I have recently stumbled onto Seth Godins Blog here http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/ so far I have been delighted to read his little daily snippets and insights into marketing and general life philosophy. He sounds like he would be a really interesting person to talk to.
His post of today is on asking what do you need me to do
For an entrepreneur\consultant\freelancer etc… he states that this is a dangerous question. So he recommends the proactive approach of letting your clients know what you can do for them. I do think that there is a fine balance between finding out what they think they need (and helping them decide if they really need it, that’s tricky!) and offering solutions that you think they might be interested in.
And interesting side note is that most of the time you can find a consultant who will implement anything you want, I think a really good consultant will question whether you really need what you think you want. (I read somewhere that you can find a consultant to implement a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich if that’s what you want, but I can’t find that quote again… it really cracked me up!)
For example we had a real honest tree removal guy come out and tell us that our tree was just fine (just sun scorched) and didn’t think we needed to remove it. The previous guy had left his car running and given us a removal quote in about five minutes.
Another example could be the case of whether you really need a 100K website if you get maybe a couple of hundred hits on your website and don’t really sell to consumers. It would be insane for the web company to leave that money on the table, but in all honesty shouldn’t they at least mention that the ROI might not warrant the expense?