Imagine a potential customer says: “I need help with a serious problem of XYZ. What would be your approach? Have you done this before? How much do you charge? When can you start?”
Tempting, isn’t it? You are given an open invitation to promote yourself and your services to an eager audience.
Not so fast. Instead, insist on knowing more and helping the customer figure out what’s best, even if you not involved at all.
For instance: “The best approach depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Let’s first consider what’s important to you and what needs to get done, regardless of who does it. Then we can assess your options to move forward — with or without me.”
By focusing on WHAT NEEDS TO GET DONE, you are putting the client’s interests first. You are stepping into the role of a thought partner (not a vendor), searching the best way to handle the situation skillfully. You have a great opportunity to demonstrate clear thinking and skillful judgment without having to promote yourself.
Once the approach has been well defined, you can say, “Now let’s consider the options for WHO WILL DO IT with you. I’m one candidate, but you have some choices to make.” Now is your chance to make a strong case for how you can deliver effectively on what’s needed. Since you have already demonstrated your value as a thought partner, you have a strong inside track to win the business.