No one is irreplaceable. No expert, no professional, no one. But if you want to push yourself up the continuum towards “irreplaceable” status, here are some things to work on.
Don’t just focus on routine work – no matter how profitable. Work that can easily be reduced to a set of rules, routines, instructions, or procedures, is only work which will make it easy for you to be replaced – either with a lower priced competitor, someone more convenient, another professional who seduces your client, or to “offshoring”.
Deft negotiation is hard to replace. Work which requires subtle negotiation, expert conflict resolution skills, and other truly bespoke creativity on the fly pushes you up the irreplacability continuum.
Empathy with your client is a winner. Really getting to grips with a client, their business, and what matters to them will make the difference and is a great formula. Truly caring: sincerely, genuinely, deeply caring.
Create a truly new service. Best of all, invent a service that the client didn’t even know they were missing. A great way to become more valuable is to do high-quality conceptual work which is difficult and risky to substitute.
Don’t do work which a computer can do faster. Leverage technology and the internet to deliver your services rather than simply doing the same old low-tech stuff, the same old way, at the same old price.
Don’t spend professional time doing work which could be handled by a para-professional. If a para-professional – paralegal, clerk, early-career professional, or some less expensive resource – can do the work adequately, then stop doing it yourself. Delegate. Find a way to manage it so you can be certain the client is both perfectly satisfied and benefits from lower cost of production.
Ensure that you and your service appeal aesthetically and emotionally. Prosperous clients will pay for what feels “right” and matches their self-space or corporate-image. Make certain you look like a right-fit, reflect their business values, and go well beyond the merely functional.
These same clients want to feel cared for, and “at home” with the values and behaviours of you and your colleagues.
These are some ways you can avert risks of commoditisation and preserve the premium pricing which can attach a unique professional service experience you may offer. Most clients want more than mere correct technical advice – and they will reward you for it with a professional future.
To sell your expert professional service you need to satisfy each clients quest to be cared for and achieve their superordinate goals. To maintain – or increase – premium pricing, avoid commoditisation and pursue high customisation.
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Remember, nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply Albert Einstein was spot-on when he said “nothing is so complex that it cannot be explained simply”. Tenders, bids, proposals, and informal pitches for business are not times to show how clever and capable you are by using legalese (I’m looking at you lawyers), […]