I hope you found some helpful tips from our last conversation about speaking to prospects. This post includes a free coaching tool that I think you’ll find useful.
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
Quincy … CSI (pick a city) … Bones … Crossing Jordan … Body of Proof … Just a few medical examiner TV shows that I can recall off the top of my head. The docs are working toward a common goal – determining how their victims lived and died.
Not to be overly dramatic, but we live and die in/by our engagements.
Bet you never thought of it that way. But really, tell me life isn’t just peachy when you’re working on a fun/interesting/profitable case. And that life doesn’t just suck when you’re not. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more peaches?
So if you’re interested in (a) identifying the work you love to do, (b) learning how to serve your clients better, and (c) seeing your profits grow … you may want to spend some time playing medical examiner.
Imagine your old engagement files on the slab, so to speak. Time to open them up and perform an autopsy. Here’s one way to go about it. Pick up a scalpel and …
#1 – Grab five of your old engagement files that have been closed for at least a year. Though you can choose files randomly, it might work better if you select some know you liked and others that you’d rather never think about again.
#2 – For each file, complete a File Autopsy using this downloadable toolkit. Be brutally honest as you answer questions, which include:
About the client:
- Did the client like me? Did I like the client?
- Were the client’s expectations met?
- How would this client describe me to their peers?
- What value did I deliver? Where was that demonstrated?
About the work:
- Did I like the work?
- Was I good at it? How could I have done better?
- If I liked the work, should I become an expert at it?
- If I didn’t like the work, how can I do less of it?
About the money:
- Was this a profitable matter for me to work on?
- Were my time budget and fee estimate accurate?
- Did the client feel my fees were fair?
- If I quoted this engagement again, what would I do differently?
Kitchen sink stuff:
- With 20/20 hindsight, should I have taken on this engagement?
- Were there any red flags I should have noticed?
- Did I worry or lose sleep over this engagement?
- Did I produce anything that can be re-used or re-purposed in a future engagement?
#3 – Every week, rinse and repeat with a few more files. If you used staff on the project, ask for their input as well.
Write down the common themes (good or bad) you start seeing.
Once you’ve performed 20-30 autopsies, you should have a better sense of the work you like to do, the clients you enjoy serving, and alternative ways to price your services. But more importantly, you’ll understand the work you don’t like, the clients you don’t want, and the pricing mistakes you don’t need. Who doesn’t want that!
In real life
After you’ve completed the file autopsies on your old engagements, stay current going forward by using the same form as an After Action Review on your just-completed engagements. Not only will this keep you focused on the work you want, you’ll constantly be looking for better ways to serve your client and price your services.
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– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.