Today’s post is about the secret behind the best paid, most valued people in your industry. It will show you how they attract the highest fees and work with the best clients.
I want to start though, with a plea:
Service providers: If you want to consistently produce great work, which will help you build a top flight reputation, get the information you need from the client and do what you are best at.
Clients: If you want to get the best results, hire the best service provider you can. Then, get out of their way.
Clients: Get out the way
I once knew a restaurant, where the food was terrible. Every 4 or 5 months, the food improved, then it dipped below par again after a couple of weeks.
What happened, was the guy who owned the restaurant would hire a chef because he liked the chef’s cooking, then he would slowly show the chef how to cook things the way HE wanted. Because the restaurant owner was a poor cook, the quality of the food dropped like a stone, customers complained, so he would hire a new chef and the cycle would repeat itself. He hired people who could create amazing food, then clipped their wings.
- If you hire a designer, give them the input they need, then let them go and create something amazing. Don’t tell them what to design, just give them their brief.
- If you hire a copywriter, give them the input they need, then let them turn words into gold dust. Don’t put words into their copy, which will ruin the flow.
Service Providers: Do what you do best
I was once asked for help, by a web designer, who was struggling to attract new clients. She received almost no word of mouth referrals, no repeat business and she had no portfolio on her website. I was curious why, when she was clearly a really good designer. She explained that “she let clients walk all over her,” so what would happen is she would get the requirements from the client for their site, build something amazing, then allow the client to tweak it and tweak it and tweak it, until it looked like crap.
One of the sites she showed me, looked incredible. She then showed me the version of that site, which the client ended up with and it was shockingly bad. “What do you do, the client is always right, right?” It’s little wonder she got no referrals allowing work like that to go out the door, with her name on it!
The best service providers work with their clients to create something amazing, which the client loves and values accordingly. They work with people, who appreciate their expertise and give them the creative freedom they need. As a result, they create amazing work, which attracts admiration, creates word of mouth and opens doors to other wonderful projects. How do I know? Because that is how every service provider at the top of their game works.
I had dinner last week with a friend, who is a web designer. She currently has a 7 month waiting list and charges 5 times more, than the average in her industry. Why? Because everything she creates looks amazing and her clients love her. She gets masses of repeat business and her clients are her sales force. Her portfolio looks amazing too and all this is reflected in her fees and the clients who queue up to work with her. She selects her clients wisely and works with them to create something that she is proud of and they are crazy about.
Her secret was to do work that mattered, rather than work that would pay her in 30 days. Seth Godin gave almost the same answer, when asked about the secret of his success. In fact, it’s the cornerstone of my own success and the work I do with my clients.