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What do you do when a client says "Just WOW me!"

~ by Alan W


We say “We can ‘just wow you’, it's going to cost you R100k. I can't put my team to work on anything less. We are in business, just like you. We can't afford to explore things unless we're being paid for it”.


Why must your business take such a bold stance? Because when you are in the business of expertise, you act this way. Expertise does not come for free, in fact, it is a premium purchase because of the depth of value being exchanged. Let's say for example you had a legal issue. You won't go to a lawyer and say ‘Come up with a solution and then I'll tell you if I like it and then I'll pay you’. Your business of expertise is in the same boat as the lawyer.


Sometimes we have to introduce our clients to the caliber of business we are in. We should openly communicate that we have to ensure that our team is productive and when we're talking to 2-3 other clients about working on their business. We do this to help orient them to our world of business expertise that they are trying to tap into and to set the stage for how this world operates (which is certainly not one that has endless bandwidth and gives our ideas away for free!). We just can't do that. We won’t do that. In fact, we don't know what it means to just act on "wow me".


We say “Give me something to work with here! You need to give me an idea of what you want and what you are willing to spend and let me explore the idea you have”. THAT works for any expertise business.


If they reply by saying, “Well, then I will go to the other design firm”. Then the expert you are, replies with “Then that's what you have to do because this doesn't work for me.” (said in a polite manner and with a smile). They will either stay or they will go. That is up to them. This is your client filtering process in practice, the way you develop long term working relationships with clients that have been built on respect for expertise from the onset. Think about the money lost with a long-term client who always expects a free “wow me” start to every pitch for work? Not the rut you want to encourage being in - it simply makes no commercial sense for your business


Unfair negotiations. That is how we see "just wow me". An unfair tactic from potential clients. You at this point have the opportunity to set the rules of engagement. Be bold and dare to step up, for the sake of your business positioning in the minds of your clients of tomorrow.


* Extracts from Kier McClaren


Work with Alan W


"Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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