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Ask a bunch of small business entrepreneurs what they’re looking for in a service professional – be it a lawyer, writer or developer – and I’ll bet most of them would answer with one word: value.  But “value” is actually two things combined into one – quality and cost.  And I bet if they had to choose, cost would be a secondary concern. What they most want is to find service professionals who will deliver quality service, first and foremost, and then worry about the cost later.  Contrary to what most might think, once your customers become convinced of the quality of what you offer, they will be far less concerned about the price. Or at least I am.  Here’s why… I was recently in the market to hire a public relations professional to help support one of my small businesses.  I talked to several people that looked qualified on paper.  However, a long list of qualifications and a fancy resume don’t impress me.  One person was so focused on charging me money that I hardly had a chance to explain what I needed and to assess what value they would bring to my company.  How can I know about your expertise, the quality of your work, or your dependability from a phone conversation?  I can’t.  How will I know your services do what you said they will?  I don’t.  I’d much rather you deliver me quality first, before asking me to pay for something. So, to all you service professionals and freelancers out there, I pose this test: Even if you already believe your services are superior, take a step back and look at what you offer through the eyes of your customers.  Measure the value of what you are offering from their perspective.  Assess how your services stack up and do some discovery on whether you are delivering the quality and the value that will keep your customers coming back for more. See if you can do this before tallying up a sum total of services you haven’t even delivered.

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