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Freelance Fortune: The Newsletter (No. 3: Dec 2009)

This is Seth Kahan’s free, private-roster newsletter that celebrates the free-agent lifestyle while providing techniques to succeed in the marketplace. © 2009 Seth Kahan. You are encouraged to share the contents with others with appropriate attribution. You may forward this newsletter to others. To subscribe, click here.
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This issue of Freelance Fortune is in two sections:
* The Two Most Effective Ways to Raise Your Fees :
* My offerings including the January 8 PowerSurge 2010 Workshop
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The Two Most Effective Ways to Raise Your Fees

These are two sides of the same coin, but they must be each paid attention to in order to achieve maximum impact. You can do one without the other and you will not have the same amazing success. Do them both and the synergy is enough to propel you into another league.

1. Provide Undeniable Improvement to Your Client.

If you demonstrate that working with you will benefit your customer beyond a shadow of a doubt in ways that he or she treasures, they will eagerly pay you more than the competition. Here are three ways to do this:

A. Link your results to their bottom line. When you can say that your services will result in a savings of $200,000 per year, and that savings can be annualized (ie, $200k per year, year after year), then you move to a new level. Suddenly the consulting projects you were being paid $20-30,000 for become easily worth $40-80,000 in the mind of the customer. All because you can demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI).

B. Provide Third Party Testimonials. When you say you are good, there is clearly a bias. When someone else endorses you, you move one giant step closer to unbiased acceptance of the value you provide. Your work may not lend itself to quantifying the result in dollars. But, if you are consistently, systematically improving the situation of the people you serve, get it in writing.

I ask for a letter of reference and referrals when my clients are happiest, i.e., when they are thanking me. That’s when I inquire, “Do you know someone else who would like to have what you have now?” After they answer that question, I ask, “Would you write out the results we achieved in a short note on letterhead? It goes a long way toward helping me in my efforts to let people know what I do.”

C. Collaboratively Identify the Value You Generate. Ask your client to walk through an exercise with you, identifying the value that will come in as a result.

For example, here’s one way this could play out. Here is an excerpt from a conversation with one of my clients, interested in hiring me for a particularly tough board meeting. I say, “Let’s look at ways you would intuitively measure the outcomes of this session. From your gut, how will you know this is a success?”

My client responds, “That’s simple. First, we will have a good relationship with the other organization that will be present at our meeting. That’s new ground. We have been estranged for twenty years. Second, we will have a plan to explore a business partnership. I want to know in the next 60 days whether or not we can go forward and do business together.”

Then, I ask, “What is the value of that? For example, what would be the cost if we do not achieve these results?” My client says, “Without a good relationship, we will continue to lose business in this part of the state. Any contracts that come in here over the next year will in one way or another be an outcome of this meeting.” “So,” I ask, “how much would you guess their business is worth to you in the year ahead?” He says, “Probably about $150,000.”

Okay. We have just established that anything they paid me under $150k is ROI. This meeting actually happened, and I charged $12,000 plus another grand in associated expenses (travel & hotel). That’s over a 10-to-1 return. Now, this isn’t substantiated – we’re not doing academic research here. But, it’s reasonable to say, with those kind of estimates, I am clearly worth the investment. Together we confirmed that. And that’s just the return from the improvement in the relationship.

2. Get Your Clients to Come After You.

Instead of you going after them, you want them to be coming after you. When you are reaching out asking people to buy your products or services, people see you as a commodity, one of many sources for their needs. But, when they want you, and only you, you cease being something they can compare to other objects. You are one-of-a-kind. I never want people to hire me when they are looking for a facilitator. I want them to say, “We need Seth in the room. Go get Seth for this job.” Here are three ways to get your buyers coming after you:

A. Establish Yourself as a Singular Source of Extraordinary Wisdom in Your Area of Expertise. Hold events that put you head-and-shoulders above your competitors. There are many consultants in Washington, DC who serve the CEO community, but only one who holds private, by-inivitation-only symposia limited on cutting edge topics and includes Seth Kahan as a knowledge source… that’s me. Systematicaly, symposium by symposium I am establishing myself as a unique resource to CEOs in the DC metro area.

Write papers that you circulate to your would-be clients with special knowledge, news, techniques that establish you as an expert with a unique perspective. Publish a private-roster newsletter like this one.

B. Establish a modus operandi that sets you apart. Don’t take on work that does not befit your image. Be ready to refer others. I received a call from a company that wanted me to do their retreat. When they found out my price, they were stunned. I made sure we covered this in our initial call, so we could determine up front if we were a match before either of us invested much in the relationship. I asked them what they were prepared to pay. It was about one-quarter of what I charge. I quickly referred them to two colleagues who are excellent at what they do, establishing myself as a friendly, though currently out-of-reach, source in my field. I successfully set the boundary on what I will and won’t do. When the stakes are higher, they will think of me. This is, of course, easier to do when work is plenty – so do everything you can to achieve that asap. It should be one of your primary goals.

C. Make Yourself Available as an Expert. Let the press know you provide insight and expertise when they need it. Check out Help a Reporter Out. Subscribe – it’s free. When you see an article that speaks to your domain, respond. Let others know you are available when experts are required. Consider being on a panel, speaking in special circumstances, and always remember to publicize your contributions through press releases.
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My Offerings

January 8 Workshop in Washington, DC: 2010 PowerCharge!

A full day session dedicated to accelerating your business in the year ahead. This workshop is for you if you are serious about increasing your business growth. It will be a tour de force of content culled from my years of experience as an independent consultant. Topics will include: Power Marketing, Finding the Right Clients, What to Say When You Find Them, Brand Building, Mastering Time Management, and Leveraging Your Website, Blogs and Twitter. This event will be so full of useful content that I am providing an optional dinner at my expense after the workshop to debrief! To register, visit SethWorkshop.com

Seth Kahan’s Private Roster™ Mentor Program

This unique program is available by exclusive arrangement with Million Dollar Consultant Alan Weiss. I am the first person in the world to be certified by Alan to provide all three of his mentor programs. When you enter my mentor program, here is what you get:
– An initial interview to identify your business goals and evaluation by me of your approach
– Access to Alan Weiss’s global mentoring community where you can ask questions 24/7, and have access to world-class consultants around the globe.
– Access to resources such as proposal templates, lists of questions to access clients, frameworks for establishing business offerings, audio and video files, newsletters; mastermind groups; international mentor summits and much more.
– All teleseminars I produce during your participation are provided to you free of charge.
– Discounts to both my workshops and the workshops of Alan Weiss

You may take your choice of one of three programs:
The Regular Program – Six months of unlimited access to me by e-mail, phone, fax, regular mail – or in person, if convenient for both of us. I help people strategically (how to set fees, how to gain visibility, how to position and market your practice, etc.), and tactically (what to say at the meeting tomorrow, critiquing proposals, overcoming objections, etc.).

The Guided Program – Just like the Regular Program, plus I provide you with a detailed game plan with specific completion dates, and formal, scheduled contact times to discuss accomplishments and any obstacles preventing short-term tasks from being completed.

The Total Immersion Program – This consists of two days with me, at my home/office, to learn how I handle clients, prospects, office management, invoicing, interruptions, writing, etc. We also spend considerable time on your strategy and goals, and create plans to move forward. You then enter the Regular Mentor Program for six months. For more information, including fees, and to register, visit SethMentor.com

MP3 Audio Files – Listen and Learn!
To purchase any of these audio files, visit SethListen.com.
MP3s now available include:
* Three Techniques for Engaging Clients in a Tough Economy
* Creating Surges plus Web Strategies, Blogs, and Twitter
* Building Collective Intelligence in Your Organization

Subscribe to the next 6 teleseminars at a discount, or sign up for any combination:
– Dec 15 – Getting Traction in the Marketplace: Meeting and Engaging Clients
– Jan 18 – Putting a PowerSurge in Your Business for 2010
– Feb 15 – Marketing and Delivering Extraordinary Speaking Engagements
– Mar 18 – Building Your Brand to Attract the Best Work
– Apr 12 – Talking to Potential Clients: Confidently Engaging Likely Customers
– May 17 – Writing and Selling Your Book: Building a Body of Work

Seth Kahan (Seth@VisionaryLeadership.com) is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan’s CEO Leaders Forum, a year-long learning experience for CEOs in Washington, DC. His next book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, will be published in May 2010 by Jossey-Bass.

Visit all of Seth’s blogs:
Leading Change for Fast Company Magazine: SethFast.com
GettingChangeRight.com for more info on Seth’s upcoming book
FreelanceFortune.com for tips on how to succeed as a free agent
Follow Seth on Twitter. Learn more about all of Seth’s work through his website: VisionaryLeadership.com
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If someone forwarded this newsletter to you and you want to subscribe, click here.

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