When I was a kid I couldn’t throw. Even though I was taller and faster than most of the kids my age, I turned into Droopy when you put a ball in my hands.
My friends said I threw like a girl. This confused me because my sister was an outstanding athlete who could whip my butt in any kind of competition.
Then about 15 years later, my buddy Chris and I were throwing rocks at a rusted old truck in the middle of a field in North Dakota. He pointed out that I was holding my elbow a few inches too low.
I moved it up, and right away the next rock felt more natural in my hand than all the thousands of clumbsy baseballs I had tried to lob across the wet grassy fields of my childhood. My arm felt like it was doing what it was meant to do all along.
That rock went sailing fast and far, and it hit the truck with a loud, satisfying “clunk.” Ever since, I’ve been able to nail anything I aim for. That minor adjustment erased 20 years of awkwardness and humiliation.
If Chris had been a personal trainer I would have paid him a fortune for that 30-second throwing lesson. Wouldn’t it be worth it?
The story of the plumber with the hammer
This is just a real-life variation on the story of the plumber who charges you $150 to pound one of your pipes with a hammer–five dollars for the pounding, and $145 for knowing where to pound.
Ultimately, he fixes your sink, and that’s what you’re paying for.
When you really get this, you’ll experience a big shift in the way you think about your knowledge and skills, and the way you bill your clients. They’re not paying you for the number of hours you put in, or how hard you work–they’re paying for the outcome.
You’re an expert. Someone out there might need to have their elbow moved up or their database reindexed. But they don’t know this.
They know they have a problem or a wish. They’re paying you for the outcome. As long as your marketing focuses on the outcome, you’ll sell more and earn more and you can even charge more.
We could get a little silly here and start making up formulas like “Outcome = Income” but we won’t.
In some aspect of their personal, professional, or financial life, your client “throws like a girl,” or the equivalent of that. Your job is to fix it, improve their swing, adjust their posture, raise their FICO score, or whatever.
As long as you deliver, especially if you go beyond what they’re expecting, you’ve earned your keep. But don’t sell your time, your work, or your product.
To get ahead in business, you have to stand out from the competition. You have to do something different. You have to be bold.