Just now I had an exchange with a person who was asking for input regarding a client who came to the renewal table with ideas. What more can she do, in addition to the services she already provided them with, to deliver value to clients?
She felt my proposed ideas were “too much work.” But here’s the thing: if you’re finding yourself at renewal time with a client who doesn’t feel your work is valuable, you’re never going to be able to raise your rates. Of course your time and your work are valuable. But when you use “value” as a competitive differentiator you can really bring something to the table that none of your competitors can do for that client.
If you include several of these ideas into your established workflow, and build the cost and systems necessary to add them into your service into your packages, you could find yourself upselling and raising your rates at every renewal period by delivering consistent value to your clients.
Deliver value to clients with a weekly reporting component for your retainer clients
Depending on the dollar value of the contract, I do this just as an email report or as an email report + status call. When I worked in product at Inman, we worked in an agile-based system of scrums. If you’re familiar with scrum methodology, there’s the daily scrum standup but there’s also a more obscure measure: the weekly scrum which is basically a meeting with all stakeholders to review the sprint activities and plan for the week ahead.
I’ve implemented a weekly reporting component that is based off that weekly scrum. Basically a report of what was done in the last 7 days (in a bulleted list, with links to whatever needed reports or deliverables), what is coming up in the next 7 days (also in a bulleted list, with links to whatever deliverables are standing by for approval or feedback). To create the report, I pull the completed tasks for the last 7 days and the upcoming tasks due in the next 7 days from my Clickup account (so really, 15 minutes tops). If it’s a big ticket client and I plan a weekly check-in meeting, I use the report as the agenda for the call.
Deliver value to client with weekly reporting:
- Morale: Everyone is excited to see progress. And progress can easily get lost when you’re only receiving reporting once every 30 days.
- Focus: Keep the team of stakeholders focused on exactly what is being accomplished and what is needed in order to accomplish the next set of tasks.
- Transparency: Help yourself solve problems before they arise by keeping everyone on the same page.
Be (even more) proactive than you are now about ROI.
Listen, I get it. Nobody is proud when a campaign flops. But being transparent about your efforts to improve your client’s bottom line is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of the account. Use the weekly report (above) to constantly analyze the outcome of your efforts. Deliver value to your clients when you run ads, by keeping track of conversions. When you’re in charge of email marketing, tap into the database and learn about leads coming in that can be attributed directly to your work. Marketing an event? Keep tabs on how the event is performing now vs years past. If you run PPC, constantly tweak to try to outpace the cost of conversions. If you work on SEO, track your progress over time.
What happens if something isn’t working? Be clear about what you’ve learned from the experience, and how you plan to apply what you’ve learned from that failure for your next iteration. Constant experimentation is key in creativity. Your client will appreciate your resilience and your transparency.
What happens if things are working? Great! You have now managed to tie yourself into your clients’ valuable bottom line. Take advantage of that position and grow your account!
Learn to sell your deliverables, even after you close the deal.
Yes, you are awesome at what you do. And therefore you make it look easy. But are you making it look too easy? So easy that an intern can do it? Maybe you’re doing yourself a disservice.
This one is a pitfall I am very familiar with. You like doing something, or you’re so good at it, you can whip an entire website in a day. This is a surefire way for a client to undervalue your work. Even if you’re capable of branding that entire event in two days; or whipping that 200-page catalog in a week-and-a-half — maybe you should pace yourself and have the client focus on what goes into being able to deliver a project that quickly.
Try to break out the individual steps (or subtasks) of the larger project — yes, this goes back to that weekly report — so that the client can see the different things that go into setting up that entire wordpress website. When a client has a better idea of what goes into a project, they will be less likely to undervalue your work.