What’s MY Value?
How are we doing?
What are you getting out of our work together?
Anyone in a business or professional practice should be asking clients questions like these on a regular basis.
A sincere discussion about your value—and the places where you could give more value—can help you keep the clients you have already and obtain referrals to many more. If the feedback you get is positive, it can do four things for you:
1. It makes it easy to talk about referrals. If I’m very happy with your services, I am obviously more likely to want to introduce you to someone in my circle of friends, family members, and/or business associates.
2. It reminds your client of just how much value you bring to the table, making it less likely that he or she will be enticed by someone else’s offer any time soon.
3. It helps you to understand what your clients think you give them, which is sometimes different than what you think you bring to them.
4. It gives you Testimonials you can use to attract other clients.
Thomas Leonard, whose leadership helped establish coaching as a profession, convinced an accountant client he was working with (let’s call him John) to ask his clients about his value to them.
A week later, John called Thomas on the phone laughing. One of John’s clients had told him that he was a great “marriage counselor”—that his ability to explain financial concepts was so comforting to the client’s wife that they were no longer arguing about money. From then on, when John would meet new accounting prospects, he’d proclaim, “My clients tell me I’m the greatest marriage counselor they ever had!”
Ask your ten best clients what value you bring to them and, while you’re at it, ask them for permission to use what they tell you in your testimonials. (Even if you’re in a regulatory environment that makes using testimonials difficult, you can always tell people what your clients are saying about you.) Meanwhile, your clients will be pleased that you value their opinions, and that you care enough to ask.
You can try the same thing with the people in your personal life—your close colleagues, spouse or partner, family, and friends. Ask, “What do you get out of our [relationship/_____ing with me]?].” Then ask if there is something more you can do for them, now or in the future, and listen carefully to the answer.