Over the years there has been one particular roadblock that I watch both new and experienced consultants and coaches hit time and time again. The truth is, I hit the same roadblock when I first started.
We all know we have tremendous value to offer our clients.
We can see the transformation that’s waiting for them….
…But when it comes time to put that value into words and communicate it to those same clients?
Unable to quantify our value.
This is what I want to start to unpack for you in this article.
To do this, I have to first expose the myths.
Your value isn't found in your tools. It's in how you use your tools that matters.
A carpenter may have a hammer, screwdriver and drill and perhaps the best ones on the market. But as a customer we don't care about his tools. We care about how what he does with those tools to build something of beauty and usefulness.
I got hard news for you - but your future clients don't care about your tools either. They are not enamored by your personality assessments, your coaching approach or any other your methodologies because they don't hire you for those. They hire you for the transformation that your unique expertise creates for them.
Your clients don't hire you because you have a vision for their organization that they can't see themselves. They don't hire you because you can push them "beyond the status quo" or "ignite their leadership and organizational potential." They hire you because they have something inside of them that they want to achieve but can't. They have struggles that are standing in the way for what they want for their organizations and their own lives.
One thing that consultants do that most clients hate is cookie cutter solutions that feel to clients as nothing more than "management by magazine." They are interested in case studies only to a point. They don't want your advice on what worked for other organizations as much as they want your insight on what will work for THEM.
This principle is true even if you have experience from companies like Disney. I'll never forget a work session I was doing for one of my first clients after leaving Disney. One of the leaders interrupted me while I was teaching them about what did at Disney asked me directly, "Betsy, you do know that you no longer work at Disney right? We are not Disney. Can you please share what you think will work for us?"
Now that we can get beyond the myths, let me give you three steps to get started on uncovering, owning and articulating the value of what you do:
Your ideal clients are not vague entities like an organization. They are people with deeply felt needs that are often masked by wants and requests.
Clients will come to you all the time with requests for certain methodologies. It's not that they are dying for those methodologies. It's the transformation that they envision those methodologies will create for them.
They perceive your value based on the extent that you transform their pain points into what they ultimately want and need.
So your first step is dial into your ideal client as a person and understand the world from their vantage point.
I hate to break this to you but you don't serve everyone. Or you don't serve everyone well. There are some people that you are here on this earth to serve. You need to dial into them otherwise you will be vague in your marketing and a confused mind never buys.
Don't hide behind your methodologies as that is not what your clients are paying you for. They are paying for how your education, experience and strengths weave into a unique, one-of-a-kind expertise that matches their style and will give them the results that they are looking for.
The most important element of your expertise is your strengths because that is what ultimately people will pay you for. This principle hit home for me when I did an interview project to find out what executives are looking for in consultants. I interviewed many of my best executive clients and was blown away to discover that they didn't hire me because I had a Masters degree in Organization Development or even because of my track record at Disney. It was my framing skills and my ability to sort and organize ideas. It was how I helped them as a think partner and how I aligned stakeholders as a result of this skill. And this is ultimately why people hire me as a business mentor. It's because I can uniquely create order around myriads of life experiences and pull it together into a singular and compelling brand promise.
Passion isn't what you love. It's what you hate. It's the stuff that drives you crazy and think to yourself, "something HAS TO BE DONE about this." I first got into consulting because seeing the disconnects between what leaders said and did drove me crazy. I pivoted my business from consulting to mentoring because what drives me crazy now is when purpose-driven consultants and coaches play small in their marketing and lose the business to money-focused consultants and coaches and the impact it has on organizations.
What drives you crazy? This is your most likely calling and purpose.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.”
- Frederick Buechner
There's two types of consulting and coaching businesses you can create. You can create one of your mind that seems logical and safe that will yield you some business. Maybe not consistent business or business that reflects the depth of what you want you bring to the table.
OR you can dig deep to courageously create a business that includes your mind but also your heart. This is a consulting and coaching business that reflects the real transformation you want to offer to your exact perfect clients - the people who have problems that you are energized to solve.
This is the path to making money and a difference because you deeply connected to the people you were put on this earth to support.
Playing small is the opposite of being authentic. Hiding behind a fictitious business name, not putting your picture clearly on the home page of your website and being overly focused on selling your methodologies isn't about humility. It's about fear and all it does it make it really hard for the clients who really need you to access the range of support that only you can offer them.
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