Watching the tape-part 4

Today I’ll finish up the 52 good ideas y’all shared about delivering more value to clients. The last 3 categories are: Operations Improvements, Sales/Marketing Improvements, and a Catchall category.Operations Improvements

  • I set aside time to think about (and test) how to be more efficient in low-level tasks, so I can spend more time on the high-value stuff.

Sales/Marketing Improvements

  • Choosing work that’s more valuable for a given prospect’s situation and go after those.

Catchall

  • Read to learn new stuff
  • Checking “what’s new” in OReilly’s Safari Books section
  • Attend user group meetings
  • Better communication with clients
  • Participate in a mastermind group
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Consuming a lot of content on conversion optimization and listening/learning about specifics of the platform I am focusing on too.
  • Study “outsiders”
  • Deliver value from day 1 if it’s an ideal client, even if there’s no contract in place or other money obstacles
  • Be a client to the same kind of services you sell
  • I listen to my client when they complain.
  • I try to see stuff from the end user’s point of view. Sounds obvious? Surprisingly, it often is not 🙂
  • Do for your clients what they can’t do for themselves, esp. with respect to decision-making
  • Participate in a yearly hackathon
  • I try to read the market blogs in my niche. I think if I am on top of what is new and can bring that value to my customers as we talk I become more valuable to them
  • Personal side-projects
  • Open ear if I stumble upon something that could benefit one of my client (i.e. articles, tools, strategy, …).

Lots of good stuff there, but a few of those struck me as particularly inventive or high-leverage.Study “outsiders”What could you learn from people outside the world of software development? I know that’s a wide open question, but it’s one worth pondering.Could stand up comedians teach you something about being a better conference speaker?Could used car salesmen teach you something about building rapport with prospective clients?Could hostage negotiators teach you something about empathy? (turns out, YES: Google Chris Voss and check out anything he has done. It’s great stuff.)Could management consultants teach you something about helping your clients make better decisions about software?Deliver value from day 1 if it’s an ideal client, even if there’s no contract in place or other money obstaclesAre you playing a short or long-term game? If you’re playing a long term game, you might have much to gain by delivering value from day 1, even if it’s to someone who doesn’t seem like they have immediate budget, need, and authority to become a client. The world is simultaneously a much bigger and much smaller place than we tend to think, and there are lots of ways to develop a powerful reputation, aka a powerful market position, by delivering value from day 1, even if it’s to someone who doesn’t seem like they have money to spend right away.Be a client to the same kind of services you sellThis is do-able if what you deliver is something like coaching or mentoring, but probably no do-able or desirable if what you deliver is $50k software projects.That said, pay attention to what others like you are doing. They might have figured out something you can learn from!I try to see stuff from the end user’s point of view. Sounds obvious? Surprisingly, it often is not 🙂When building software, who are you working for? The person who writes a check to you, or the person(s) who will ultimately use the software?I know there’s no easy answer to that question, but it gets at what this person what suggesting when they said they try to see stuff from the end user’s point of view. In the email where they shared this idea with me, they went on to elaborate on how seeing thing from the end user’s point of view helped them prioritize features and development effort in a way their client could not do. So in a way, they are serving both the person who writes the check (helping them avoid wasting money) and the person who uses the software.In other words, they are helping their client make better decisions, which I consider the simplest possible definition of advisory work.Personal side-projectsThis is nearly mandatory after you tightly specialize your business.As generalists, we are used to getting paid to on-the-job learning for a wide-ish variety of things. We do less of that as specialists, and we might miss it.The solution might be side-projects. Those either allow you to stretch and learn new stuff in a low-risk, low-stakes environment, or they replace the diversity you used to find in your generalist work.Alrighty! Sorry I gotta run back to the Tower of Content now but I hope those ideas were useful to you, and if you’d like some support in implementing any of them, I offer a small group program to help you do exactly that: http://positioningacceleratorprogram.comClick here to get more info on this program sent to your inbox: https://philipmorganconsulting.com/inquiry/positioning-accelerator-program/-P