John Niland of Success 121 finds out that the answer to this question often turns out to be one of the “greatest friends” that an Independent Professional can have. Quite simply, it drives more clients in through the door than any other factor: What are the risks of not hiring you?

Given that we spend a lot of time with our clients, it is natural that we are reasonably familiar with those who hire us. But what about those who don’t? What are the consequences of not hiring us, or someone like us?

The value of what we do

If your client is a business or organisation, how would they define the value of your services? In most cases, they would be able to talk about the difference that you made, the benefits that came from working with you. Words like “productivity”, “cost-saving”, “reliability”, “new approach”, “motivation”, “better image”, “profit” etc.

If your client is a person, then there would be another list of benefits...words like “confidence”, “less stress”, “enthusiasm”, “inspiration” would more likely be used.

But in both cases, we only have half of the picture. The other half of our value – and often the more compelling half – lies in the answer to the question “What would have happened otherwise?”


What would have happened if they carried on as before? If they had tried to do the job themselves, what would have been the likely outcome? Even if they got there in the end, what would the delay have cost? What impact would this have on people/planning/profit etc.? If serious mistakes had been made (e.g. by less experienced professionals) what would the impact be on health, reputation, ability, capacity etc.?

The Road Less Travelled

Of course, we never know. They didn’t take that road, they hired you.

But others are taking that road every day. They are not hiring you or someone like you. They are either ignoring the problem, postponing the solution, muddling along on their own or getting a trainee to do it as they’re afraid of the cost implications.

So what is that costing them? How are they suffering? That is all part of your value-proposition.

How can we find the answer

Like many good questions, don’t be too surprised if the answers don’t just leap out at you. Others will be able to see these more clearly. This is no reflection on your intelligence; it’s just that we lack the necessary perspective. It’s like trying to cut our own hair: in theory we have the skills, we just need another viewpoint.

So who can help us to answer this question?

Join us at the IPSE Masterclass on Friday 8 March 2013. For an outline of content, please see:

© John Niland Jan 2013

“The Courage to Ask” by John Niland and Kate Daly is now available on Amazon.

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