If you want to work with premium quality clients, on hugely rewarding projects, you’ll find what follows really useful. It explains how the world’s top professionals use deadlines like a superpower.
To start, let’s take a look at how the average service provider avoids actual deadlines. It’s similar to the examples below.
It will be ready as soon as possible:
Soon… when is soon? And how is a client supposed to know if their project is running late? How is a client supposed to know what a provider is possible of? The ‘As soon as possible’ line is just an excuse, offered in advance, to justify anticipated disappointment.
It will be ready for you by the end of next week:
That’s better than the previous answer. Which isn’t saying much. But at least there’s an ultimate end-point. The date still remains vague, which makes forward planning challenging for the client. They’re left wondering if it will be with them tomorrow, the next day, the next day, or perhaps sometime next week. It also signals that the service provider isn’t managing their time well. It’s the epitome of average.
In both of those examples, the so-called deadlines are not deadlines at all.
They’re strategies to let the service provider off the hook. Off the hook with their client and with themselves.
A better attitude to service is called for. A professional attitude, that works great for the client and the service provider.
Professionals set deadlines and stick to them
Here’s what the client wants. At least, any client worth working for: It will be completed at 2pm on Tuesday 7th, as promised.
That’s a real deadline.
It means the client knows what to plan for. It also means the client knows you’re undertaking their project in a structured way. And it reassures them that they’re working with a professional.
Professionals meet their deadlines, because they CHOOSE to. To do this, they look at the scope of the project. They determine a realistic time scale for completion, based on experience. Then, they set a deadline of that date and time. And because they’re professionals, they do everything to deliver on that promise. They’ve allowed enough time to do a great job. And on almost every project, it works just great.
Almost every project?
Yes, almost! Professionals are human and fallible. Shit happens.
- Dedicated professionals occasionally get sick. Though interestingly, this ‘magically’ seems to happen far less often to them, than it does to the average provider.
- Dedicated professionals occasionally miscalculate the time required. A supplier they’ve relied on could let them down. That same supplier they’ve relied on might move more swiftly than expected.
- When shit happens, they make sure the client is updated and kept in the picture. They inform the client to let them know the project will be ready a little earlier, or a little later, than the deadline.
Professionals put it on the line. They know that’s how to build a world-class reputation. They also know that once you learn how to accurately schedule your work, and develop the focus to do the work on time, it becomes second nature.
That’s to say, setting deadlines and achieving them is just the way they do things.
What does this have to do with marketing?
A professional attitude to setting and achieving deadlines, as promised, is foundational to your marketing.
Clients value it mightily. And they very happily pay a premium for it, too. They learn they can rely on you.
So, they tell their friends.
Some of their friends hire you, then tell THEIR friends. This creates an ongoing flow of premium quality clients and wonderful opportunities.
THAT is bloody powerful marketing, right there!
Seriously, this deadline setting attitude to service is an essential marketing component. But especially for those interested in working on the best projects, with the best clients!