The $1,000,000 question
I recently came across the story of Todd Cohen’s phenomenal rise to success from a humble sales consultant to a million dollar a year speaker, expert on sales culture.
This rise was triggered by a simple but risky question for any consultant.
This is what he asked the CEO of the company he was consulting at the time:
“What is it that you think I do for you?”
The answer was also very simple but put in a way Todd has never though of himself or his services before:
“Todd, you helped us build our sales culture”.
Up until that moment Todd had not even thought of culture and sales as a service, let alone something he was successful at.
So how can asking this question be of benefit to you?
If you see yourself as a consultant, accountant, lawyer, etc. and you present yourself just by describing your “service vehicle”, you miss out on a big opportunity to deliver more of what your clients really want.
You miss out on another opportunity to build more confidence in yourself and in your business and ultimately be able to engage new clients who appreciate exactly what you naturally provide but do not articulate well enough or at all.
No wonder engaging new clients could seem hard.
But this is not about self-branding.
It is about the power of asking the right questions and building a successful business for yourself, for your clients and for your team.
How do you leverage the power of this question if you have a service business?
Like Todd, I’ve also spent a lot of years consulting and coaching businesses and teams.
The way I was seeing my work and contribution was through the size of my expertise and the size of improvements of my clients’ businesses.
I am proud of what I do for my clients, of the expertise I provide and the results I achieve.
I am sure all of you, professional services providers, are proud too!
But have you actually asked your clients what it is that they most value about you and your services?
Have you asked them this question:
How do I help you the most? (I think it’s a better question than Todd’s :))
I was not asking my clients this question actually. They were, nevertheless, giving me the answer because of the close relationships we shared.
To be honest I wasn’t actually paying much attention to these comments because to me they seemed less important than the results they were achieving or even the improvement process itself.
I would like to define these moments of clients’ feedback and appreciation as “golden touch” moments.
These golden touch moments are the times your client feels they are really supported by you, at times when what you give them is what they need the most, appreciate the most and ultimately will reward the most.
So what were/are my clients’ golden touch moments?
Well, they are not defined by “skilled staff”, not even “more sales” nor “really smart systems and time-saving tricks”.
They are simple statements like this:
“Every time we meet I clear my head”
“You make it all click for me”
“You keep us on track”
“You hold our hand”
And yes, a more humours (I hope) one “you whip cracker”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.
You should too.
No, not so you start introducing yourself with new one-liners but so you build a strong sense of where your biggest contribution and value to your clients is; and build this contribution consistently into your service, especially if you have a team who also looks after your customers.
There are lot of consultants, accountants, trainers, recruiters out there – they are all expected to deliver their expertise well – it’s the default, the expected service.
But what is it that you are most valued for?
What makes you stand apart?
Ask your client the one-million dollar question: How do I help you the most?
You may be surprised by the answers ..
You may also come to realise why you don’t gel well with some of your clients.
They will probably be the ones who do not see your most valuable contribution as a gift at all – on the contrary -they may see at as a “nuisance”.
I had clients who did not liked the “keeping on track” golden moments or the moments of sudden clarity about what needed to be done to achieve their goals.
I had clients who would hide from the opportunity to “stay on track”.
I understand. We all have different values and way of doing things.
This is why our help is only appreciated by those sharing the same values and way of business and life management.
This is why we have a choice who we should work with, who we should share golden moments with; for the sake of our business success and sense of satisfaction..
Make the right choice for you.
Ask the question and find your golden touch moments.
PS: Todd became a professional speaker on sales culture. According to his page he spoke at 90 events last year, and charges $11,500 to $15,000 in each one. You can do the maths.