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Minimum Level Engagement

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81
Chris Do
Published
May 10, 2018

Chris Do leads an open agenda call talking about structuring minimum levels of engagement.

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This is call 80, one, call 80, one officially, unofficially. It's an open agenda call. So what I want to do is just prioritize the questions that you have, what's on your mind, what's hot and bothering you at this moment or challenges that you're going through? OK, so we don't need this. It's just a placeholder. So does anybody want to articulate their question? And I can write this down in shorthand, and then we'll go back and see which ones seem most relevant and then we'll attack it. Who's got a question they've been thinking about? Or do do I need to give you time to sit down and think about this? And we could do that too? Or is somebody ready to go? I can start. OK, go ahead. Yeah OK. You guys are chomping at the bit. Let's rock and roll. Go ahead. Go first. They don't all go at once now. OK, so I'll begin then if that's OK. I do have two questions, but they are very specific because Chris, you once told in a video that you also charge for the non execution part. So if you sell a logo for, like I say, to 20,000 euros, does this also include all the conversations about it apart from the actual strategy sessions? Do you understand what I mean? I do. You asked it in a strange way. So it's hard for me to write. That's what my fingers are stuck right now. So are you asking how to charge for the non execution parts? No, because my real question is. OK you said that you are charging for the non execution parts. So but you also charge for the strategy session. So if a customer calls you about the logo that you sold them for two or I mean, 20,000 euros? Mm-hmm You also charge for the phone calls or good in the 20,000. OK do you charge for the client calls, right? Yeah and then I have not one that we can handle. Not far away. Yeah OK, one time in the video, you were playing with the customer and the customer asked if you would give them guarantee for your works. So you said no and then raised the price. So you could give them this guarantee. Yes the reason that you couldn't give the guarantee for the original price where it was already a bit high, but you could give it for the right price. Are you doing anything different then or. OK OK. Ask that question again. Just the question part so I can capture your sentiment, I don't want to rewrite your question too much because I want to show you guys how you form questions and how they're received on my end. Right? OK. Go ahead. So my question is. What is the reason that you couldn't give the guarantee to the original price. So that you raised your price to give this guarantee? And if you were doing anything different for the race price or something like that, ok? Yeah, that's it. I teach my computer how to spell your name. Well, OK, who's next? I have a question. Go ahead. So I was watching the lead generation video it's my second week, so I'm trying to catch up with everything and pretty much my thing is I don't have any clients, so I'm watching the lead generation. Video and you mentioned that the ideal client must have 1,000 times my minimum level of engagement. It might be an old video or there's something that I've been missing. Pretty much I'm asking like my minimum level of engagement is around 2000. So I'm asking like, is it futile to target clients with 100 times the gross amount that I want to charge for? So this is I'm going to put some zeros in here. OK, so if your minimum, your MLA is 2k, then your must gross $2 million, right? Yes, my question is, am I just wasting my time if I target mom and pop shops that do 200 thousand? OK and I wasting my time with any one that is smaller, right? Yep beautiful, Demi. Thank you very much. And this is fantastic. OK, we're off to a really good start, guys. Who's next? I can fit in. OK, let me see who's talking there. Is that reality? Yes, it's me. OK, go ahead. OK when I'm on a call with the prospect, I'm having a hard time pivoting the conversation towards a problem to solve instead of list of deliverables the client needs. OK do you want to know how to pivot? Not pivot, but we were told that we need to be paid for the thinking, so we ask, who are we talking to? What's the problem and challenges and what's getting in the way? But my challenge has been that if somebody contacted me to design a startup or a brand identity from scratch, what is the problem? I can't seem to find the problem, and I cannot ask him. I cannot ask him, what are you? What is the problem I'm trying to solve? Because the answer would be, I'm opening up a new business and I need a visual identity, or something. Oh, OK. I'm trying to think about how to ask this question right now. I think I know how to ask it, but I would love help from the group to phrase this question OK, because I'm a big believer in this. There's a quote somewhere. I'm going to probably mess this up. I think we mentioned it in the business boot camp. A question well defined or well phrase is 50% the solution. so you asking this question in answering this question? You will also know how to ask this question to your client. You follow me. No, I don't. I don't want to bend your brain a little bit, so it's the art of asking questions is the problem. Because you're like, I can't just ask that question. I'll get stuck or they won't have the answer. It's because we haven't asked a more beautiful question just yet, and we will. So listen to this. I understand the sentiment that Richard is saying, so somebody else help me out. How do we phrase this question? Let's practice together, guys. Let's use our collective intelligence. How do nail the unseen question? How to what? How to nail down the unseen question. OK that is an awkwardly phrased thing, but it's a good start to nailing and things that are invisible. OK, somebody else want to try again. It captures the sentiment. Just need some wordsmithing out the surface. Yes, challenge how to surface a challenge or a potential. Problem That's pretty good. OK is that ok? Richard? you could say also go ahead. You could say also something to the effect of how to surface. The problem you're solving. OK even more specific surface, a problem you are solving, giving some context, the client has no idea that there's a problem to solve. I'm trying to pivot it towards selling strategy. So is it something like how to surface the real problem that you're solving as opposed to the problem they think they have? Actually, actually, Chris just wrote exactly the issue. It's I need to diagnose instead of prescribe, but I'm not able to pivot the conversation towards smart diagnostics. OK, I'm not smart enough. How about from a business perspective? Mm-hmm And I have this book this book helps a lot. It's a good book. Yeah it talks about that stuff. It does. And we're going to talk about it for sure. OK all right. Excellent let's do one more page. And then we're going to dive into this, ok? Who else wants to throw something up? Well OK. I think I heard a bunch of voices, but I saw Chelsea and go up first, so. OK, awesome. Chelsea Chelsea. So, Chelsea. Chelsea, perfect. Go ahead, Chelsea. Oh, I'm trying to practice my questioning skills, so. OK OK. This goes back to where you were going with Jonathan stark and talking about fixed based pricing, and he was recommending like the packages, like kind of a small, medium, large or both kind of discussing that. And my question is around when I'm creating a proposal with three fixed fee options kind of small, medium and large in my brain. I don't want to throw in. I think you talked about this at some point. I don't want to throw in a whole bunch more in the large package it makes. The large package large is I'm spending more time going into depth with strategy, with competitive analysis. I'm like, I'm really getting in there and spending more time, but not necessarily delivering much. That's different, you know, like it's the distinction is in it's a more sophisticated end result that took more time, more thinking, more strategizing. But how do I list that out? Be like, well, you're getting the same thing. This one just going to be better because I put more time into it and I researched it longer or whatever, like so I don't know how to justify the distinction of differences in packages whenever they're comparing them. Oh, you didn't ask the question. So I'm not going to write it for you. I didn't know. I'm like, OK, how? What's differentiate that? You looked at my screen. How did you see it? Yeah how to differentiate different packages. You have different price options. Yeah the deliverables and the three price. OK thanks, Chris. You help you. That's it. OK here's one thing I want you guys to do. I've noticed a pattern here. I noticed a pattern and you guys have heard me talk about this before, which is we always feel compelled to give a lot of context. We feel like we need to give context. So people can understand our point of view. But in fact, if you start with the problem, the question first and add context as you go as necessary, you find that it actually is quite liberating. So I don't know if we were taught this in grade school, in our church or wherever we go that we must give everybody context. You know, you need to know my story to know me. But that's a lot of information. I'll give you an example. Oftentimes, Ben burns or Matthew or somebody else will come into my office, say, Chris, we have good news, we have bad news, and they start telling me all the information. I said, whoa, whoa, whoa. What are we talking about? He's like, oh, I'm so sorry. We need your opinion if we should go Yes or no with this particular problem. Fantastic so you're looking for a Yes or no? So now you can give me the story. And now I'm able to listen more intently because I know what the heck to focus in on. So, guys, moving forward, let's try and practice this practice in your personal life and your professional life. Just get right to it in your emails, just get right to it. Don't beat around the bush and then give context as necessary. OK, so I'm confused. How do I differentiate my different price packages, as seen or discussed on Jonathan Stark's episode? See, by phrasing it, the sequence does matter. OK all right. We'll do one or two more, and then let's get out of here. So somebody else had said something. Go ahead. Hey, it's Abby. Hi hi, Abby. Can you hear me? I can hear you loud and clear. OK, so this just goes back to Demi's question actually about looking for businesses that are over a certain turnover. So what my question is, how where do you go? Is there a simple way of finding out that information without literally going and searching every single individual company in the UK at companies house? Or is there a kind of place you can go to look that information up? Probably I'm waiting for you to form the question so I can write it for you. You want me to pick up. How can I find out easily which companies fit into the price or the turnover bracket that I'm looking for? Who fit in the bracket? Yeah, the kind of if you're looking at companies with a 2 to 5 million turnover, for example. OK awesome. Last one, last but not least one more person, and I actually like hearing your questions a lot like this, so this is very helpful to me. It may not be that helpful to you, but it's good for me so far. Keep going one more. When speaking of minimum levels of engagement, should I have or could I have different levels for different types of work? so identity work versus interior design work. All right. Fantastic, you guys. OK, now I'm going to ask some veterans here, so I'm going to go like this, I want to go back and look at it. OK, you guys can just look at it on screen. OK, you guys can see my screen right? I want to ask the veterans who have been part of this group because we tend to get repeat questions quite a bit. So I don't want to start with those. Obviously, I want to start with the ones that haven't been asked or haven't been answered clearly enough for you. So we're going to start on page two here. All my veterans. And then you guys tell me which question seems to bubble up to the top. Then we'll go from there. OK I should read this, I'm being rude right now, let me read this in case somebody is driving and listening to this, so Ken's ask, do you charge for the client calls? Second question is what is the reason why you couldn't give a guarantee in the original price? But we're able to do so when you raise the price? And what's the difference in service and deliverables demise for lead generation? The ideal question I'm sorry the deal client gross is 1,000 x of your minimum level engagement. Am I wasting my time with anyone that is smaller? Whereas how to surface the real problem from a business perspective, that you're solving basically going from being prescribed a solution into the diagnostic phase as more of a consultant? Chelsea said between the three priced options, how to differentiate them. And Abby wants to know how to find out easily, she added easily part which companies fit within the bracket that I'm looking for in terms of price. Ok? Adam says. Or asked, should I? Should I? Or could I have different minimum levels of engagement for different work? OK, this is a fantastic. So let's figure it out here. Where am I, veterans? If you've been in the group for more than six months, I've consumed a bunch of the videos radical. Go ahead. Can we start with Adam's question? Sure could I have different meals for different work? Yes, we can. Do you? Can you just give us some reasons as to why you want to start with adam? It's just the question. I mean, it's something that I've been thinking about because I filter a lot of clients based on, you know, what's their revenue or whatever. But then every project that comes into the house has different needs and different time like it takes. It just takes different amounts of time to do every project. A brand project might be much more complex than doing a Porsche design project. Mm-hmm So I'm already trying to develop like an internal MLP for different projects, so I just want to know what you think about it. Ok? minimal level engagements in case you've not seen or heard this term before, it means it's the minimal amount that you're willing to take on a new client, and it doesn't mean that it has to be billed in one go. It can be done over the course of a year, meaning if they hired you to design a website. But it also includes maintenance like a maintenance contract for six months. The sum total of how much business they potentially can do with you for that year determines whether or not they're a good fit for you. And the very simple formula that you're supposed to go through is to figure out how much money you want to grow. So let's all just do this exercise with me right now. OK, so this is a working call. It's a working session. It's not just talk, ok? I want everybody to think 2018 is done. It's behind us. We're going to forecast for 2019. What do you want to grow as an independent contractor? A side hustle, as a business owner, as a freelancer, wherever you are at in your life doesn't matter. So Michelle is full time, I believe, at a company and getting her side hustle on, which is fantastic. So for Michelle, she just wants to think, what do I want to do in 2019? After hours aside, extra bonus money? What do I want? I want you guys to write that number down. OK a number that is too low will mean that you're not super motivated to hit that number because you're already doing that number today, a number that's too high is going to stress you out because you're going to sit there and think, how the heck am I going to get there? But that's OK. So what I want you to do is find a number that's slightly out of your comfort zone, one that makes you throw up in your stomach a little bit but doesn't make you pass out. I want you to think about that for a minute. OK And then I want you to write that down. We're going to commit to this. OK, so write that number down. So you can say in 2019 I will bill. X dollars. Or pounds? Or pesos? Well, or euros right down, whatever it is, one should write that down. OK everybody's playing along. Now, you know, most of us are creative designers. So the math, the numbers hurt us like spiritually, mentally, physically, and they hurt us. But bear with me, I'll get you through this, ok? Luckily for you guys are luckily for me, I have a calculator and I can help out with the math, OK, because I'm not really that good with math, either, despite all the stereotypes. Let me clear this out. OK, now we're going to take that number and we're going to divide that number by 10. So divide that by 10 and write that number down. So if I want to gross, let's say I'm Michelle and I'm like, you know what, I'm going to do $100,000 in side hustle next year. Divide it by 10. We're getting nasty feedback. Yeah, go go. OK, thank you. OK, if you have a question and you want to talk to us, we'd like to talk to you, just put on your headphones or something, your mic and your speaker too close together and we're getting that nasty feedback. OK sorry, I just switched the phone. No problem. Sorry no problem. OK Does somebody have a question or comment? OK you might ask why 10, not 12 aren't there 12 months in a year? Well, we're going to assume that you are not able to work the entire year. We know that there are slow periods, there's vacation, there's travel, there's sick time, there's holidays. So we just going to strip out two of the 12 months. That's why we come with the number 10. OK so if your goal was to do 100 thousand, let's say Michelle's goal was to do 100,000 inside. Also, we would divide that by 10 and get to 10,000. That number becomes our minimum level engagement. That means all clients coming in the door regardless of the request. That's the whole point of having an MLA. So the short answer is, no, you cannot should not have different mlas for clients, regardless of the work, you're making an exception to your own rule. Not a great start. OK and why do we want to do this because we would rather service fewer clients and do a better job for them versus taking on more clients and doing less of a good job? It will force you to not accept work that doesn't fit in here, and it's a good discipline to practice. It'll also make you think about what can I do that's worth $10,000 to somebody either in one or two assignments a year. But the minimum level engagement is not necessarily for the project, but it's for the client. OK, you can use this actually in your conversation with your client. So a client comes to you. Knock, knock, ring, ring, whatever. It's like, hey, I got a logo job. Fantastic you talk a little bit and look before we dive too deep, let minimal level engagement for taking on new clients is 10,000. Is that the kind of money you can spend on this initiative? Whoa whoa, whoa. Isn't that too much for a logo or something like that, chris? You say? Yeah, it probably is. To be honest, you could probably get it done for a lot less. But that's what it's going to cost for me to give you my attention in time. Well, I don't think I can spend that on a logo. But I hear hesitation, so I say, but then maybe that's something that you can spend over the course of the year. That's my email for clients, not for the project. Is there anything else that we can talk about? Well, yes, actually, I need to do a marketing campaign down the road 3 months from now. Fantastic so maybe we can do this for 6 and maybe that for four or something. I don't care how we get there, we just need to get there. OK, fantastic. Now we're talking about a larger scope already out of the gate. Ok? that's how you get to your 10 K. And it's a nice way to say, look, this is not a good fit for me versus saying this is too low budget. I don't do this kind of work. You obviously don't care about quality. We don't need to do that. All right. So for Radhika and Adam, should you have different meals for different types of work? The answer's no. It is pretty liberating once you commit yourself to this, no. Now, excuse me, back when we were strictly a service company, I knew our Emily was really, really high. Because if our goal was to do $5 million or $4 million, let's say $4 million. The math is a little bit easier. I would have to onboard a client for $400,000 and not a lot of clients are walking around with a $400,000 check burning in their pocket. But we did discover something when I practiced it, so I want you to understand this part is that clients who could spend North of 100,000. Generally speaking, they have a lot more money where that came from. So when we're able to talk to these kinds of clients, the money did come. And we didn't just turn away. I'm going to give you a quick example. So you understand this. So it sounds like I'm being a hypocrite, but I'm not. We did when we took on a project when it clearly said in the RFP the request for proposal that the budget for this work was $100,000 and my producer looked at it. It says, Chris. Look at the deliverables. A new logo. A website, marketing materials, print brochure, all these kinds of things. That's a lot of work, Chris. And this is us coming off commercial projects that were hundreds of thousands of dollars. Is it? Should I make them go away? Is there no, no, no, no. I want to take the meeting. I always want to be able to be the person that says no, and let's go in and let's take the meeting. We took the meeting and I told them, look, here's your budget. Now We can do a lot that's on this list, but we can't do everything. Are you open to exploring that there? Yes so what happened was that one 100,000 project we were able to land in a balloon really quickly after we did discovery to 250,000. And that one project turned into three projects. So that turned into 750,000 engagement, we still work with them today to date, I think we build over a million with them, so we kind of have to be smart about this, ok? A client can come in, lay down 100,000. Generally speaking, they're going to have more money. There's more money where that came from, and I was looking at it from an annual basis and not a project basis. And just because they self prescribed the budget as $100,000 doesn't mean it's fixed. If you learn how to speak about business, ok? I'll take any follow up questions, and then we'll move on to the next question. Chris, so it's not that you can't sort of bend your minimum level for independent services, let's just say your ideal minimum level of engagement for brand identity would be K. You can reach that by accommodating an additional service to add value to the client, but you're still hitting K So you can kind of bend it saying, OK, I know internally I wouldn't do this less than seven or five, but ideally it's 10. So how can I meet you halfway? If it comes to that? OK, I think I answered that role, but let's talk about it some more. OK, let's have some dialogue around. Well, what I'm asking is it's your internally, you kind of still bending the rule a bit. But your externally, in order for you to match your goals, your sticking your ground. Right so 6 is far from 10, right? Because we're barely halfway, so if I said, give me $1 I'll give you a 60% return on that, you would not take that deal, right? It's pretty far away. It's not like we're 80% or 90% there and where you can actually make a concession. So I think in this case, I think we start negotiating against ourselves, I think. And even then internally, what I want you guys all to do is if you have any shot of hitting your number for next year, you have to stick to your guns. Now there's two ways to do this, right? You can sit there and try to negotiate really hard with the client to get there, but I suspect something else is going to happen if you fully commit to this. If you say right now, I only charge $3,000 for x for the same work. I'm going to charge three times as much, I'm going to charge $10,000 that means that I can't be talking to the same kind of clients anymore. I can't be the same person I was. So what do I need to do? How do I need to think about myself and my work? What kind of levels of confidence do I need to gain to be able to walk into a room and command that amount of money? Because inherently you haven't done anything different in terms of design? The value, believe it or not, is all the stuff that you can't describe or draw on a piece of paper. It's how you make them feel, it's about your ability to have conversation to build rapport, your level of self-confidence, the language that you use. Those things, believe it or not, impact the price of the logo a lot. Now if I were to show you the logo that we designed for hundreds and some $1,000 you're going to laugh because you're going to say, Chris, I could have done that and I would not disagree with you. And some of you who are really, really good can say, I can actually do much better than that. What is this ball dude able to do? Like why is he able to sell this? Because it's obviously not the mark. It's not the thing that you craft. So once we get over that mindset. That limiting belief. I think you can blow the roof off what you've been able to charge thus far. There should be little connection between what it costs to make something and how you price it to the client. Isn't that the same ideology behind the business boot camp where you're getting rid of the scrubs by charging what you do for it? Yeah, 100% We are going to look at the client and price based on the client, what it means to them. So in order to get a $10,000 logo or website or whatever it is that you weren't able to get before, you have to find a different kind of client. Now here's the general rule is people like people who are like them or who they would like to be more like. So people who are billionaires and multimillionaires who are tech startups or biomedical or what it was called biotech space. They want to be around people like that. So here you are on the outside, looking in is like looking through the glass window like, oh, I want inside that party. So you have to transform. You have to start to learn about the industry or about their business, and that will help you so that they see you like one of them and not like an outsider looking at. That's the generally speaking quote unquote, about you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Yeah, 100% OK so part of this is building the confidence and the confidence comes from knowledge and practice. And so we can gain that a year is a long time to become a new person. OK you guys remember when you're a teenager and you were having growing pains like your body ached like in a real physical way. That was a time of great growth physically. What we need to do as adults is to continue down that kind of growth arc, but mentally, spiritually, that's what we need to be able to do. OK can I ask a bit more about the mli? Yeah, in regards to that, you're speaking MLA in regards to a client, not necessarily a job. So if we're holding on to our dozen clients are nice 12. And if my goal is to get 120 a year. And I say my mlas, my MLA is 10,000 and I've got 12 clients, all with this kind of same agreement that scoped me at what I'm looking to make for the year, correct? If everything goes right, it's MLI. You had it right the first time MLA minimum level engagement? Yes yeah, it's not minimum level per project. OK, the engagement can be defined a little bit differently, but I would love for you to focus on the MLA as one job if possible, because that means that we're not kind of looking at tomorrow's promise of more work. But that is one exception, and Blair talks about in his book. So if they can't hit your 10,000 or 12,001 job, you start fishing around and saying, well. How can we make this work because it's our policy, you can use the word, it's our policy not to take on clients for less than this on an annual basis. Is there something else that you're going to need in a couple of weeks or months where it's coming down the line and they'll say Yes or no, and then you can make that determination. That's your only wiggle room. Is for them to say, like, yes, I think we have more work for you or actually there's three campaigns, if you do a great job here, I, we can pretty confidently say that. You can do that, that we will be able to provide more work opportunities to. Now this is a lot different than somebody saying, hey, can you do this for super low budget because I think there's more work for you. That's a leverage or negotiation tactic that people use to promise you work they don't have. That's totally different than you saying, well, we're like 30k away from my MLA. And is there something else that you? That's a very different kind of dialogue. OK it will sound the same, but it's actually very different. And believe it or not, we have used this tactic with advertising agencies, and it has worked. So when they come to us and like, you know, we have this video at 60,000 and we didn't even have a hard and fast Emily at that point. Just like we knew, we couldn't do this job for 60k. That's what we're like. That budget is not going to work for this. Now if you do five of these things, we can do it. At 60k, a pop. So when they come back, like we don't have five, but we have four, and if we raise this to 880 k per, does that work for you? Yeah, fantastic. Let's do it. So then they start thinking campaign. Versus individual spot TV spot. OK OK. Adam and radhika, are we OK with this? Should we move on? Yep, I'm good. Yeah, Adam, Adam, good. Thumbs up. OK, fantastic.

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