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Do you want to earn more money?

This is probably a useless question. I think that almost everybody would like to make more money.


The question is: how do you do that? Of course, you can work longer, make more hours (by having additional jobs). But the limit is 24 hours per day. And yes, due to technology you can be more productive, doing more meetings via virtual video calls. So, your number of billable hours will go up, but the limit will be reached quickly.


Here is the most powerful, yet simplest answer for you to the question "you want to earn more": SOLVE BIGGER PROBLEMS! Simple, isn’t it?


You or your company are getting paid to solve a problem. If you work for a company, you get paid to do a job. And that job solves one or more problems. E.g. you are a sales person, you try to sell. That is a problem you solve. You are a HR manager, you hire the right person and by doing that you solve a problem. If work directly with your customers, your service is a solution to a problem your customers have.

And the bigger the problem you solve, the more money you ask for it. And if you solve the bigger problem better, you can even ask more money. If your solutions gerenates a lot of profit for your customer, your fee can be much higher.


About once a week we have a "problem" at home: our house is not spick and span (most often right after the weekend). Than our friendly housekeeper comes on a Monday, gets the house spotlessly clean in order and we pay her fee. Both the housekeeper and we are happy. But the money she gets is small for a small problem compared to our lawyer, who solves much bigger problems for us. I think there is a factor 20 difference between the hourly fee of the lawyer and the housekeeper. I know, the housekeeper cannot do the work of the lawyer (the other way round would also be a mess), but in many cases a person can do bigger things than the current work.


(Although this seems to be valid for just service providers, also companies that sell products can use this idea to raise revenues and profits).


The condition is that the problem needs to be real business problem, because if you’re not solving a real business problem, then your customer (or employer) will consider your fee/salary as just a cost.


You must demonstrate that your business solution provides greater value by solving bigger problems. Show the benefit, make it crystal clear, because there is a fair change that your customer does not know what you are talking about.


HOW TO KNOW ABOUT BIGGER PROBLEMS?


It starts with understanding your customer as good and thorough as possible.

  • What was the reason he asked for your help in the first place?

  • What was the initial problem s/he would like you to solve.

  • Is this initial problem part of a bigger problem?

  • Is the client trying to solve another problem?

  • Where is the client’s business struggling?

  • What is the customer trying to achieve with solving the problem?

Take time to study their business (strategy, go-to-market model, the competition, their market, etc.) and find not how to remove their biggest obstacles to (1) get clarity, (2) get a plan implemented, (3) reach a target or (4) in general, being successful. And get paid for doing so.


Hence, asking what the most value brings to them is a better question than simply asking what they would like to buy (products/services) from you.


I remember a customer who asked my help because he wanted to understand better his two main competitors. (That was his problem). When asking why he needed to understand the competition better, he answered that he was losing market share. His customers started to buy less from him. Honestly, the competition was not his real problem. The bigger problem he had, was that he did not listen to his customers. He had no idea why his customers changed to another supplier. By sharing my thoughts and discussing the bigger problem, he asked me to do customer-research as well. Moreover, I created a report about both the competition and the customers for a much higher price. And my customer raised his market share again.


Important is that the fee was also related to the financial gain of the customer by having the problem solved. If you can help your customer making 3 million dollars more in profit, it would be much easier for him to pay you 100k for your service.


If the bigger problem seems too complex to solve at once, try to break the problem down into smaller pieces; little problems that are easier to solve. Alternatively, start with a smaller version of the bigger problem. Focus on that and use the solution to this small problem to expand your experience and skills in order to solving the bigger problem.


However, think holistically. Make sure you always keep the bigger problem in mind, because solving the bigger problem justifies your higher fee. Try this, and you will see it makes you more successful and happier.


THE GOLDEN NUGGET: It might be that you are contacted by a person that just got the order from his/her management to speak with you about the problem as they see it. And they are not open and willing to listen to your questions. So, they do not allow you to probe in order to understand if the problem is the problem, or if there is another bigger need behind the need. If so, think twice if you really want to do this project.


There is much more to tell you about how to earn more money by solving bigger problems. Please contact me if you would like to get more information or would like to be coached on this.

Joost

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