as “Compared to what?” we capitulate and counter with a lower price. Another example: A client requests a task that falls within our service set, but we feel it is not in their best interest. We do it anyway because they want it and we want to please them. Ever find yourself doing either of these things?
If I accomplish nothing else in this post, I want to convince you of two things: First, don’t ever hesitate to charge, what your careful research has determined, is your worth. Your successful competitors do, because they’ve demonstrated value to clients who are willing and able to pay them. Those clients are out there, even in the current economy. Your challenge is to identify the market that can and will pay for your services, and pursue those clients only. And, at the risk of getting pummeled, I implore you to wipe the phrase “I help clients….” out of your vocabulary and marketing materials. I promise, it’s too vague and you’ll give too much away thinking that way. Your mindset must be that you provide, for a competitive fee, a highly valued and well defined service which your clients need and want that’s worth their money. Period. Help your friends move if you must, but don’t just “help” your clients. Got it?
The second thing you must do is assert your expertise with your clients. Always. You are the expert in the services they have entrusted you to provide, or they’d do it themselves. This does not mean posing as a know-it-all, not listening to their ideas and desires, or being unwilling to admit when you’ve made a mistake or don’t have all the answers. It means having the integrity to say “No” when needed, or formulating an alternate approach. It means articulating clearly and convincingly why and how they can, and should, trust that you are acting in their best interest. In fact, I believe if you determine that a client does not trust you to do what’s best for them – especially in the face of a crisis – you should probably sever the relationship.
So, what do you think? Have you fallen into the either of the traps I’ve mentioned? What did you learn? How is your posture?