Real business owners who want to take their business to the next level aren’t interested in airy-fairy notions of how your work will help their company. They want tangible, concrete evidence by which they can measure the success of a project.
They want to know that you both line up in your thoughts on the Deliverables, Objectives, Metrics and Value as they relate to your work for their business.
Do you even know what those are for the current project you’re working on inside your business? If you don’t understand them there how on earth can you understand them for your prospects’ projects?
The deliverable is where many consultants stop when talking to prospects and clients. They figure that simply delivering a new site or a set of marketing materials is what’s of real value to their client, but it’s not.
The deliverable is simply the thing being delivered in the project. It may or may not have any real value to the client. Even if it does, it’s likely not really the most valuable thing to them.
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We’ll talk a bit later in the post about the value, but for now, know that the deliverable is the tangible product you’re actually handing over to the client during the project.
The outcome is the business benefit that follows from the deliverable. In the case of providing a new online store to a client, the outcome might be increased online sales because the new site is mobile responsive. The outcome of a marketing campaign could be greater brand awareness.
At first glance this is going to sound a lot like the value in a project and you’re sort of right. It is some of the value in a project, but it’s not the total value.
In fact this is quite possibly the least valuable thing in a project. I’ll tell you why at the end when we talk about value.
Metrics are the observable indicators of progress or success in the project. For our eCommerce store above it would be measuring more sales due to the updated store function that supports mobile shoppers.
The big mistake many people make here is that they focus on things they can’t control. Maybe your job is to help the customer make more sales through a marketing campaign. Don’t hang your hat on the metric of more sales though, since there are many variables you don’t control, such as the sales team.
In the case of a marketing plan, you can influence the number of leads you bring in so a realistic metric would be leads since an increased number of quality leads is something you can measure and commit to.
When setting metrics, always go to the conservative end of the metric. If you think that the client can get between five and ten new leads a month due to your marketing efforts then base your proposal around five. Then if you hit seven, or even ten, you look like a rock star.
This is the last thing you need to define before your proposal is complete. You need to know what the real value is to their organization — but don’t stop at the first-level value, since it’s often the least valuable thing.
In our eCommerce example the first level value is more sales, but what will more sales bring to the organization? Will it bring in more income and profits?
Will that increased profit let them expand into a new market they’ve been looking at? Will the extra cash on hand let them make bigger bulk purchases and take advantage of deeper bulk discounts? Will it mean they can hire a new sales person and thus increase sales further? Can they retain top talent by increasing wages? Will those increased wages let them be more competitive in the hiring market?
There is a lot more value than simply ‘more sales’ in most projects, but I believe 99% of consultants stop at that lower level — a limited perspective often reflected in their fees. The only way to really get to these second and third level value items is to talk to the buyer and not rush through the proposal.
In your next proposal make sure you cover all four of these things. Doing so will maximize your win rate since the prospect will know that you fully understand their business and the impact this project will have on their business.