Maybe ask your clients

Philip Morgan

Quick tophat: I'll be in Nashville, TN towards the end of January, and would love to meet any list members who live there. I've organized a small meetup for Jan 23 (exact location and time TBD, but def sometime on the 23rd), and if you live close enough to attend I'd love to meet you. Sign up here:

**How deep does your market insight go?**I know some of you are already rolling your eyes, because you think you know what your clients need and want, and that feels like market insight.But I'd bet in most cases, your insight into what they need or want is constrained precisely to the contours of the project they hired you to help with. You know relatively a lot about the project, and relatively little about the people, company, and industry the project operates within.Here, in ascending order, is what insight into your clients needs and desires looks like:

  1. Understanding the scope and other details of the project they hired you to help with.
  2. Understanding why they defined the project the way they did.
  3. Understanding what they hope the project will achieve.
  4. Understanding why they care about #3.
  5. Knowing who participated in the decisions leading to this project being commissioned and funded.
  6. Knowing what second-order consequences could be created by this project in the context of the specific client you're working with.
  7. Knowing how and why these second-order consequences could be good or bad or neutral in the context of your client's business.
  8. Understanding the common patterns of relationships between people, business process, customers, money, and software across many of your clients. In other words, you understand how their business works.
  9. Understanding the common patterns of decision-making and behavior across most job functions across most of your clients. In other words, you can reasonably accurately model why almost anybody at a client company would decide to do what they actually decided to do.
  10. Understanding the common patterns of business performance across most companies within your area of focus. In other words, you can reasonably accurately model why the best or worst performing companies within you area of focus are performing as they are. You get lots of bonus points if you can not just model backward in time (figuring out why the things that worked actually worked) but also forward (knowing what investments are most likely to pay off and why).

How high on this scale does your insight into your clients go? If it doesn't go all the way to number 10, then I'd argue you have room to grow in terms of the value and impact you could be creating for your clients.Perhaps you'd like to change that?Then ask your clients. :)Hey, guess what!Today is the last day you can get the deepest discount I offer on my books.I call it my "tax write-off" sale, because you most likely can claim the book(s) as a business expense.From now until until the end of this year (that's today, yo!) you can get 30% off both The Positioning Manual ( and Specializing Without Failure ( use the code TAXWRITEOFF when you check out to get the discount. Do it before the stroke of midnight Pacific time on December 31, cause that's when this offer expires.-P