As a self-employed professional, what is the most valuable commodity that your clients pay you for?
Is it your experience, your ideas, your insights, your expertise, or your time?
Well, yes, but those are actually the building blocks of your most valuable commodity.
Conversations. Your clients pay you for conversations.
As a consultant, coach, trainer, or speaker, it’s your conversations that contain the most value. Nothing in your business is more valuable.
Just think, haven’t you had conversations with clients that completely changed the trajectory of their businesses?
Haven’t you had conversations that took your own business in a whole new successful direction?
There are many different kinds of conversations in business. Let me list a few of them.
Conversations for exploration. These are conversations where you are discovering the needs, issues, problems, and struggles of your clients. Great exploratory conversations open the door for new projects and contracts. There’s a lot of value in that.
Conversations for possibility. These are conversations where you’re imagining new possible scenarios and futures that could be created and then acted upon. Conversations for possibility literally invent new worlds. And that is extremely valuable.
Conversations for action. These are conversations where you are discussing the plans and step-by-step actions you will take, as well as what people, resources, and time are required to realize the best outcomes. Clearly, also very valuable.
Conversations for insight. You might also call these coaching conversations where the coach is helping the client discover what might be in the way of moving forward. Often these impediments are invisible, and shining light on them is extremely valuable.
Conversations for discovery. These are conversations where two people share their current thinking and projects and discover if there are synergies that could multiply their impact. The possible value from this is incalculable.
What kind of conversations you’re having depends on the nature and stage of your business relationship.
In a conversation for exploration, you may discover if there’s a fit between what a client wants and what you can offer.
In a conversation for possibility, you may be working with a client to develop new ideas, strategies, and plans.
In a conversation for action, you may be zeroing in on what is wanted and needed to move a project forward effectively.
In a conversation for insight, you may be helping a client understand what is holding them back.
And in a conversation for discovery, you may be initiating a new business relationship or joint venture.
You don’t just want to talk to people in business, you want to have intentional, productive conversations that move things forward.
And if you know what kind of conversation you’re having, the more valuable the conversation will be.
Think of the upcoming conversations you have on your calendar and ask yourself what kind of conversations you’re going to have.
Then you can set intentions for those conversations and make plans for how you will conduct them as successfully as possible.
Finally, make plans for having more of these valuable conversations.
Conversations for exploration can result in more new clients.
Conversations for possibility, action, and insight can help your clients realize better outcomes.
And conversations for discovery can lead to new business connections and opportunities.
Conversations are your ultimate business commodity. Make it your goal to master them.