My clients come back because they don’t have to.
Give your clients a choice and they’ll often choose you.
My clients often do something of a double take when I tell them that I want to empower them to not be dependent on me. The very sweet clients say, “But how are you going to make any money if I don’t need you for anything?” Don’t worry about me. It’s exactly because I empower them that they return.
We just had some hardwood floor work done on the house. Apart from the floors in the house, I’ve been wanting to (read: doing nothing about) sand and refinish the decks out back. I talked with my favorite hardwood floor installer and he explained exactly how he would do the job. I even told him that I had wanted to do it myself and asked him how he would do it. He told me in detail each step. So now I was fully equipped to do the job myself. I had the tools, I knew which finish to buy, and I even had the advice and blessing of a pro. Let’s do this thing!
DIY: I’ll get it started tomorrow … tomorrow … tomorrow
PRO: Next Monday @ 9:00 AM.
DIY: I think I have a cordless sander … somewhere.
PRO: They have (what they called) the Mercedes of floor sanders. An $8,000 beast of a machine.
DIY: Let’s see, 8 hours per day, 2 days per weekend, it should only take me … 7 years.
PRO: We’ll be done Friday @ 5:00 PM.
DIY: I’ll save a bundle of cash.
PRO: We’ll save your marriage.
They were done Friday … @ 4:00 PM.
My dog peed on a sweatshirt on the new floors (marking the new territory?) within a week. It soaked in nicely and left oddly-shaped brown stains. It wouldn’t wipe clean. Ugh. I called my pro. He explained in detail how to fix it (sanding and refinishing) and gave me a very reasonable quote to come out and do the job. But I thought, “This might not be the last time I need to do this.” This was maintenance, this I wanted to learn, I wanted to be independent. I followed his instructions and did the job myself. Turned out great.
If a client is truly a DIY type, let them DIY.
You don’t want clients who are true DIY (Do It Yourself) types.
- They won’t value your work (because they think they can do it themselves).
- They won’t value what they are forced to pay you (because they’re comparing your fees to free).
- They’ll ask for the moon (because it’s “just a quick fix, right?”).
- They’ll never go away (because they’ll want to get every nickel out of your fee–since they were reluctant to pay you in the first place).