I wanted to take a step back from the involved processes that go into being a project manager and focus on the big picture really quick and ask the question of “What are we doing?” It’s a very broad question, but to me it’s about what you are doing for yourself and your company. Ultimately, the question always comes back to money, but there is so much more to what we do than that. As we work our way through projects the outcomes are tangible. Whether you are a PM in the software industry, in construction or engineering, all of the results are visible and quantifiable. For a contractor, that result may be a well-executed development, an engineer might build a plan set that leads to a low impact development on the environment for less cost than expected. . Those results mean something, they add value to our companies and ourselves.
When it comes to bringing in revenue remember that your title may say Project Manager, but you are in sales. If you ever believe you are not a sales person, you don’t understand your products. In my blog post Let’s Start Talking, I discuss the reality of each of us being in the business of selling. Constantly we are selling our time, thoughts, abilities, and resources to anyone we engage. Not everyone however, is comfortable with process of selling a product or service for financial gains. To me, being a Project Manager and sales goes hand in hand. As the world becomes more connected than ever before, the days of the slick talking salesman are coming to an end, today what we deliver has the loudest voice of all. Bringing in more work for your company is not just about saying the right things and wearing the right suit, it’s about believing in your product and being damn confident in your ability to deliver. Finally, remember that as you sell, your talent makes you more than a base line product, demand a premium price.
Show your Value
At my current position, I am constantly engaging future clients to discuss the offerings of our team. The design services we offer, the products we supply, and the peace of mind you get by using us from start to finish on a project are all important to our customers. Consistently though, the conversation quickly moves away from what we offer and focuses solely on what it costs. As I mentioned, what we are selling is a premium product, and should be treated like one, so we need to shift the conversation about price, to one of value. Your company should know that it does is of a high quality and as such, will not be the least expensive option on the table. At my office, each team member knows that we not trying to be the retailer of commodity products, we are the specialty store, the custom fit. Our department head always likes to talk about when you buy a car we are the Toyota. The Toyota is known to not be the cheapest option available, but it’s reliable and worth the premium investment. It’s also not the Lexus or Cadillac, because unlike those, the Toyota is what you need, not excess luxury. We see ourselves as high quality product that when you buy our services, you get reliability and peace of mind knowing your investment was well worth the price, there is no buyer’s remorse. If your conversations about price are still making your customers uneasy, you are not conveying what you bring to the table. Remember, that what you are selling is not just that set of plans or someone who is going to build the system the cheapest, you are selling yourself, just like my clients are buying me. In an article about selling for a premium by The Success Institute, they discuss that the most important part of your product is you.
Every Project Manager is responsible for what they are delivering and that product speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for. For me, I know that every mistake I have made helped me become a better, more efficient PM. I want every project to come in on time, under budget and shatter the expectations of my customers. For these reasons, I talk about what we are as a company and what I stand for as an individual, not just about our prices. The next time you are debating the cost of a contract, remember what you have accomplished. Each completed project has made you better and this new project could be your best ever so don’t accept being treated as a discount commodity, you are worth the premium, don’t compromise.