Whether a client hires me for a single speech or an ongoing advisory engagement, my focus never strays from this value proposition: deliver value equal to ten times what each client pays me.
Why did I pick 10X?
It should never be hard for your clients to tell if you are making a difference. If you charge $10,000 for a consulting project and deliver $12,000 of value, your client might well decide it wasn’t worth their time and effort to bring you on board.
But if you deliver $100,000, they will be pushing you to lock in dates for the next three projects.
10X is a big return. These days, even VCs would be thrilled to get a 10X return.
There’s only one proven, consistent strategy for delivering a 10X return:
This one word separates those who add significant value from those who compete on price. It separates businesses that thrive from those who struggle to survive.
Simply stated, unless you deliver specialized services to your clients, you will never deliver ten times the value they paid you. Never.
To specialize, you need to understand each client better than your competitors do. You must understand precisely what will be most helpful to them, and then you must find a way to provide it.
For this reason, I ask a lot of direct questions, and I listen hard. If a client gives me a general answer, I push back.
You might think it is difficult to challenge a client or to force them out of their comfort zone. In truth, this depends on your motivations. If you are committed to using what they tell you to help them in a dramatic fashion, clients seldom mind being challenged. But if you push solely for the purpose of selling your generic offerings, get ready to be shown the door.
Know more about each client than your competitors do, and use this information to benefit that client
By the way, I’m telling you my secret formula because so few people listen. For many years now, specialization has been a proven practice for building a defendable competitive advantage… and yet, very few companies practice it as their core strategy.
If you’re not yet convinced, consider this. When you commit to delivering a 10X return, you remove pressure from your own profit margins. Clients no longer care about how much you are making when they make 10X what you charged. So if you are tired of working harder to make less money, use specialization to simultaneously solve your own problem while you absolutely delight your clients.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.