As a coach, consultant, service professional or freelancer, you have probably had this happened before: you talked to a potential client who was just perfect.
You knew you could make magic together and you offered up your package.
She really really wanted to work with you in any capacity, yet financially your “regular” package just wasn’t possible no matter how she sliced and diced the numbers.
You know enough not to discount your service (congrats!) but it pains you not to be able to work with this client.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place… what to do?
Most potential clients who inquire about working with me are really awesome people.
They show so much passion and conviction in their emails that often times I just want to jump through the screen and give them a hug.
Since I have stopped doing that “free strategy session” smoke and mirror thing, we simply get on the phone to see what’s the best way to work together.
It takes about 20 minutes for us to figure out the REAL challenge and for me to show them what their golden threads are – i.e. how to talk about the “what they do and how they do it.” (This clarity alone could worth a 4-week coaching package.)
8 times out of 10, they’re ready to roll.
The other 2 times they got a bit of a budget problem.
They want my magic but the numbers aren’t allowing them to get the full monty.
I genuinely want to work with them and you guessed it – no discounting.
Enters Minimum Viable Scope to make everyone happy.
I get to work with gold star clients who appreciate my work. The clients get enough of the magic that will help them get unstuck. All done with appreciation and integrity.
How does it work?
First, keep in mind that it’s NOT about discounting. It’s about adjusting the scope to meet a budget.
But then you’re not simply chopping things off the list until the deliverables fit within the bucket of money your client has.
The adjusted scope needs to deliver the unique result you bring to the table, albeit in smaller doses.
I know many big wig coaches teach about creating packages and not “trading hours for dollars,” which is fine by me (to each his own, right?) but the “all or nothing” didactic manner that they talk about it could be preventing you from doing your best work and making the most impact.
Just sayin’… critical thinking, we need. Not a guru box.
Here’s how Minimum Viable Scope works for me:
1. Define the Minimum Scope For You To Deliver Your Magic
There are probably certain things you need to do to lay the groundwork before anything else can happen. No matter how you adjust the scope, this piece must be intact so you can deliver your work with integrity.
In order to do that, you need to first have clarity about the “what you do and how you do it” and be able to articulate how it adds value to your clients.
For me, the critical component is clarity. I wouldn’t write a single word of copy until I know for certain that my clients have the clarity and nailed the message they can commit to. I need to hear the excitement in their breath and the conviction in their voice.
My unique selling point is “copywriting with clarity coaching baked right into the process” (which means you don’t need to get a coach and then sweat over hiring a copywriter who waters down everything anyway) – if I take out the (psychic-ly efficient) clarity bit, then honestly, you don’t have to hire me.
2. Explain To Clients What They Don’t Get With This Modified Scope
It’s only fair that the clients may not get all the benefits of working with you without the full monty package and you just have to be upfront about setting expectations.
For instance, when clients work with me on a reduced scope, they lose the “economy of scale” (I still have to spend the same amount of time to set the clarity foundation but it’d be applied to a smaller number of deliverables.) Plus, when they do a series of pages in one go, the copy will be more cohesive than when we do it piecemeal over time.
3. Take Responsibility as the Expert
You’re the expert and it’s your responsibility to structure the project on your clients’ behalf.
You may have to help them prioritize and think creatively to get the most out of the process.
If you simply can’t deliver your magic within the budget your client has at her disposal, don’t do something half-ass. Be ready to say no and walk away.
4. Stick To the Scope
I know it’s tempting to keep going when you’re on a roll. But be mindful of the budget and the scope.
If you’re charging a flat fee, don’t just “throw it in” because you’re doing it anyway. That’s poor boundary and it’s not fair to your other clients.
If you’re charging an hourly fee, don’t add in a deliverable and bill the hours without explaining to and getting approval from the client.
This Minimum Viable Scope concept may or may not work for what you do. However way you structure your service, it should be about delivering your best work with integrity, not selling more stuff to make an extra buck.
Try it on for size and discern for yourself if that’s beneficial for you and your clients.