Getting Out of the WE Trap

When I started freelancing and consulting, I fell into the trap of saying, “WE at this company…” It is very difficult not to want to say WE even though it is really only you. We do this kind of thing in order to impress the marketplace and land that big client. We instinctively think two thing:

  1. BIG clients have BIG budgets, and
  2. BIG clients only work with BIG vendors.

We think they want and need a team of highly trained professionals to do the job. What BIG clients want is the same thing that smaller clients want: high-quality results and a solution to their issue or problem.

A few things to point out.

  • SMALL clients have BIG budgets.
  • BIG clients will work with SMALL vendors.
  • No one is impressed with who you are anymore, but are impressed with what you can do for them, what service (or solution) you can provide for them, and what results you can produce for the budget.

The thing to do is not present yourself as a We-are-the-solution but present yourself as THE solution to a client’s specific issue and problem. If a client (big or not so big) sees that you have a solution for them, then they will contact you to discuss how you can apply that solution to their situation.

Think about it this way, when big client calls little ‘ol you, how many people are on the phone? One person calls or emails another person. Hopefully it is the CEO or top decision maker calling you. It is not all of them calling all of you. It is one of them calling one of you. It is a person-to-person thing, a connecting-the-dots thing.

I am currently challenged with helping a very talented architect who has not embraced the personal-branding approach to marketing his skills and his company. He has done the “We at this big company…” approach for so long that he cannot simply say,

I am the company and here are my skills. Just look at my portfolio of work, and if you see that my solutions to other people’s problem will work for you, then please contact me to discuss any questions or details.

My advise to anyone is to:

  1. do good work,
  2. showcase that good work, and
  3. get others in front of your work.

In a changing world, changing economy, and changing marketplace, this is the way to go. It is a simple yet effective blueprint herald by some of the most successful entrepreneurs today.