4 Tips To Increase the Value of Your Time

Yes or no, do your clients value your expertise and your time?

It all starts with you, if you don’t value your time you can’t expect your clients to either.

If you don’t value your time, how can you expect clients to do so?  The following tips may not only help you get more value out of your time, but will hopefully translate that value to your client.

1. Set Clear Boundaries and “Vet” Prospective Clients Carefully

It’s always easier to set the parameters in the very beginning when working with a new client.   Make sure you do this before the contract is even written.If you want your clients to value you and your time, then you must set clear boundaries at the beginning. Here’s what I suggest when starting to work with a prospective client:

  • You (or better yet a designated staff member) should begin by pre-qualifying a prospective client over the phone with a set list of questions.
  • Once you’ve determined that they are a good fit, set an appointment to meet in person for a specified time either at your office or at a neutral location.
  • Do not meet at their home/business as this is not a consultation.  Treat this as an opportunity to see if you both agree that you are a good “fit”.
  • Depending on where you meet, have someone on your team scheduled to either come in or call you after an agreed upon time (I would suggest about 30 – 40 minutes).  Have them  “remind” you of an appointment so there will no reason to have a longer meeting.
  • Once you have “vetted” the client and you both agree to move forward, then set the first working appointment onsite.  Use this meeting to discuss and clearly identify the scope of the work needed.

2. Be Clear About Meeting Times & Length

When scheduling meetings with clients and prospects be very clear up front how long the meeting will last.

Always, always have your assistant confirm the appointment and timing the day before, and make sure both spouses are present for the initial meeting.  It’s smart to ask the client or prospect, whether they feel they will need additional time (10 – 15 more minutes).   Then  you can adjust your schedule accordingly.   Doing this helps you to avoid meetings without an end that leads to uncompensated time.

3. Be Realistic About How Long the Project Will Take

Take your time when defining the Scope of Services.  You want to be very thorough in estimating the time it will take to produce the result the client desires. Include extra time in case something “comes up”.

Be very clear and outline in your contract as to what will be covered in the Scope of Services, including number of meetings, etc.

4. Keep an Eye On The Time

Make sure you don’t allow your meeting to run beyond the scheduled time, use a timer on your phone to remind you when the meeting is over  Use it as your personal reminder that it’s time to leave for your next appointment.

Do this… even if you do not have anything on your calendar.

Your client doesn’t know your schedule, and the length of the meeting had been agreed upon when you initially scheduled it.  This practice ensures that you treat your time with the value it deserves.

If you charge by the hour, you want to treat your time like a businessperson who does not have unlimited time.  Your time is a valuable commodity and you need to treat it as such.

Your time is valuable and the more you treat it as such, your clients will come to value your time, expertise, experience and results you bring to their project.

 

Gail Doby

6 Comments

  1. Roberta Martin on May 12, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Great points to remember! thanks

  2. Katherine on May 17, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    A good reminder especially after a rough day today! I do have talent and I need to respect this first and foremost.
    Confidence is “team building”
    And I can only expect respect if I show it first!

  3. Gail Doby on May 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

    So glad the post was useful. Designers are so hard on themselves!

  4. Anjali on May 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Interesting pointers, I sometimes find meetings extending just because the client cannot make up his or her time and they keep going back n forth over the same thing

    • Gail Doby on May 22, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Have you tried repeating back what they said and asking what concerns they have so you can surface the resistance?

  5. sara on May 29, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    oh my God…how true!!! I really have to stand up for myself….

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