Are Your Contributions Known By Your Clients?
There is a story of an employee complaining to Henry Ford about the “guy down the hall with his feet up on the desk…”.
The employee asked Henry Ford, “Why do you pay him so much? He doesn’t do anything!”
To which Henry Ford responded, “That guy saved us $X million – thinking is what he does and he’s worth every penny…”
Fortunately, for that executive, Henry Ford was well aware of the executive’s contribution to his company.
This is a friendly reminder from client to consultant, independent contractor, or any professional who is engaged in a project for a client and is being paid a fee for services rendered.
As your client…
I want to point out that, every single week, you must send a report to me
listing everything you did to make or save me money, solve a problem, or achieve my goals.
(You can argue, at your peril, that once a month is OK, but this is about you getting paid and continuing to get paid…)
You protect the relationship and justify your paycheck only if your contributions are known by the right person.
It did not matter if the above complaining employee knew what the “lazy” executive was doing as along as Henry Ford was aware of the executive’s contributions.
As a consultant or contractor you are always in a position where you must justify your existence.
Especially if you if you work in a virtual capacity or have one of those sometimes thankless jobs where,
if you do everything right, nobody notices.
If a client can not see you working they may not be certain of what you are doing or have accomplished.
- As your client, help me understand your value.
- Help me appreciate what you bring to my business.
- Help me justify my continuation of paying your fees.
Your must help your client understand what you are doing, what you have accomplished, and the value you’re bringing to their organization.
Help them appreciate all that you are adding to their business and in turn enable them to justify continuing to pay your fee.
So, how do you get recognized by your client for your contributions?
Every week send a written report to your client or customer to show them how you made them money that week.
Your “must do” every Friday, before the end of business, is to itemize everything you accomplished for me during that week.
I want you to tell me how you made or saved me or my company money, helped me solve a problem, or got me closer to my goals.
End of Day Friday…
Invest 5 minutes of your time to develop a list and fire it off by email before calling it a day.
• Launched direct mail campaign to 5,000 prospects
• Completed packaging for Product A
• Trained 15 employees to sell Product A
• Traveled to New York to meet with A, B, and C…
• Closed round of funding for $5 million…
(I’m sure they remember that one!)
Be sure to include only tangible items on this list.
Leave out things that may be perceived as “padding”, such as “spent 0.6 hours conferring with partner,”
unless this can be justified or was requested by your client.
I need to know on an ongoing basis.
Likewise, if you have investors, send them all a regular report.
If you have more than a handful of employees, keep them all in the loop.
You cannot communicate too much.
We all need each other to be one more point of sanity in our world, and one less item to manage.
Give this a shot for 1 month with each of your clients and see what results.
My guess is that it will not only improve your client relationships, but also help you get paid faster.
And, I believe you’ll find that this will make all of our weekends more joyful.