What can you say to convince a client your firm is valuable? Is there more you could tell them? You might have the world’s most effective elevator pitch, but if a competing firm can better prove its value, then it’ll be hard to earn new engagements. So what are you supposed to do to prove your firm’s value? Show them the data. Don’t just tell the firm you’re worth their time. Show them undeniable proof that you’re valuable.
In a recent article from the MIT Sloan Management Review, the authors point out that valuable data helps firms to compete harder, writing that “organizations that become more capable of getting value from data will certainly realize benefits and competitive advantage.” Firms that can show value in their data are the ones that gain an advantage over their competition.
Here are seven situations when you can use your firm’s data to prove to clients that you’re worth their investment.
+ Tell your clients something they don’t already know. Show your expertise by demonstrating how familiar you are with a client’s business. Let them know you understand what they want to accomplish. Compare their project to an earlier project of yours: when you draw parallels to how you’ve done problem-solving for a similar project in the past, without disclosing proprietary information, a client can see the value you add.
Here’s a tip: Have on hand before-and-after charts or graphs to illustrate exactly how your firm contributed to the earlier project you have in mind.
+ Tell the client something they need to know. Make yourself a source of helpful information. When you notice that something could go wrong, give your client an early heads-up, and show them the data that proves you right. If for instance your client’s budget is at risk for overrun, and you have ideas for keeping them on budget, then that’s something your client needs to know immediately.
Here’s a tip: Set up reporting dashboards in your project management software, so that when you notice the potential for a budget overrun, you’ll have at-a-glance reports to show your client what’s wrong.
+ Show what you’re doing and why your work matters. To demonstrate your value, become invaluable. Make yourself present and available to discuss the project’s status, to share milestone project updates, and to discuss solutions to major problems like cost overruns. For most businesses, it’s invaluable to have someone like you who is available to listen and to help as necessary. Remind your clients what you’re doing every day to grow and manage their business.
Here’s a tip: In addition to preparing talking-points to tell your client, be prepared to listen, too. After all, the first step to solving any problem is simply to listen. It’s also a fine way to gain your client’s trust.
+ Bring useful information to meetings. During meetings with your clients, use your data to do more than simply illustrate that you understand the direction of their business. Instead, show clients, you’re also prepared to look at data related to their firm, even when a meeting comes up at the last minute. Once you all understand what the data means, offer some different solutions to your client’s problems, using your data to visually support your recommendations.
Here’s a tip: Show your client when a resource, like allocated hours or a project’s budget, is reaching the limits set in your project management software. When a project starts, create a dashboard that tracks your client’s Not to Exceed amounts and use it to keep your clients updated during meetings.
+ Involve the client in major project milestones. Give your clients a reason to celebrate, and a chance to appreciate your value, as well. You’ll create a shared sense of value when you take the time to carefully review your client’s milestone accomplishments. That includes project stages you all have finished, due dates you’ve arrived at, budgets you’ve met, and the project’s overall percent-complete. Once you and the client see eye to eye, and you’ve listed everything you’ve accomplished, your value will be obvious.
Here’s a tip: Make your value noticeable. Use your project management software to make a very simple dashboard listing some of the milestones mentioned above, and share key stats, so your client never has to guess what you’re worth.
+ Inform the client about the consequences of a change in scope. Always be available to consult with clients when they want to make a big change to the scope of a project. Make sure they understand that changing a project’s scope can have real consequences that might outweigh the benefits of scoping their project, in the end. Be the most reliable person in the ever-changing landscape of your client’s business. What’s more, you’ll know whether your firm will be able to take on the work, if it’s offered.
Here’s a tip: Depend on all the data you’ve collected from your clients to create for this client a cost estimate for making a change in scope. Use what to know to forecast what you don’t.
+ Be helpful beyond the scope of the project. Help clients whenever you can, even if you’re helping with something that has very little to do with the project at hand. It’s not only the most professional thing to do, but it also builds long-term trust between you and your client, the kind of trust that defines successful business relationships. That’s because when you help a client, they are more likely to offer you their help, in the future. It’s not easy to build enough trust to show your value, but over time, you can find lots of opportunities to illustrate how much your work is worth.
Here’s a tip: Listen carefully to your clients’ pain points, and when there’s a chance for you to draw from your skillset to help, don’t let the opportunity get away from you. Before meeting with your next client, brainstorm a shortlist of things (not related to projects) that you do to help clients, and be ready to help.
When you’re ready to see how a project management software can help you prove to clients that you are a valuable asset, sign up for a free demo of BigTime, and show them exactly what you’re worth.