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Don’t Blink: Stop Giving Away Your Services

How often has a friend or colleague revealed that she had under priced her services? All too often from my perspective. I’ve been there myself and it felt uncomfortable while doing it and even worse afterward.

Perhaps women are more honest than their male counterparts, but I do not hear the same language from men. They might be angry about not closing a sale, which can be construed as wasted but focused time or couched in other ego sparing language.

“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.” ~ Barbara De Angelis

It’s all about time and remember, time is not refundable. Once it’s gone, we can’t get it back and we are always on some sort of timer. As entrepreneurs we have to be decisive as to how we spend our time which translates into revenue. Would you be as likely to hand your wallet over as you are to “donate” your time to the same client? There’s a plus or minus column and all too often we don’t assign a specific value to these interactions. Lawyers have timers on their phones for a reason. With technology at everyone’s reach, client expectations are high and your response time needs to be factored into a contract. How clear are you?

With prospective clients it can mean offering too much in advance or doing whatever it takes to provide assistance, regardless of the time involved. Is it about likeability or poor client management? How many times have you had lengthy meetings over coffee while your brain is being picked? Ouch! What about the vague “contract” or the lax billing processes? How can you stop yourself before over-offering or ignoring the clock? It takes practice and discipline and a belief in the value of your services.

A friend recently shared that after she totaled her time with a client over and above what their agreement called for, she was probably earning $2 per hour. It’s unprofessional. What you are broadcasting is that at the risk of not being nice, your needs have taken a back seat to those of others. People can ask and we can decline. Clients may push and we have a responsibility to ourselves to be clear about the scope of services we are delivering. Be intentional. Value your time and know what it is worth.

Given the economics of our current business slowdown, a very successful entrepreneur sought out counsel from her mother who had weathered the 2008 crisis. She had been pushed by some clients to substantially reduce her fee structure and as a result anticipated  some serious financial difficulties. Advice to her daughter? “Don’t blink, don’t back down and don’t give it away.” Instead, emphasize the value of your services or repackage to better fit a more limited range of work. Be prepared to possibly lose the business, but do not give it away. You will regret devaluing your work and the client relationship will never be the same. So, whatever you’re thinking, make your pitch, take a deep breath and don’t blink!

Changing behaviors means identifying what’s not working and shift or replace with a new behavior. Whether it’s scripting new negotiating models or better managing your time, we can advise and guide your progress. This makes it the ideal time to engage the support of a career coach with experience in helping professionals achieve better, faster, results. At KICKSTART Your Transition we offer a broad range of services to fit your needs


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