Creating Demand for Your Services: Building Everything Together

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Welcome to the fifth video in our 8-part series about how to craft the perfect buying process for your clients. We’ll be talking about “Building Everything Together” with the client.

Let’s begin with what NOT to do.

Imagine you have an inkling that the client would like to work with you. Let’s say that you completed the previous step perfectly and created a lot of curiosity. However, you’re not completely sure where the client stands. Maybe the client is just trying to get you out of their office by saying “Hey, why don’t you send me a proposal on that?” On the other hand, they might be so interested in working with you that they can’t wait to get the proposal tomorrow. The client could really be anywhere on the spectrum between those two extremes.

A common mistake that we want to avoid is going back to the office, recruiting 12 people, and writing up some lengthy proposal to suggest how they could work with the client. Many professionals don’t get any client input before they complete the proposal and throw it over the wall at the client. At that point, the only way for the client to add value is to poke holes in what you have sent to them. It also creates this “either I like it or I don’t” mentality, which can be problematic.

Instead of falling into this trap, we are going to leverage a phenomenon that has been named the IKEA Effect, after the Swedish retailer IKEA.

The IKEA Effect asserts that people buy into what they help create.

Preeminent behavioral science scholars Michael Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely found that people who put their IKEA furniture together themselves placed far higher bids to purchase those same objects afterwards than when they placed bids on identical pre-assembled furniture.

It seems that when we get the Allen wrench out ourselves to build the table, somehow in our minds it’s more valuable if we build it than if it’s already put together by someone else. The IKEA effect is powerful, because building something ourselves makes us value it more. We want our clients to have a hand in building the scope of a project together with us.

The second part of the science behind the Building Everything Together process is based on the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI®).

This assessment covers the four major ways people think and is roughly based on the physiological structure of the brain. We’ve found that professionals have the most success when we build everything together in a specific order using the four major ways people think.

When you want to get buy-in, the first step is to identify the goal.

What are we trying to accomplish by working together? When you can nail down the vision with the client, that’s a great foundation building the rest of the proposal together. Anything that moves you toward a clear definition of the goal is forward progress. Don’t move on until you get agreement on the goal.

The second thing you want to cover is the process.

Some of the major questions to answer are:

  • What are the steps that will be necessary to accomplish that goal?
  • What is the rough order and timeline in which we want to accomplish them?

These questions are generally answered in a Gantt chart or other similar document. The major output is a plan that we can follow to ensure that we accomplish the goal flawlessly.

Third, you want to cover the roles.

The principal questions that we want to answer are:

  • What are we going to do?
  • What is the client team going to do?

We want to make sure that we’re interfacing, having fun, and learning together, while also ensuring that we have the right talent on both sides to execute the Gantt chart of the process to achieve the goal.

The fourth step is the one that everybody is afraid about. We’re going to talk about money.

We want you to talk about the cost last so that you and the client already agree on the goal, the process, and the level of talent necessary. That way, when you talk about money, the client understands the value they will receive.

When you write up the proposal by yourself and then throw it over the wall to them, without the client first buying into the goals, the process, and the talent, the first thing they look at is the money. Their typical reaction is, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this is so expensive.”

By waiting to talk about money at the end, you will be more confident. More importantly, it will help your clients make better decisions, because they understand the whole proposal perfectly. This is because they bought into the prior three steps, which discuss the value that your client will receive, before you talked about money.

By following these four steps, you can lead your client through the process of Building Everything Together in a way that they will love, while also capitalizing on the IKEA effect.


In our next segment, we’re going to learn how to clear the difficult hurdle of gaining final approval. There are some counterintuitive pieces to this one, as well. The good news is that, assuming you’ve done the prior three steps well, gaining approval isn’t as hard as most people think. Problems generally arise when some unexpected challenges come out of the woodwork and harm your chances of receiving the final sign-off. We’re going to talk about how to handle these unforeseeable events so that you can close the deal and start helping the client.