Your biggest obstacle to growth is poor mindset. This morning, a top executive came to my office and said “Mustapha I looked at your proposal, and I thought maybe we find a better way of doing this assignment. I like your value offering and methodology, but your fee is a lot. I am suggesting, we have an internal staff to work with you so that they will do all your field work under your guidance. This will help us work with you within our budget that is 60% less what you proposed. What do you think?”
This executive is brilliant. If you were in my shoes, how would you have replied them?
I told him thus: in fact, if you want me to work with your staff is the ultimate of our service offering – empowering you the client with our tools and methodologies to apply them and learn on the job. When I do the work with my team, they are already trained and they know what to do even before we discuss. We have done this over and over again. However, with your staff, I have to increase briefing meetings as I will first educate them about our approaches and then interpret for them any data we collect.
I think you need to add 20% on my original proposal since your staff will work with the best expert and they will stay with this knowledge the rest of their working life. In fact, I am sure next time you do this kind of assignment, you might not even need me if you keep the staff I will work with.
With that response, the executive said: ‘ok, thanks for the clarification, let me go discuss with my team and we see how to move on.”
So, mindset. Work on your mindset. It is easy to get excited when you get a job paying any money. But delivering the assignment is a different ball game. Once you sign the contract it is when you see the contract fee is small.
Take time to take stock of yourself:
- Who are you?
- What do you offer?
- What is your value?
- Why do people prefer to come to you?
- Who is your competition? Are they competing on value or price?
Don’t do other people’s business. Know what they do and make your offering unique. Don’t be ashamed when you lose a job because you asked a higher pay or charged a high fee. It is because your value offering was better. But the client chose a lower value. That is good enough to keep your head high.
I cannot tell you how many times we have been called in to implement a project that a first contractor failed to do. That is what happens when you have positive mindset of thinking big. Thinking you are special and not any other person.