HOW TO STOP WORKING FOR FREE IN 1-2-3

It’s a sad fact but almost no one wants to pay you for what you know.

Or your experience.Or your years in any field. I know this to be true because I’m an incredibly capable and fast writer. I want to say “sick fast” but all I know is that for most of my life in marketing, my partners and team members were blown away by how fast I was able to turn stuff around. And most of the time I did a very good job. That said, when clients/agencies ask me how long anything will take, because they want to budget accordingly, I’m left with a quandary.

Option A: Charge a lot for my time, because it’s going to be fast (client’s don’t like this option.)

or

Option B: Don’t charge a lot for my time, but fudge the hours that went into something (oddly enough, clients prefer that option.)

So where does that leave us?  I’ve been working for over a decade at my craft. I’m smart, fast and when agencies and clients hire me, they are actually paying for all my years of experience, insights, creativity, passion and of course time-evolved skill.

But that’s not what THEY think they’re hiring me for.

They don’t care about what I am bringing to the table. They really only care about how you or I  can help them solve their problems. In other words, it’s time to get customer focused.

Once you’ve understood your client/customer and the challenges they face, you can tailor solutions to their problems.

What’s the best way to find out about these challenges? I go direct. Just ask. 

  • What are you biggest challenges?
  • What is stopping you from growing your business?
  • What kind of specific problems are they dealing with.
  • What are their pain points? Their frustrations?

Review their answers and really ask yourself: What are they dealing with that you could possibly help them with? Doesn’t matter if you’re a graphic designer, a florist working to grow clients or a project manager interviewing at a large agency.  Understanding what the hiring side needs is critical so you can match your knowledge to their problems.

JenNash Sharable: "Become a true ally, and your clients or employers will always believe you’re worth paying."

How will your advise help address their problems? Whenever possible, use case studies and real data to make your point.  

If the florist need more customers, show them how to get more PR so they can get some press mentions and build a buzz. If you’re a project manager and you’re trying to get a job, find out what past obstacles the agency has faced and walk them through your experience to highlight how you can expertly overcome those hurdles.

So let’s take a step back.

Step 1:

Ask employers, clients or potential clients to really talk about their problems. And when they are done talking? Push them to keep talking. When you ask them “what else is an issue” you might be surprised by what you hear.  

Step 2:

Figure out how your work experience can help them solve their issues.

They’ve got questions you’ve got answers… so focus on answering those questions, or meeting their needs. That way? They will feel more heard than anything. Share data with them. Real hard numbers whenever possible.  Your case studies are their gold.

Step 3:

Brainstorm on the fly with them. Throw out ideas and solutions to show them just how invaluable your knowledge is for their bottom line. They will begin to understand that having you on THEIR team is a necessity, not a luxury. Suddenly they will see exactly how your ability to solve their problems is worth paying for. Look at that!

JenNash Sharable:  "Become a true ally, and your clients will always believe you’re worth paying."

Hope this was helpful!

Got a story you can share about how you lined up your experience with a client’s problem and scored a new project or client? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Jennifer Segalini